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How to Weld Unique Bookends


Imagine it’s your brother’s birthday. He’s coming over for dinner after work, and you don’t have a present for him. You could roam the aisles of a big box store for the perfect gift, eventually settling on a gift that will break in a few months or end up in a dusty corner of the garage.

Last year’s gift card wasn’t exactly a hit either.

So you retreat to the garage to think about it, and a pile of instruction manuals sparks an idea. Your brother is always complaining about the way his auto repair manuals fall over and crash to the floor whenever he pulls one out. He loves working on cars, but the manuals wobble and tumble when left on their own.

Why not make him bookends as a gift? Bookends are cheap, easy to personalize, and one of the simplest welding projects.

The Project

Experienced welders usually have scrap metal around, and novices should be able to manage this project without much trouble at all. Basic welding safety gear and a reliable welder are all that’s required—that is besides some scrap metal.

Bookends also make an excellent gift because they can be customized for the person receiving them and can be easily assembled with what’s on hand. For the self-sufficient welder, these are the perfect kinds of gifts to give. In addition, a bookend can be modified in any number of ways depending on a welder’s abilities.

Project Materials

When making bookends, you’ll want to be sure the materials you use are heavy enough. If using a light or thin metal, the bookend will need a metal lip that slides under the books and holds the bookend in place. For this article we’ll assume that you’ve selected metal that is heavy enough to get the job done and focus on creating a basic L-shaped bookend. We’ll also look at some customization options.

The metal you use could be iron, a piece of heavy gauge steel, or whatever else you have laying around. A typical bookend could be anywhere from four to six inches wide and long.

Project Plans

Begin by cleaning your metal pieces, observing routine welding safety precautions, and then clamping two pieces together in order to form a ninety degree angle. Use two tack welds to hold the pieces in place.

If your bookend is particularly wide, minimize the twisting of the piece by welding part of the inside joint and then switching to the outside joint. Once you’ve completed the basic welds to form the bookends, the real fun begins.

If you can find something made of metal, you can weld it to L-shaped bookends. If you’re making welds for a car repair expert, you could weld old hood ornaments onto the bookends. Perhaps you can find an old used tool to attach—anything that adds a personalized feel. A few tack welds will be all you need in order to secure them into place.

The possibilities for customizing this project are endless: pieces from old trophies, horse shoes, or old tools are just a few of the things you can incorporate. The only limits for a bookend are what kinds of materials you can find at home, at the local store, or at your favorite junk yard. If you have a can of paint around, you can even brighten up your bookends with a splash of color.

One welding writer suggests the following for the more advanced, “add flourishing curls in the bent corners or create quirky pieces by bending rods into posed stick figures. If you are a very experienced iron worker, you could create realistic people and animals dancing, sitting or appearing to gaze out from the bookends.” If those ideas sound daunting, you won’t have to search long online before you find other great ideas for your own project.

Whether you need a gift in a hurry, a simple project for practicing welding techniques, or a gift you can easily customize for a friend or family member, it’s tough to beat welding your own bookends.

Ed C.


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