I have started writing an article for the Copper Artists Forum about metalsmithing. The first section of this series of articles will be devoted to the tools necessary to do basic metalwork. I spent most of the night taking pictures of tools and labeling them to use in the article (32 so far). Unfortunately, the tools must be available before you begin, but the basic set can be gotten with a fairly small investment. I have seen the set being sold together for right at $1000. Compared to a laser welder or a CAD/CAM operation or a CNC mill, that is downright cheap. Besides, I am an artisan so I prefer to work with my own hands and brain instead of that of a computer.
Also included in the beginning section will be a discussion of the different alternative metals (copper, aluminum, brass and bronze). I will also include silver and gold to provide a perspective for the readers. My problem will be to present the physical and chemical properties of metals in a manner that will be understandable for people who do not necessarily have the education in the sciences, but are very interested in using the materials. In order to work with metals, the smith must have an awareness of the different properties and how they will interact with the smithing techniques.
This will be one of my most challenging educational presentations. Here is an example of using metalsmithing techniques in the production of an alternative metal piece of jewelry.