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Understanding Ironwork Terms
Ironwork is an old art form that stretches back to 4000 BC and is still being produced by artists today. Ironwork involves manipulating iron, the earth's most common element, into a wide variety of creations, from deadly weapons to stunning balcony architectural features to simple pots and pans. Whether your interest lies in buying or creating your own ironwork, there are a few terms you should understand about ironwork.
Blacksmith – An artist who works with wrought iron using a hammer and an anvil to weld the metal while it is still hot from the furnace.
Weld – Process of combining pieces of metal by hammering once the metal is made soft by heat.
Wrought Iron – One of the two main divisions of ironwork, wrought iron is made by hand by a blacksmith. Today, wrought iron is commonly used for decorative work on gates, and filigree-type work.
Filigree – Very fine metalworking made to resemble threads woven together for intricate designs, often utilizing gold or silver metal.
Cast Iron – The other main division of ironwork, cast iron is made in a furnace and then poured into a mold when hot. Cast iron's strength is in compression, but it has weak tension, which means it may break when stretched. Cast ironworks are not as decorative as wrought ironworks, and are typically used for columns, fences and rails.
Custom – In ironwork, custom refers to custom-made, the practice of creating a piece for a certain customer build by hand according to specifications . For example, an ornamental fence gate built directly to fit the buyer.
Balcony – An outside living area on the upper floors of a home, usually with a rail fence around the edge.
Ironwork is commonly handled by blacksmiths and welders. There are various applications when it comes to creating gates, furniture, residential home hardware, and artwork. As you surely know, there are plenty of wrought iron fences, staircase hand rails, lanterns, and ornamental hardware made by iron workers today. These products are distributed all over the world, and many of them are custom designed and made for specific individuals. Often iron workers and blacksmiths have to use metal casting tools, hammers, and welding devices in this business.
The practice of ironwork has been around for many centuries now. However, the techniques, tools, and available metals have certainly changed to some degree. This is certainly beneficial for both iron workers and consumers. For instance, nowadays these blacksmiths and welders can create unique driveway gates, wrought iron balcony architectural additions, as well as ornamental lanterns to decorate homes. There is really no limit when it comes to custom handrails, gates, fences, and brass hardware. Some other products made in this business are bathroom towel hooks, light fixtures, and artistic furniture. However, depending on how elaborate and time-consuming a custom ironwork project is, the price will vary. The more labor and materials involved, the higher the rate or cost.
The World Wide Web is a wonderful resource for learning more about ironwork. In fact, you can check out the official websites of several iron workers, welders, and blacksmiths whenever you choose. This way you can take a look at photos of their custom work, and contact them if you choose.