Metalworking is an artisanal craft medium; one part art, one part technical work. If this is something you are currently considering as a hobby, you do not have to jump into it whole-hog. Instead, you could try making a few things first to see how they come out, and then you can decide if metalworking is something you would enjoy doing more often. Here are a few home project ideas that should not take very long to complete, usually turn out attractive, and they will provide you with a little taste of this art form/craft.
Copper Rain Chains
To create your own copper rain chains, you will need about a foot to a foot and a half of copper chain, which can be purchased from a hardware store. If you cannot find copper chain, or you really want to get into this project, by thick, solid copper tubing, about a quarter to three-eighths’ inches thick. You will have to heat and bend the copper tubing into chain links and then loop them into each other to make the copper chain.
You will also need some type of water collection cup. You can find metal alloy or copper bells, which can be inverted and turned into water cups for the chain. Make sure they are small and that they are not too heavy. Cut the handles of these bells off with a blowtorch and then use a diamond drill bit and drill to create holes in the bottom edges of each inverted bell. You will need two holes opposite of each other so that you can string wire through them and attach them to the chain. Metal seed cups for bird seed work too, since anything that can catch water and be attached to the chain will work. Water should spill over the edges and down the chain to the next “cup” when your project is complete.
Stamped Copper Birdhouse
These are more decorative than functional, but you might have a bird or two check them out as a possible housing choice all the same. For this, you will need some copper sheets, preferably small ones, a tin snips/shears, and decorative metal punches (your choice-there are several different ones available). Measure and cut two squares the same size–these are the sides of the birdhouse. Then measure and cut two equal pieces with peaks–these are the front and back of the birdhouse. With your pieces flat, stamp them using your metal stamps.
Next, using either cold solder or hot solder (your choice, but cold solder is easier for beginners to use and there is far less of a chance that you will burn your fingers), secure the edges of the side pieces to the edges of the peaked pieces until you get a house-shaped structure, minus the roof. The roof is the easiest of all since you will only have to trim a piece of copper sheet to the right size and bend it in half to resemble a roof. Solder that to the peaks of your front and back pieces. Finally, use a blow torch to cut a circle in the front of the house and you are done.