Vulcan At The Forge


My friend BrainRants is paving his back yard with beer cans.


Actually, he’s only paving a 20 foot diameter fire pit – less the 5 foot diameter central concrete burn area, and he’s using more than just beer cans – but it makes a great story.


I don’t want to use the word ‘unusual,’ because many may read it and think strange, or weird.  It’s not strange or weird (or maybe that’s just me), it’s just uncommon.  He melts aluminum down in a homemade furnace, and casts 6 inch hexagons.  His input may include discarded patio tables, or salvaged broken storm doors.  Cans often include soft-drinks, but beer cans comprise the bulk of the base stock.  14 cases of mixed cans produce 10 of these tiles.


He built his own little furnace, in a 5-gallon metal pail, using special, high-heat concrete and chicken wire for support.  He also poured a concrete lid with a breather hole and handles.  A purchased propane burner is inserted through a hole in the side to provide the heat, and crucibles, purchased online, contain the molten aluminum.


He made his own wooden hex replica, and uses it to form wet-sand moulds, into which he pours the hot metal.  This project is nearly complete.  He had 820 hexes when I arrived, including a few bronze ones, and I helped him by staying safely out of his way, drinking beer, while he poured his self-imposed weekly quota of another 20, over two days.


Here is Vulcan, beginning to pour 5 tiles.


He’s getting closer, and that stuff is HOT!  Stand well back.  All of this was done in a garage, on a hot, muggy DC August day.  I can think of no better excuse for a couple of cold beers….and another to celebrate a safe, successful conclusion.

Dos Equis


17 thoughts on “Vulcan At The Forge

  1. BrainRants says:

    WordPress ate my first comment… *sigh.* We’re up to 921 tiles now.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Billy goats eat tin cans, but WordPress eats comments. 😯
      The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. Congratulations on your dedication…. to commenting, and forgery. 😉


  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Just be glad Rants didn’t decide to use titanium instead of aluminum. Titanium melts at 3,034 degrees F compared to AL’s mere 1,221 degrees! Never mind, beer doesn’t come in titanium cans.


  3. What a great way to recycle and have decorative paving at the same time. I can’t even find the energy to buy store-made tiles and put them down to save the corner of the driveway that we keep (accidentally) driving across. And, of course, in order to get enough cans to melt down, someone has to drink all that beer! Win-win.


  4. I believe my husband prefers the coinage from the returns. He has in the past though made elaborate stones using concrete.


  5. Brilliant! I love clever recycling ideas and this fits the bill. It’s also a great excuse to drink more beer and that can’t be bad…..


  6. […] are skittish creatures, hiding high in trees, sometimes heard, but seldom seen.  As I watched Rants at his forge in the garage, a Blue-Jay landed on a branch in the Maple in front of the house, barely above the […]


  7. Wow! His creativity is amazing. Here in Yorktown, Virginia, we have a program in which we turn plastic bags into park benches. Your friend is a talented individual, and yes, summers here are sweltering.


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