• February 21, 2017
  • No Comment

The Sharp Art of Metalwork: Basic Metal Work Tools & Tips

The Sharp Art of Metalwork: Basic Metal Work Tools & Tips

An art. A hobby. A trade. The mysterious craft of metal work is all three. Look at the Statue of Liberty in NYC and then consider the simple weld of two small metals. They’re made using the same craft, but just fall on completely opposite ends of the same spectrum…

We all know the different types of metal; copper, brass, zinc, aluminium, stainless steel, the list goes on. You’ve got hard metals, and you’ve got soft metals. Some metals can be welded, and some can’t. But metal art is a seriously impressive craft. Many sculpturists enjoy it because it allows them to make something out of materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Some of the best metal art sculptures are created from recycled or scrap metal. So not only does it look cool, it’s resourceful too!

The same goes for big metal companies in the manufacturing industry. It’s more cost effective for them to use recycled metals over anything else. Blacksmithing, boilermakers, ironworkers all use metal fabrication (building metal structures through bending and cutting). Not surprisingly, metal is a billion dollar industry.

Metal Work
Image Credit: http://pqhfabrications.co.uk/

Which metal is best?

Aluminium and steel are both popular choices in the metal art world. Some prefer aluminium for its durability and white undertone. Others lean more towards stainless steel because it has the ability to produce beautiful colours when heated, and a delightful matt finish. Copper and bronze can create quite sophisticated metal art, offering quite a rustic feel to the masterpiece.

Everywhere we look, there is metal. Now, we are not magic. We know we can’t just look at a spoon and hope it will bend. Metals are generally malleable, meaning they can be bent out of shape without breaking. They are also fusible, and ductile. In short, we can do a hell of a lot with metal.

Types of metal work

Scrap/recycled metal art

Both extremely popular choices for making metal art sculptures. Scrap and recycled metals can be reused over and over again.  They can be used both in the manufacturing industry or at home to make new furnishings and fixtures! Using scrap metal is a serious way to reduce waste (Hooray!)

Metal garden art

Some people ditch the high street stores and choose to make their own garden art from their very own studio! If you’ve got the equipment, it can often be cheaper to make your own, plus it’s a pretty cool hobby to have! Garden metal art comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you know what you’re doing you could probably become a bit of a pro at it!

Garden Art
Image Credit: https://uk.pinterest.com/

What metal work tools do you need?

So, you fancy having a go at some DIY metal art work. You’ve chosen the type of metal you want, you’ve got your sheet at the ready and you have an idea of what you want to make. Here’s a list of sheet metal forming tools that you’re going to need:

A good cutting torch

A plasma torch is a popular choice here. It leaves a neat, tidy finish and is easy to handle. It melts the steel and cuts like butter.

A Welder

If you want your car to start it needs petrol. If you want to toast some bread, you need a toaster. If you want to stick two metals together, you guessed it, you need a welder! There are a few different types of welders, but I’ll put this as simply as possible. Welding machines have two leads, one is negative (and always attached to the metal you’ll be welding) and one is positive. Turn it on, and move the positive lead to what you want to weld and BOOM, sparks should fly! The heat melts the metal and now you can weld away to your heart’s content.

Angle Grinder

You’re going to need a decent hand-held grinder for your project. It’s one of the best metal shaping tools out there. Plus, it’s great for polishing off any excess to make your project look shiny and new!

Vice pliers

Metal is strong, and these babies are great for tweezing and fixing certain parts that are proving a little too strong for you.


Okay, this one isn’t a tool as such, but you’re going to need chalk to draw your design on the metal so you can cut accurately.

Safety, Safety, Safety!

Helmets & safety glasses

During any kind of construction work safety is key. Safety glasses and protective gear are necessities whilst creating metal art. Imagine using your plasma gun and not having your eyes protected from the sparks?

Ear plugs

The power tools used in metal work are extremely loud. Not only this, they act as a shield by preventing the teeny hot sparks flying into your lobes.


Welding = Hot. Enough said.

Is it just us, or has all this talk of metal made you want to jazz up your living room with some funky abstract metal wall decor?

The Sharp Art of Metalwork: Basic Metal Work Tools & Tips
Article Name
The Sharp Art of Metalwork: Basic Metal Work Tools & Tips
An art. A hobby. A trade. The mysterious craft of metal work is all three. Here's some useful tips & tricks to give you a better understanding of... metal!
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo

Related post

Reduce Demanding Aluminium Processing Tasks
Material Handling

Reduce Demanding Aluminium Processing Tasks

Presented by JDM Australia The Hungarian plant of the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group in Budapest demonstrates how nonferrous…
What are the Australian Safety Standards for Welding Gear?
Metalworking Know-How

What are the Australian Safety Standards for Welding Gear?

Blinding bright light, extreme heat, electromagnetic radiation, hazardous fumes and gases. To most people, this sounds…
Why is Tig Welding Preferred for Aluminium?
Metalworking Know-How

Why is Tig Welding Preferred for Aluminium?

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, or GTAW. Which is…