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I need to build a fireplace screen.  I have the mesh (ordered from King) but what is the best way to attach the mesh to the frame and keep the wire tight?  The top bar of the screen has an arch.  The whole thing is about 30"x30".

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Welcome to IFI James. You need to provide some details of materials and design for anyone to offer viable solutions, it would also be helpfull if you added your location to your profile as often replies to questions depend upon your locality.

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Hmmm.  Well, I've been an Iforge member for at least 10 years, maybe more and thought I had all this stuff on my profile.  Last time or 2 I tried logging in it locked my account.  What's up w/ that?  Reset the pw and was able to login and post this question and got your reply.  Then tried logging in again and got same thing, locked out again!

But anyway, I'm on here now and then, but not all the time.

I'm in NE Texas (USA), 100 miles NE of Dallas.  Paris, TX.

Back to the firescreen.

Pretty simple.  straight bottom and sides about 28" wide X 26" tall on the sides.  The top bar is curved, maybe 4 inch rise measured from the center point up from the end of the sides.  

The whole thing will be steel and freestanding w/ a small foot on each side.  Not terribly fancy.  Probably hammered and maybe riveted for accent.

The client dropped her old ones off and just said, put a mesh in it  (plural, there are 2 screens, seems the F/P has 2 openings).  The existing F/P screens have a sheet of Pyrex glass.  She doesn't like that, wants to feel the heat.

So, I need to know the best way to attach the F/P wire mesh to the frame and have it reasonably tight.

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Still depends upon the construction method.

Traditional in this region is a frame made of 3/8" round bar.

the screen is stretched and then tightened using special tongs.

 

The othe common method is to rivit the screen between two flat bar frames. 

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Assuming you are forging this.

if your frame is rectangular crossection(say 1\4"x1") make a matching inner frame of 1\8"x3\4" or so.

Assuming you are riveting this together, then drill all needed holes.

Place your screen in and start at the bottom, or a straight side and pull the screen tight with appropriate screen tightening tongs.

Bolt the bottom together.  Then using those tongs tighten and bolt the rest.

Replace a bolt with a rivit, one at a time til done. It will pass a drill instructors bounce test in boot camp.

These tongs are like large bolt tongs. Each end has a piece of flat stock rivited on. These pads will swivel. The pads grab the screen and the tongs are piveted to tighten the screen.

Hope this helps.  

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Thanks. That’s good information. I have started a frame pretty much like you described. 

I was wondering how to get the wire tight. I’ll give it a try after I modify a pair of old tongs. 

JA

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I'm not sure to what the frame shape/size you're using, I generally use 2” by 3/16 flat bar. To attach the wire, I sandwich it between the frame and 1” by 3/16 flat bar using screws and switch over to rivets to finish.

 

To get and keep the screen tight, I first take it to my local machine shop and have them counter-roll it though rolling dies. That has two effects: makes it flat and hardens up the wire. With the gauge I use, that's all I normally need to do. However, if for some reason I have a bit of sag, I rivet one side, position the frame so the other side is right at the end of the table and clamp the riveted side down. I then clamp a length of flat bar to the excess screen extending out from the not riveted side. If I lever that down against the side of the table, it takes all the slack out.

Hopefully, that was clear enough to be of help.

 

Picture 573 Large Web view.jpg

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I have nothing to add to Gerald's method of attaching the screen. However getting it tight is easy if you warm the screen before attaching it. A couple hundred degrees is plenty, too warm and it'll warp the frame as it cools. A heat gun and a couple towels to trap the heat works nicely.

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 10/28/2017 at 8:00 PM, James Allcorn said:

Thanks. That’s good information. I have started a frame pretty much like you described. 

I was wondering how to get the wire tight. I’ll give it a try after I modify a pair of old tongs. 

JA

This is built on an angle iron frame, skinned with 1/4"x1",as I remember,, ;). All else as above.  The angle keeps the bow and twist out of the screen.  All done by hammer in hand except the angle iron frame which was torch welded. The scroll work on the sides and bottom is one continuous scroll.

Here's an example:

 

nursery screen small.jpg

nursery screen detail small.jpg

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I really like it, brings to mind some kind of long hallway to an elf or pixie doorway.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks. It was for a nursery. I actually made the gate to open,,, then thought better and changed that detail.  

It was an experiment in iron attempting a perspective view.

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15 minutes ago, anvil said:

It was for a nursery. I actually made the gate to open,,, then thought better and changed that detail

I deduce that you have spent time with curious children.

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Lol, actually a nursery for a private residence.  

Where is certainly worth a cup of coffee smewhere...  ;)

 

The W.C. Fields estate, Beverly Hills,Ca

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1 hour ago, anvil said:

The W.C. Fields estate, Beverly Hills,Ca

To quote Samuel Yellin, on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

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Anvil, you said, "These tongs are like large bolt tongs. Each end has a piece of flat stock rivited on. These pads will swivel. The pads grab the screen and the tongs are piveted to tighten the screen".  You don't happen to have a picture of those tongs do you?  I'd like to see a pic if possible.

Thanks.

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I will look.  I'm moving my shop and building another, but I'm pretty sure I can find them.

 

I'm pretty sure you will find them in Francis Whitaker's book "the Blacksmiths cookbook" as well.

A great resource no matter what.

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Just for general information:  I use an heavier wire as I believe it gives me greater rigidness and I never worry about the grand kids poking a hole in it :-)  While I have in the past bought a whole roll from the manufacturer, these days I order mine from Mcmaster-Carr. "Steel Wire Cloth, Sheets, 10 x 10 Mesh Size, 0.065" Opening Size, 0.035 wire size" 

   

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I used to use the Francis tong method, but found that unless I was very careful the tongs would leave behind some telltale mark, be it a flat spot or a shiny spot. Better is to oversize the screen beyond the outer frame and stretch it tight with generic vice grip duckbill pliers levering against the outer frame, then rivet tight, then cut the screen flush with the inner frame.  You can use a O/A torch with a little brazing tip set to an oxidizing flame to trim the screen, it either burns the little wire back under the inner frame or balls up leaving no sharp burr.  Move fast with the torch.  

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Thanks. That’s a great help. I have the frame textured and will weld the parts tomorrow, drill rivet holes, then start on the rivets. With luck will get the wire in this week. 

You guys have no idea how much I appreciate your comments. 

Hmmm. Off topic but just noticed my profile picture. Army (USMA) beat Air Force Academy today so the Commander In Chiefs Trophy may have a new home for the next year!

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Anvil asked for pictures  

This is one of a matched pair of identical screens. Frame and feet are 1/4”*1” flat bar, hammered edges on front. Cold riveted front and rear panels together with wire screen inside. Rivets are smooth 3/8” head for contrast.  Feet match frames. Handle forged from 1/2” round. Wire brushed clean, washed in acetone and painted with high temp clear matte lacquer. 

Note these are freestanding and built to match size and shape of existing screens which had glass in them.

Thanks for the help as this was my first fire screen project. 

928B4FB1-3DC0-4D4E-B5A1-1A2665E0D8B0.jpeg

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