A guide to metal work

Metal work is an ancestral craft which covers a wide range of work – from large ships, bridges and oil refineries to delicate jewellery and instruments. Metal work plays a vital role for most industries, and it is also used on a smaller scale to decorate both the outside and inside of properties. In order to help you finishing and furnishing your house, metal workers can provide a diverse range of products from curtain hold backs to the supply and installation of steel framed structures. They will usually design, manufacture, finish and install to your own specifications. They can also work with your architect or with your own designs.

Uses of ornamental metal work

Ornamental metal work gives a classic look to the exterior of a period property and a crisp look to a new property. Railings and garden gates are amongst the most popular addition to many properties. The main products of ornamental metalwork are:

  • Staircases
  • Metal railings
  • Internal balustrades
  • Doors
  • Gates and security grilles
  • Kiosks
  • Fireplaces
  • Small decorative items: curtain hold backs, table bases, lamps, candelabras, plant supports, weighing scales, stands, trolleys, hoods, work surfaces, etc.

Amongst the materials used for ornamental metalwork, you can choose between aluminium, stainless steel wire, wrought iron, cast iron, brass, bronze and copper.

What is wrought ironwork?

Wrought iron is one of the oldest materials used in architecture and house decoration. Today, wrought iron is usually produced in industrial quantities, much to the disadvantage of the hand made craft. The commercial wrought iron is actually simply “bent work,” for example mild-steel bars, tubing, or strips that have been cut, heated, and bent. The term “wrought iron” should normally be applied only to iron that has been worked by the crafted hammersmith, when he heats the metal to make it flow and then reshapes it into the desired form. Craftsmen also provide restoration services for wrought iron, using materials similar to the original.

In both traditional and commercial industries, metal workers use a technique called welding to create finished metal products.