Architectural metalworkers are specialised blacksmiths who work directly with architects and shopfitters. They may make their own designs and sketches, but usually they work under assignment of architects who supply them with drawings.
They specialise in manufacturing all types of metalwork for homes, buildings and retail stores. Some of the things they make are fixtures, templates and balcony and banister railings, specialised window and door frames, door knobs and handles, specialised shelving, counters and any other metal finishes or decorations that the architect or shopfitter requires for the project. Other items they could make include large, intricate hinges for bank or hotel doors, metal patterns for fire-place decorations, chandeliers, restaurant or pub fixtures, or fancy crosses for churches and towers. They might be commissioned to make a metal sculpture or a fancy, metal sign.
Architectural metalworkers need to have a thorough knowledge of the different types of metal and be able to give advice where necessary.
The process will be as follows: first they liaise with the architects or shopfitteers, then they draw up templates of the design, which gets traced on to the metal. They mark cut lines on the metal, which can be brass, copper, steel or alloys. They then cut, bend, shape and forge the metal to the desired shape by means of various machine tools such as metal band saws, power shears, fly presses and swage machines. The metal is heated in a furnace to make it malleable.
Architectural metalworkers use soldering, brazing or welding techniques to join the different parts of the metal pattern together. They complete their task by fixing the door, pattern or template to the building.
Architectural metalworkers may specialise, such as with iron and steel manufacturers or building contractors. They may specialise in manufacturing specific objects such as steel doors or patterns.
Architectural metalworkers mostly work in workshops equipped with benches, tools and machines. Sometimes, when furnace heating and blacksmithing is done, it becomes extremely hot inside the work area. In the course of their work architectural metalworkers often visit building sites, which allows for variation in the work situation.
They need to keep up-to-date with architectural trends, technology and skills, and generate new ideas and share them with the architects. It is important that they take pride in their work and meet the deadlines.