Category : Best Of Welding and Blacksmithing

5 posts

There is no clear cut way to becoming a blacksmith in this day and age. There are no apprenticeship programs or university degrees in blacksmithing. But if you are determined to become a blacksmith, there are ways you can learn the trade.

Blacksmithing, once a common occupation, is no longer a necessary trade due to modern machines and technology that can much more quickly and easily make the tools and other metal work that blacksmith made in the past.

As there is no formal education system for blacksmithing, you will need to forge your own path on the road to becoming a blacksmith. Some blacksmiths will take on an apprentice, but you will need to do the work to find one who will. You will need to network and make calls, and ask around. Some blacksmiths don’t like to have an apprentice. It can be a liability to have an unskilled apprentice underfoot. A blacksmith’s shop is a dangerous place, with expensive tools and equipment.

Tips for Becoming A Blacksmith

If you are serious about becoming a blacksmith, you should have some skill in metal working. You can take a courses in welding and metal working at your local college. You should have some form of industrial safety training, and these courses teach safety measures for working with hot metal, and you will learn how to use metal working equipment properly. Taking these courses may also help in finding an apprenticeship faster, as any blacksmith you approach will take you a little more seriously, plus he will know you will be less of a hazard in his shop if he decides to take you on as an apprentice.

The Artist Blacksmith Association of North America, or ABANA, is an excellent resource for those trying to enter the world of blacksmithing. Go to their website and find a local affiliate group, (or the nearest one to you that you can find), and attend meetings. You will be able to gain important knowledge on blacksmithing opportunities, and meet professional and amateur blacksmiths. Networking is important for many career choices, but in blacksmithing, it is almost a necessity.

There is much to be learned from books, blacksmithing publications and websites. Much of your training will come from classes and workshops run by other blacksmiths. You will have to do your research, as these are hard to find.

Conclusion

In the world of blacksmithing, you have to dig for opportunities. They certainly won’t come to you. You must be diligent and persistent, and do a lot of research to find your way to becoming a professional.

Floral forms and leaf work are among the most challenging types of metalwork. This is due, in part, to the visual delicacy that must be achieved in metal. Then there is the inevitable comparison with the ‘real things’ found in nature.

The range of leaf and floral motifs is as broad as the types of process that can be employed to achieve them. They can be incised, chased and made from sheet, plate, round or square bar, with processes that are hot in some examples and cold in others. This new series on floral motifs will cover the processes that produced everything seen here and more.

As you work through different leaf or floral forms realize that much of the leaf work seen in a historic context was the product of specialists. They were blacksmiths who just did leaf work in styles, and with tools, that they had begun to use as children in an apprenticeship. If they started at 10 years old, by the time they were 30, they had 20 years of focused experience.

Tips for Creating Such Patterns

As blacksmiths today, we are usually generalists rather than specialists so it may not be practical to focus and master the entire realm of floral process and effects. Instead, pick what you would like to master in the way of style and process, then learn the tools and techniques while doing test (practice) pieces.

 

Pay close attention to each step taken, each tool applied and the temperature (color) or annealing of the metal, so that specific adjustments can be made. Things to consider include a more polished, softer-edged tool to reduce tool marks; the need to anneal more often to end cracking, to use rivets instead of a weld or where to modify a pattern to make cutting easier.

 

Floral forms and leaf work, in architectural ironwork or furniture, need to be addressed at the drawing board before the first metal is cut or forged. Here are some things to work through at the drawing board, using a leaf as an example.

 

Purpose: What is the leaf supposed to do for the design? Is the leaf to fill a space, cover a joint between two or more bars, be a decorative flourish, add color?

 

This decision (“hmm, all of the above”!) leads to; Process choices: Will the leaf blank be repousse’ in sheet, forged and formed from bar stock or cut and chased from either a forged blank or sheet metal? Before this answer is chiseled in steel, one other consideration is…

 

Joinery: How will the leaf, as it fills a space, covers joints while adding a colorful, decorative flourish to the work, actually get ‘fastened’ to that work? In some cases, joinery can influence the choice of process. Hence, having decided the use or ‘purpose’ for the leaf, joinery and process are co-considered. What follows is an example.

 

The room divider shown above has bronze leaf work that covers joints in some places and serves as colorful finials in other places, such as on some scrolls. The leaves in both applications use the same patterns* and forming process. Where the leaves differ is in the joinery. The stem of the leaf that covers a joint is formed and then riveted onto the bar stock. The stem of the leaf at the end of a scroll is rolled into a tube and gas welded onto a forged bronze bar which is in turn brazed to the prepared end of a forged steel scroll. The leaf patterns had to bemodified so there was material in the right place for their respective joinery. Once these location-based joinery decisions are made, the process and pattern can be addressed.

 

Now it’s time to head to the shop. Full scale patterns with the joinery resolved and which are matched to the right materials, tools and process, will make floral forms and leaf work much easier.

Welding is can be a hobby and a professional skill. Many people are intimidated by this profession. However, it can be a career where a lot of money are made. After all, welders are always needed.

Construction groups around the city and state – as well as around the country – are always in need of such professionals as are government groups and engineer companies. This is a chance to learn the latest techniques and technology and to learn from experts. Highly learning experiences usually happen during apprenticeships, internships, and during their first jobs after they graduate from their welding school.

Welding is all about bringing materials together to build something important: whether it’s a buildings’ structure or something like furniture. People of all ages and backgrounds can pursue such a career. It really is a reliable way to make good money and to meet great people, too. Though long thought to be a men’s world, welding is a great place for women, too, especially those who like working with their hands. Really, anyone who has a fine attention to detail is hard-working and doesn’t mind working with his or her hands is a great fit for a welding career.

In today’s uncertain economy, it is important to invest in a career that will really help people stay afloat even when unemployment is on the rise. This is where enrolling in a welder school is a smart decision. Here, people can invest in solid training that will basically secure them a job later on down the line. The world is always in need of people who know how to handle welding equipment. Thus, this is a great way to secure one’s future. Becoming a welder is a great decision for people who take great pride and making things with their hands, like working with an advanced pieces of equipment, and want to see their work put to good use.

Building an Ornamental Iron Door: A Novice Blacksmith’s Guide

A wrought iron door can be sturdy, functional, and highly decorative, and can be used as a distinctive entrance when compared to standard pre-manufactured doors. Wrought iron doors lend themselves well to applications ranging from home use to doors for larger formal buildings, such as churches, libraries, and courthouses. An ornamental iron door works as a fine accompaniment to traditional masonry construction. Using a process called stipple etching, an ironworker can give a utilitarian metal door a far more ornate appearance than is normally found in wrought iron.

Steps:

  1. Draw the outline of the door’s structural components, such as the two side beams and three cross beams of a standard square door, while marking the locations for pre-fabricated rivet holes using a mechanical pencil on the graph paper. Be sure to include holes for the heavy-duty door hinges that will be required to support a solid iron door. Use the geometry set to ensure that the drawing is made at an easily convertible scale. Finalize the door or structural design by adding numerical distance measurements based upon measurements of the doorway that the metal door will hang in, and ink the lines with the drafting pen. Once the ink has dried, use a white eraser to remove the pencil lines.
  2. Draw the decorative stipple design on the graph paper on a new page, using a mechanical pencil. When a pleasing aesthetic design is ready, finalize the drawing by inking the lines with the drafting pen. Allow the ink to dry before erasing the pencil lines with the white eraser.
  3. E-mail a copy of the structural design diagram to the nearest metal fabrication shop after securing a contract for fabrication work via the telephone. For the ease of the shop personnel, make sure to include an itemized list of parts and their dimensions, as well as where the pre-drilled rivet holes need to be located for the door to fit together. To obtain a digital copy of the hand-drawn diagram, either scan an image using a computer scanner or use a high-quality digital camera in good lighting conditions to create the digital image to send to the fabrication shop.
  4. Assemble the door pieces on the concrete shop floor, running the heavy rivets through the proper rivet holes to reach the final desired shape of the door. Use the metal C clamps to secure the areas where the siding crossbars meet. Use wet folded newspaper to provide a heat resistant buffer between the concrete floor and the iron door to avoid scuffing the metal while hammering the rivets. Place a copper shim block between the shop floor and the rivet to provide a solid backing while hammering the rivet in. Heat the protruding end of the top right corner rivet with a propane torch until it reaches a glowing orange color. Hammer the protruding end of the rivet with the ball-peen using the flat striking face. Hammer until a tight joint is created and the protruding end is rounded down. Repeat the process until all of the rivets are secured and the door structure is complete.
  5. Draw a series of dots on the surface of the iron door with the black permanent marker, using the draft image of the stipple ornamental design as a guide. Strike every place marked with a black dot with the dot punch by striking the punch firmly with the flat surface of the ball-peen hammer. Eventually, the dots will form a decorative image. When adding a stipple design to a metal surface, it is common practice to repeat the same smaller design multiple times to achieve a larger decorative effect, though elaborate pieces that form actual pictures rather than simple designs are possible in the hands of a skilled craftsman.

Things You’ll Need:

  • graph paper
  • geometry set
  • mechanical pencil
  • white eraser
  • drafting pen
  • computer
  • scanner or digital camera
  • prefabricated iron door components
  • heavy steel or iron rivets
  • copper shim block
  • propane torch
  • ball peen hammer
  • blacksmithing vest
  • safety glasses
  • fire extinguisher
  • dot punch

Tips

  • If you are unfamiliar with the process of stipple drawing, you can opt to hire an artist to create the stipple image for you at a resolution that matches the actual door itself. From there it is a simple matter to print out the design on one page at a time, tape it to the finished door structure, and use the printouts as a template to show the metalworker exactly where to strike with the dot punch.
  • Skilled metal workers can take the time to work the iron themselves straight out of raw iron ingots or sheets; however, this will add a significant amount of time to the project, meaning that pre-ordering custom fabricated pieces is the way to go for the craftsmen who value their time.
  • Combining the process of cloisonné –glass enameling – with the stipple engraving process on a piece by piece basis before assembling the entire structure can lead to fantastically beautiful works of craftsmanship the likes of which are rare in the modern era.
  • If during the design phase you suspect that the door will be too heavy using an entirely iron design, consider using a high-quality hardwood for the interior panels as opposed to iron plates. This saves on weight without substantially compromising structural quality.

Warnings

  • Wear safety goggles and a blacksmithing vest at all times when working metal to prevent injury.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case, since the propane torch can lead to unexpected fire mishaps.

Choosing a welding process to improve efficiency is a major issue. In general, it can be confirmed that the more automated the welding process, the higher the efficiency will be.

However, we must not forget the criterion of quality according to the customer’s specifications. Another criterion not to be overlooked in this reflection: can this process be used on site or only in the workshop? From Welding & CNC you can have the best solutions with the welding and blacksmithing works.

Welding Processes: Calculate The Efficiency Rate And The Uptime

There is a fairly simple method to define a rate for the yield by calculating the number of kilograms of metal that will be deposited on the condition of working with a metal contribution.

But another factor is also decisive: it is the actual welding time, to which must be added the preparation of the metals to be welded. The “on arc time” is therefore taken into account.

The last element will be the scrap rate from weld defects. Depending on the situation, it is better to use a certain welding process to improve performance.

The MIG MAG Welding Process: Very High Efficiency But The Need To Control Quality

Take The Example Of MIG MAG

This process can be easily automated with very high yields, simple to practice and quickly mastered. It is one of the welding processes to improve the yield thanks to its productivity.

On the other hand, each MAG weld must undergo a quality test. In MIG mode, as an inert gas is used, this process offers a slightly higher quality, it will be reserved for more sensitive and more neutral materials such as stainless steel or aluminum. Conversely, MAG is widely used for structural and scrap metal applications.

The automotive industry is one of the industries that heavily use the MAG process because of its productivity. As MIG MAG technology has improved significantly over the years, it is widely used in the construction of structures such as bridges or buildings, and even in the nuclear sector. In automated mode, this process is used exclusively in the workshop. On the other hand, the latest generation machines are to be preferred.

The Submerged Arc Welding Process: High Efficiency For Large Thicknesses

With regard to the submerged arc process, very high yields are observed because metal will be laid in extremely high quantities. To give an idea: on site we will be able to merge a plate with a thickness of 10 mm in one go. It is with this process that we will deposit the most metal when welding.

The main use is the shipbuilding industry due to the use of thick sheets which must be butted. In this type of application, two plates are placed on the ground to weld them together. Here, the arc time on ignition is also high but the implementation is longer. This process is rarely used for tube welding because a powder is deposited on the top of the tube, which must rotate. Therefore, this application on tube is only to be carried out in the workshop.

PAGE TOP