These are some of the most common techniques I use, highligting the versatility of metal as a medium.
Raising metal has been used for thousands of years to create vessels, utensils and other functional objects. Sheet metal is shaped with the use of hammers and stakes. The process begins with heating non-ferrous (brass, bronze, copper, or silver) sheet metal to a point where the material becomes malleable, then cooling it down- after which it is worked with hammers and stakes in concentric circles to evenly stretch, bend and compress the metal into complex and hollow forms. Each time the hammer hits the metal, the material hardens as it stretches and bends; the crystals can only stretch so far before the metal becomes so hard that it is unworkable. In order to create depressions or hollow and complex forms with controlled contours, one must repeat the heating-cooling-working process over and over in order to get any dramatic shaping.
Patinas are coatings of various chemical compounds such as oxides, carbonates, sulfides, or sulfates that react with and change the surface of metal. Patinas are mostly applied in liquid form, sometimes while applying heat to the metal, other times they are applied cold. The type of metal, method of application, and a variety of other factors affect the outcome of each one. Truly, they never are exactly the same twice, which makes them both challenging and rewarding to use as a finish.
Most people are familiar with Forging, which refers to changing the shape of steel by heating, hammering and/or bending. Unlike non-ferrous metals, steel is most malleable when it is red hot, though I often use jigs to bend it into complex curves when it is cold. All of the table legs and formed stems and branches in my sculpture and furniture were done by hand.
I primarily use mig welding to build my steel pieces.
Silversmithing techniques can be used on silver as well as various non-ferrous metals like brass and copper- this includes piercing intricate designs with a hand held jewelers saw, soldering, stone setting, and various forming techniques.