How To Get Started In Metal Working

Metal working is a general name for a diverse sets of skills and specialties. Metal workers include jewelers, blacksmiths, welders, auto body specialists, sculptors and more. If you’re thinking about getting into metal working, you first need to think about what kind of metal working you’re interested in. Then, you should consider what metal or metals you want to work with. Different metals will require different type of tools.

How To Get Started In Metal Working

Tip: Absolute beginners probably want to start with copper, which is soft, pliable and easy to shape, and you don’t need the highest-quality, high-priced tools to make something awesome.


Here are the types of tools you’ll need to gather as you set up your metal working shop:
  • Safety equipment: Safety goggles and heavy gloves
  • Tin snips
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Ball peen (or ball pein) hammer
  • Vise
  • Riveting hammer
  • Rawhide mallet
  • Scratch awl
  • Steel square
  • Hacksaw
With just these tools, you can get started on your first simple fabrication projects and build your knowledge and experience. If you want to dive right in to welding work, though, you need to consider what type of welding you want to do. Most authorities recommend starting with stick welding, which is the least expensive option, but you have a number of choices:
  • MIG welding
  • TIG welding
  • Gas welding
  • Resistance welding
  • Laser welding
Each of these general processes is further subdivided based on the materials used. Don’t forget the extra safety gear you’ll need if you’re welding. Specifically, find yourself a nice welding helmet to protect your eyes from the radiation that welding throws off as well as thick, gauntlet-style gloves.

Where To Start

If you’re thinking about trying your hand at metal working, you probably already have a particular project in mind. Research what other people have done — this research can give you a better idea of what’s involved and what kinds of machinery you’ll need for what you want to do. If your chosen project seems too complex for a beginner like yourself, concentrate on the skills you can learn from smaller projects and build up your experience. You can find all sorts of educational help if you just know where to look. A search of the Internet might yield:
  • How-to books
  • Step-by-step videos
  • Local day and evening classes
  • Online forums where you can talk to metal working professionals
If you know of a local person or business that does metal work, talk to them about what you can do to get started. Some of them might even offer their own classes, but if they don’t, they may be able to give you some pointers. If you like working with your hands, you have an artistic bent and you aren’t afraid to learn new things, metal working can be a great outlet for you as either a career or a hobby. Your educational resources are vast, but always remember that safety comes first. And keep in mind that there’s a learning curve to get over. Your first metal working projects might not come out exactly like you had hoped, but that’s OK. With each new project, you learn more about your skills and the craft, and with more experience, you’ll turn plain old pieces of metal into beautiful and/or useful items that you can be proud of. Enjoy this article? You've got time for another! Check out these related articles:Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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