HAMMOND, ONT. -- It’s a house of heavy metal.  And Barry W. Ranger is its resident Rockstar.

In Hammond, east of Ottawa, it’s not hard to spot Ranger’s home.  Recycled nuts, bolts, screws and gears are creatively welded together to form towering sculptures; dragons, birds, and military medics.

“I love working with my hands. I love building things. I love dreaming. If I can picture it in my head, I can build it,” said Ranger.

Ranger’s a third-generation metal worker. His grandfather was a blacksmith. His father was a welder and mechanic.  A full-time welding supervisor at work, Barry’s been watching sparks fly for 35 years.  

“I love it. I love it every day. I get up every morning and I love going to work. And on the weekends, I love to come in here to putter. I love what I do,” said the 56-year-old.

Barry W. Ranger

Ranger builds everything with recycled metal parts, typically destined for the scrap heap where they’d be melted down. He gathers pieces from his suppliers, and with his torch, bends them to his will.

“It’s all in my head.  I don’t draw anything. I can’t draw to save my life. I can draw a good stick man and that’s about it,” he laughs.

Ranger creates whimsical and enduring art for any space.

“I like things that nobody else has.”

Currently, Ranger’s masterfully shaping a military medic, complete with backpack, and medals pinned to his chest.  It will eventually have a cherished place on his front lawn in Hammond, beside Ranger’s flag pole.

“He’s going to be standing beside the pole, in the position of respect, standing with his rifle,” said the artist.

“He has a medic back pack, and on a stone, I’m going to make a copper cross. And on the cross, I’m going to have an old copper helmet hanging over the side of it. He’s going to be standing beside his cross-- the fallen soldier, beside the Canada flag.”

Barry W. Ranger

Ranger is equally fired up about his dragon, still a work in progress. He’s already spent 600 hours bringing the creature to life and has 100 hours remaining to complete it.

“From the tip of his tail, to the tip of his tongue, he’s 14-feet long and he’s nine-and-a-half feet tall. It’s all made out of 3/16 round rod and 4-inch round pipe for my tree trunk,” he said.

“The dragon’s wrapped around a tree. In the tree, I think I have 160 leaves, and I believe I have another 80 cut to go into the tree.”

Barry W. Ranger

Ranger’s given shape to countless animals too—bulls, cats, and all manner of feathered creatures made from nuts, bolts, gears, nails and hammered metal. Old fashioned sewing machines are refashioned, too.

“I went around last winter looking for old sewing machines. I had an idea that I wanted to make a little tractor. Low and behold, I bought five of them because one is never enough,” he said with a grin.

It seems the brightest spark in this shop is the one firing the welder’s imagination. Barry W. Ranger has an inextinguishable love for what he does.  There’s no place he’d rather be.

“Sparks are flying, the ear plugs are in, I got the radio on in the background. You don’t think outside of these four walls, of what happened yesterday, what happened the day before, or what’s going to happen tomorrow. You’re in your own little world and I love it.”

To see more of Barry W. Ranger’s work visit https://ranger-metal-arts.com/