Working with Metal

Hammered Metal, Phillip Bowling, Artist Blacksmith, Hammered MetalA blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron, or steel by forging the metal by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut the metal. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculptures, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils, and weapons.

While there are many people who work with metal such as farriers, wheelwrights, and armorers, the blacksmith has a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, from the most complex of weapons and armor to simple things like nails or lengths of chain.

Phillip Bowling Artist Blacksmith

An artist blacksmith like Phillip Bowling owner of Noble Forge is known for architectural blacksmithing using combinations of wrought iron, steel, bronze, copper, nickel alloys and aluminum. While most metalworking is now mass-produced using molds in factories, Noble Forge continues the tradition of working freehand, using the same tools that blacksmiths have relied on for hundreds of years. If you were to ask Phillip how what he does is different than metals mass produced he would say “I’m working directly on the metal, I’m not melting it into a liquid and pouring it into a mold.”  In this way,  Phillip and the artist of Noble Forge create custom metal work for architects, designers and personal clients. He has made everything from custom railings, fireplace doors, privacy screens, gates and doors,  to hand-hammered curtain hardware.

dragon door knockerNoble Forge provides custom designed ornamental iron works through the fabrication of architectural and ornamental metals.  We work with the metal to achieve high quality craftsmanship, with an acute attention to detail and excellent customer service. Our customers understand the difference between having something made by an artist blacksmith versus buying something off the shelf.  It’s exactly the same as getting an item at your local convenience store instead of buying it hand made by a local artisan.  Organic vs. Inorganic.  Yes, it can cost more but tastes much better or lasts longer than you would ever have anticipated.  If it is quality you are looking for in your metal work, contact Noble Forge.

Coming soon…all about leaves.

Mahogany Table and Bench

Custom Mahogany Table Top

Have you ever found a beautiful piece of wood or collection of tiles and thought, “What a great piece of furniture this would make!”.   It could be a chair, table, bench, or piece of wall art, I just need a way to capture it.  That’s where Noble Forge comes in to help.  We make custom furniture and hardware for your residence or commercial property with your design elements in mind.  It all starts with an inspiration.  In this case, it was a beautiful piece of mahogany.  

Custom Mahogany Table Drawing for Custom Table

Our clients had a stunning piece of wood that they wanted turned into a custom table and bench for their outdoor living space.  They had a vision.  The clients contacted us with drawings for the base and legs for both pieces.  Drawings for a design don’t have to be ornate, or complicated they just need to contain the right information to portray the dimensions and detail involved to create the piece.  Once we have that information, we may need some clarification and to discuss the color or texture but other than that, we know how to bring your vision to life.

Mahogany Bench Drawing

One of the benefits of working with an artisan blacksmith.  The drawings for the table and bench base and legs were captured in these drawings.

Noble Forge has been making custom made pieces of furniture for years.  We have a level of expertise, a desire for the highest quality and craftsmanship that our customers have come to know and appreciate.  Made in America of the highest quality is the foundation of our work.

Custom Mahogany Table by Noble Forge

We can build your vision.  Based on the drawings provided we forged the base structure and legs to allow these amazing pieces to come together to make an incredible outdoor patio table and bench.

Custom Mahogany Bench by Noble Forge

It is furniture that is unique, functional and built to last.  Do you have an inspiration?  Do you need custom hardware to make a valued piece captured in such a way that it provides function and design?  Perhaps you want to display an artistic piece with beautiful hardware?  Whether functional art or design only, your custom piece will add beauty to your home or work space.  Noble Forge can build that custom piece or hardware that will last the test of time, while honoring your taste and creativity.  We can forge the specific hardware you need to hang, display, give life to your vision in metal.  Contact Noble Forge whenever you are in need of some custom metal or iron work.  We can help you!!

Custom Mahogany Table and Bench

How to become a Blacksmith?

When people think of blacksmiths, they think of “Horse Shoes”.  But the job of a blacksmith is much more complicated than horseshoes.  Of course there is nothing wrong with making horseshoes, but to become a blacksmith is much more involved than many might imagine.  Deciding how the craft of blacksmithing is applied in modern day uses has come a long way.  Phillip Bowling Artist Blacksmith

Blacksmithing involves heating metal with fire to forge, making repairs or restoration and creating welds. A lot of blacksmiths work takes place in a manufacturing environment.  Blacksmiths are typically members of the Boilermakers Union as well as other Blacksmithing organizations, both locally and nationally.  If you are more artistically-inclined, you can use your skills to creating decorative pieces of metal including: railings, gates, furniture and sculptures from metal. Noble Forge falls into the second category.  We are a creative group that applies artistic interpretation to custom metal pieces.  Being a blacksmith requires not only physical strength but a lot of training and practice to developing the necessary skills to achieve the desired result.

Before considering blacksmithing as an occupation you might want to read books about the profession and art of blacksmithing.  If you are still interested, consider attending a local community college or vocational school that specializes in blacksmithing to learn basic blacksmithing skills.

Get some basic skills on how to work with metal, like a beginning oxy-acetylene (gas) welding course.  You will learn things like how to light a torch, how to safely handle hot metal, working with tanks and what safety equipment is used when welding.  Additionally, you will need to learn how to control the heat in the forge, and experience working with a gas fired forge.

As you advance with your skills, you will become familiar with blacksmith tools, such as an anvil, hammer, tongs and punch. Train using the different tools of the trade.  In order to obtain skills such as drawing out, brazing, cutting, riveting and upsetting (putting metal back into itself) takes a lot of practice.

There are courses you can attend to learn more about modern metal-working and the skills that are needed to become a well-rounded blacksmith and the best techniques for welding based on the materials being used.  Example of Metal Shaping on an Anvil

Become an apprentice whether with a blacksmith or through a blacksmithing program where you can refine the skills necessary to become a blacksmith.  There are blacksmithing organizations that can help you find apprenticeships as well as becoming a member of your local Boilermakers Union.

You must demonstrate a level of competency in blacksmith skills before becoming a blacksmith.  Once you can demonstrate your proficiency, you can join organizations for blacksmithing in your area and around the world.

Always look for ways to advance your skills.  Learn a variety of styles by working with architects and other blacksmiths to design details for new and old construction.

Determine the type of blacksmith you would like to be.  Based on your skills you can find a job as a commercial blacksmith working in manufacturing or you can establish your own blacksmith shop.

There are a lot of costs associated with setting up your own blacksmith shop.  You will need to purchase blacksmithing tools, such as various weighted hammers, an anvil, forge and tongs. These tools and supplies are available at specialized blacksmithing suppliers and online but you can also make your own tools.  We at Noble Forge like to make our own tools whenever possible.  Pick an area of specialty and start forging.

No, it’s not easy to be a blacksmith.  It takes time, training and dedication as well as an artistic eye to use a drawing or make a drawing and turn it into a three dimensional piece of iron that exceeds customer expectations.  Noble Forge can do all of that and more.  That’s why we have been in business serving the Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Barbara areas and beyond for almost 20 years.  Blacksmithing is our trade, bringing beauty to metal is our craft.