A few months ago I found a neat vintage propane tank for free. I really liked the shape of the tank as well as the paint patina. I had to get help from a friend to remove the pressure value with a huge wrench, and then we filled it with water to remove any fumes before torching and welding.
I knew right away that I wanted to transform it into a hanging gong off a redwood tree. Then, I expanded that idea… a big dragonfly gong. Perfect! I researched wing shapes and wanted to add kid bike frames to stabilize the wings. I located four bike frames which would have worked, but two were aluminum and couldn’t be welded on. Oh well!
I also wanted to use metal pieces I had purchased for the farm fence, but didn’t use, such as the metal cut out panels, half a wagon wheel, and other metal pieces.
Jordan Booth, a welder in Boulder Creek, was totally onboard with this artsy project. The first thing he did was to take the tank and metal pieces to his workshop. He designed the frame first that would be attached to the redwood tree and had to be very industrial and strong to hold hundreds of pounds (i.e. the gong). He bent my metal wagon wheel piece and welded it on to a truck spring and metal plate. A couple of decorative curly-cue pieces made it perfect.
Next was the wing design. Jordan said they needed to be huge because the propane tank is pretty big and fat. After he cut my metal panels, he layered them on top of other metal he had for a two-dimensional affect.
But, the wings still needed support. I looked around his metal pile and spied the black metal headboard/footboard (see above photo). I told him to take the curved bars off and fit them on the wings. Then, he used my thin, half round metal pieces for the lower wings.
I was joking around that the balls on the headboard could be used for something, and it’s true, they make the perfect eyeballs for the dragonfly. The antennas are decorative scroll pieces from a fence that Jordan cut out and stretched.
I love how all these random pieces of metal came together and worked to make this a unique dragonfly gong. Next is to install it up on the redwood tree…stay tuned…