This weekend the Ravenous Craft Coven did an intro to basic metalworking at our friend Marc's metal shop. We learned how to weld, patina, sand, and grind metal and each of us made our own metal boxes. Natalia and I also made steel coasters with a black patina. It was a really rewarding experience - there's nothing quite like seeing the sparks fly as you're grinding metal while Judas Priest is blaring in the background. So while this post is not exactly a tutorial, it's an example of a past event that might generate enough interest to do again at a later date.
When we arrived at the shop we first discussed patina and Marc set out some selenious acid for us to experiment with. It finishes steel to a dark, almost black color.
After that we chose pieces of scrap steel that resonated with us and marked them with areas that we needed cut. Because we're all newbies and were not trying to cut our fingers or limbs off we left the cutting for Marc to handle.
Then we worked more on applying patina to our cut pieces of metal to achieve the desired effect. There are so many subtleties that come with the art of patina and we just began to scratch the surface. The concept is that the acid used for the patina will react with the metal to form different skins and will have a layered effect depending on how much you use, how long you let it sit for, and how well you sand the metal before applying the patina.
Next up, it was time to learn how to weld. We each tried our hand at it and ended up learning how to make decent joints. Welding is a lot harder than it might look and it takes lots of training to do it correctly.
Basically the concept behind it is heating up the metals that you're trying to join together so that they actually begin to meld together. It's not like a solder or a glue, it's like fusing the metals together.
AFTER WE WELDED THE JOINTS OF OUR BOXES TOGETHER WITH HELP FROM MARC, WE GRINDED DOWN PARTS OF THE BOXES THAT WERE NOT FLUSH WITH THE OTHER PIECES. GRINDING WAS PERHAPS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE WORKSHOP.
Here are a few of our finished products, we didn't get a picture of everything together because a few people left before all of the boxes were finished but we walked away with some cool stuff and some new skills. Maybe one of us will work in a metal shop one day, who knows?
All in all it was a really valuable experience- every time I learn a new skill it opens my eyes to a new world of possibilities and this workshop did not disappoint. If you're interested in this or other workshops, send us a note in the "contact us" page.