Occasionally a customer will come in with a design or a piece they want duplicated, but the vast majority of our pieces are designed, cut and finished in-house. Although we can use a variety of metals in addition to steel, such as copper, stainless steel, and aluminum, as a general rule we choose to use hot roll sheet steel. The design will dictate the gauge (thickness), however, we prefer to use an eleven or twelve gauge steel, that is (1/8 inch thick) on art pieces. For other projects such as signage, decorative inserts for gates, wall inserts, stair rail inserts, and gates, we use 3/16 to 1/4 inch steel. Unlike our competitors when working with steel the piece is always pickled using a mild environmentally friendly acid. The purpose of pickling is to remove the mill scale produced when the red-hot steel billet is rolled into sheets. An added benefit, to this process, is that pickling also etches the steel allow for better adhesion of the paint to the metal resulting in a more durable product. Following this process, we then finished as per the customer's wishes or what the design dictates.
BMMA tries to stand out from the crowd. We offer our Customers an heirloom quality piece that will last many generations. We try and stay away from repetition and like to vary the type of pieces as well as replication of subject matter. We offer one of a kind pieces, as well as limited edition pieces. As a general rule, we limit what we call our stock pieces to five cuttings. We find that this keeps us interested and stirs our creative juices.
One way we stand out from the crowd is by offering a freestanding silhouette. None of our competitors, that we are aware of, offer this. These unique pieces are mounted on a wood or metal base. This allows them to be displayed on a table, desk, shelves or where ever is desired.
Blue Mesa Metal Arts use a variety of methods for cutting the piece, depending on the material, design, and effect we are looking for. With most of our pieces, we begin by cutting the piece using a CNC (computer operated) plasma cutter. We prefer the CNC plasma cutter for a number of reasons, first, much more intricate cuts can be achieved with CNC machine than are possible by hand. Plasma makes a cleaner cut while at the same time produces less heat which tends to distort the metal. While performing our detail work we have been known to use most everything you could think of from a fingernail file to power grinders and sanders, cold chisels and hacksaws, to cutting torches.
We offer a number of different finishes. We use whatever fits the design best, depending on the effect desired and the environment in which the piece will be displayed or used. If a piece is to be displayed or used indoors, we prefer using acrylics or alcohol inks with a good quality sealer. If the piece is to be displayed outdoors, then we prefer using automotive grade paints. These have been proven to be one of the most durable paints available. When you think about it an automobile finish is subjected to about as harsh environment as you can imagine, also they provide an endless array of colors.
On custom ordered pieces, we offer any number of finishes. The pieces can be shipped in a raw state, and with the raw finish, the Customer can choose to paint or finish it themselves or let the piece rust naturally which will result in a rustic look. We can polish the metal, which provides a finish much like chrome. The letters can be powder coated, (extra cost) which gives a baked on type finish. The metal can also be stained chemically which provides a number of unique looks. The most popular finish is paint. If the finish is to be painted, then the piece is sealed with an automotive grade primer. Then sprayed with two coats of an automotive grade paint and then sealed with two coats automotive grade clear coat.
All of the pieces that are to be hung or mounted on a wall, come either pre-drilled or come with a hanger or mounting bracket on the back.