Written by Artistic Alloys

Traditional Finishing Of Fine Ornamental Metalwork


A lot of the items we see in our daily lives are coated with paints. While these colorful additions add vibrance to our spaces the charm and complexity of traditional finishing of fine ornamental metalwork is undeniable. One of the lesser known processes in designing and fabricating ornamental ironwork is how exactly is the work finished?

Fine Finishes For Fine Art

Wrought iron is much like fine pieces of wood cabinetry and furniture, it deserves nothing less than a fine finish that allows it quality and character of the piece to shine forth. The craftsmanship along with quality materials and expert metalworking skills need not be hidden behind coats of paint and traditional finishes make it possible to enjoy this artistic medium.

The fine joinery and surface texture is part of the charm when you have fine ornamental metalwork fabricated. Fine hand wrought metalwork is a skill, trade, and art form. The overall composition including the leaf work and scrolls when fabricated by master metalworkers will have quality that nearly demands attention.

Understanding Fine Finishes

With a lot of new products and finishes on the market there is confusion about the best and most effective ways to achieve a tradition finish that allows the metal’s true charm to shine. The most knowledgeable architects and clients are aware of the wax and oil finishes that are the best for creating this fine finish.

Builders and property owners must trust the judgment and skill of their metal fabricator. The finish is an integral part of the overall finished piece and should be considered before any fabrication begins.  The end product will have a character all its own and a large part of how it will look is the finish that is applied. Think about the way we think about old fading paintjobs on cars or beautiful new vehicles on lots. The finish is part of the metalwork’s final appearance.

Fine Finishes Start With Fine Materials

Beautiful iron work finishes begin with quality and exquisite materials. They chosen to fit the motif that is desired which might be smooth or include pitting. While some might see pitting in the surface of the metal as a design flaw, it can be a element that give surface texture that gives a weathered and old world feel.

The discerning clients prefer to have metal that is subtly distressed or pitted. This means that it must look or be natural. The process requires expert handwork so it feels natural and it doesn’t end up looking like something a machine produced. The organic feel of the work is where the true metalwork artist does his work. In the old world metal production processes produced this texture naturally. Large iron bars were drawn down into the desired railings and metal pieces which naturally created the texture.

Applying The Finish

Once the parts have been created and the texture applied the metal is ready for the finish. The traditional finish usually comprised of either both oil and wax, or one of the two alone. Raw beeswax is applied to the hot metal and allowed to be absorbed. Before the waxes or oils are applied light colorings can be added to create unique and interesting color finishes that still allow the character of the metal so shine forth.

Once dry and properly cured the finish give a lustrous, rich, colorful and semi transparent finish which highlights the elegance and character of the metal. While the raw materials are not particularly costly the labor is time intensive and must be completed by a master metal worker.

Scottsdale Fine Ornamental Metalwork Finishes

Artistic Alloys builds both functional and artistic metal pieces for the people of Phoenix out of their Scottsdale shop. With a wealth of experience we help you with design, expertly fabricate, coat the wrought iron with the finishes artistic metalwork demands, and then expertly install your custom metal work at your home or business. If you are ready to appoint your business or home with custom metal ornamentation look no further than Artistic Alloys.

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