I love working with metal. My first real experience with sheet metal was in the 8th grade. Our shop teacher thought it would be a great idea for us to go into business. There were probably about 20 of us in the class and we were soon planning our enterprise. We were given the task of chopping up full sheets of metal into ¼” strips about 10” long or so, we chopped up thousands of strips. The scrolling came next for some of us and some were busy brazing and then there was the paint room. After we got samples made, my dad, a printer made some catalogs for us and we hit the streets taking orders from our neighbors and families. We spent the rest of the semester chopping, scrolling and painting. At the end we paid our bills and split the leftover cash, it came out to $50 each. Now we are talking about being in 8th grade in 1973 or so, $50 went a long way!
This is one of the original pieces
Years later after trying various other trades, I settled on being a sheet metal worker, surprise! I love getting creative and it was definitely needed at times when we ran into an obstacle. Some of the other trades would have to go to the store and buy some extra fittings, we had to pull out the tin snips and make pieces that got us above, below or through whatever we ran into. It was a challenge and it was a lot of fun as well.
Fast forwarding again for many years, I was looking at a magazine that had some decorative wrought iron in it. After studying the pieces, it actually looked rather easy and doable. I truly enjoy taking a flat bar and either turning, twisting or just plain hammering and see what emerges. It was rather primitive When I first started, a lot of the metal forming was done with a torch and hammer. Over the years I have gathered various shaping tools which can produce some really cool shapes but every now and then I feel compelled to spark up the torch and burn some metal. There is a certain feel about seeing the red hot metal flying when you hit it with a hammer. Someday I would like to have space for a forge I would really have a lot of fun with that. I was visiting some friends that I had not seen for a while and there was talk about making a coat rack and having dinner. Getting a tour around the new house, I was directed towards a wall, and there was a decorative piece I had made 10 years previously. I had completely forgotten about it and it was so cool seeing it up there as one of my friend’s favorite pieces. I have been approached about mass producing pieces and I just do not want to go there, I take pride in my art and I will not attempt to compete with the big retailers. I will never get rich monetary wise from this, but the enjoyment I get from creating custom art is payment enough, (above material cost of course) There is something special about the ring of steel on steel early in the morning!