I learned to weld using an oxy-acetylene torch. I welded and brazed and cut steel using that equipment. I believe this helped me greatly when I began using a tig torch as I had an understanding of how the metals melted and behaved. Gas welding (oxy-acetylene) is slow as the flame is not nearly as hot as with electric equipment.
I also learned to weld brass and to braze very early on. Few people today do brass. This has become my area of expertise. I believe I am one of the last in my area who knows how to weld brass. I also learned silver soldering early, and there are few who can do that. This has led me into areas I would never have experienced such as antique repair. I also have learned to make brass bird cages. I started with steel wire, but when a shop in Honolulu wanted to carry my wears, corrosion became an issue. Brass cages do well on the islands.
I bought my first tig machine in 1976 or so. I still use that machine, a Miller DialArc HF. With it I began to weld aluminum. I love to weld aluminum. I also discovered bronze thanks to the tig torch. A home builder commissioned me to make pulls for their front doors. They were thick and beautiful and the added heat of the tig was essential to successful welding those heavier materials.
The last machine I learned was the mig. I have a 450 amp mig welder that is a delight to work with. Again, it’s a Miller machine.
I weld bronze, brass, aluminum, stainless, copper and mild steel. I also braze with brass and silver solders. I am less proficient with low temperature solder. I’ve repaired many items made of cast iron. When you live in a small town you are called upon for all sorts of things. I love my neighbors and I love a challenge. It’s nice to be helpful.
One thing I do in my work when I can is combine metals. I like the way different metals interact with their colors and properties.
I use a lot of found objects and surplus metals in my work. I also enjoy coloring metals via oxidation, patanaes and heat. I do employ powder coating for some applications, but it pleases me when I can make something that requires no attention to maintain. The copper family of metal alloys – brass and bronze and copper – are inherently beautiful. As they age their color deepens and changes mostly without consequence to the material of the items function. I take this into consideration when I do a piece. Stainless is also impervious to abuse of time, climate, or environmental risks. Rusty steel is a favorite of mine, and it lasts a long long time out side if it’s thick enough. There is also corten steel which forms a rust coating that seals the inside of the metal from oxidation. Inside, application of a clear coat makes the surface of rusty steel look like leather. Metals are beautiful when they are used appropriately.
I love to employ interesting fasteners, like rivets and interesting screws and nails to join things together and I have a wide selection from which to chose.
I have forty five years of experience working with metals.