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"I checked out Kevin's Web site, and it knocked my socks off! He's doing beautiful work."
--Lauren DeVuyst, contemporary crafts collector, Racine, Wisconsin

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Metal Artist Kevin Caron Shows How to Make Steel Donuts

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I'm working on an architectural sculpture today - a large steel door for a home remodel.

Part of the plan calls for a raised steel donut that will go on the front of the door to give it a little architectural feature. It will add an artistic shape to it and a little bit of shadow inside of it. Hence, I'm fabricating steel doughnuts.

As you see, I had my circle cutter set at 7 and a half inches, because I wanted a 15-inch circle. Now I need to shrink it to 6 inches, which will give me a 12-inch hole. A 9 inch hole, 4 and a half inches.

Always check twice; three times, even, before you cut metal.

It's now set at 4 and a half inches, so I can cut this inside hole. (cutting)
Now I've got two of them. Next Iíll clean this up a little bit with the grinder. Then we'll go to the air hammer. (grinding)

You can see what happens when you clean it up along the edge. Notice the little burr along the edge from the plasma cutter. Iíll need to grind that off so I don't have to run it though the die in the air hammer, or cut it off by hand.

Let's go make some noise.

Here are some of the little dies for the air shaper. This is a hard plastic die for the top, with a nice, rounded-over die on the bottom - this is what will give me that nice cone shape to it.

There are several different kinds. There's one that has a rubber head, for really rough, fast shaping. There's one in here that has a brass head. This is for shrinking, where you can actually fold it on top of itself and make a nice curve out of it. Iím still learning how to do that. There are many different sizes, shapes and contours, but we're going to use these right now. Hang on. (shaping)

You can see just that there's already a bit of a rise. You can see where the metal's flat across there, but you look up here and it's starting to get a little rise coming into the metal right there.

So, I'll continue to work that around. It'll take probably about five, ten minutes of working all the way around there to get it all nice and smooth and straight.

Then I'll come back in with my planishing hammer or planishing dies for any little hammer or grinder marks that may be in there - I can just pound all those right in.

Then I'm going to take some round stock and bend the circle, all the way around the outside and the inside, and weld all those on. That way when it's hanging on the door, you don't have this sharp edge where somebody may come up and cut their hand on it. It'll have this nice round over surface on it.

I'll put a few little mounts on the back side of it, then weld it right to the skin of the door, and this contemporary art steel door will be complete.

See you later.

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