Working effectively with metal requires a specific set of skills and a specific set of tools. Some of them might seem obvious, while others might seem less so. Let’s run through a few of the more essential pieces of kit.
Essential Metalworking Tools
As you bend, shape, grind, and saw metal, you’re likely to unleash a few stray shards and sparks. The last thing you want is for either to fly upwards into your face. If you’re welding, then the danger is even more pressing, as you’ll be working with very intense light sources.
The solution here is personal protective equipment. Protect your eyes, fingers, and skin. That way, if an accident does occur, it needn’t be a catastrophic one.
A cordless angle grinder is a spectacularly versatile piece of kit. With the help of a selection of attachments, you’ll be able to cut, polish, shape, and grind whatever piece you’re working with. If you decide later that you’re often performing a specific set of actions, then you can shop for more specialized attachments.
When you’re trying to manipulate and slice wires, pipes, and other metal lengths, then a set of quality pliers can be hugely useful. You’ll be able to pinch and bend your workpiece without having to reach for a larger and more cumbersome tool. Pliers come in many different sizes and shapes. Ideally, you’ll want a set of needle-nosed and stub-nose pliers, and a few other spares, too.
A set of files will allow you to shave a little (or a lot) off certain parts of your metal, and thereby achieve a smoother finish. The first file that most budding metalworkers end up investing in intends to be the half-round file. This comes with one flat side and one round side. Once you’ve been working with metal for a while, you might add it to your collection.
If you’re going to be sawing through metal, then you’ll need an appropriate hacksaw. They’re very versatile and can be used to cut through a variety of different kinds of metal. All you need is a firm grip of your saw; if you’re using the right technique, it’ll cut through just about anything. Moreover, it won’t make any noise in the same way as a power-tool might.
If you can’t effectively hold your work pieces in place, then you’ll struggle to work on them. For this reason, a quality vice must count as an essential piece of machinery. Metalworking vices tend to be slightly different from woodworking ones. They tend to be made from either cast iron or steel and can be bolted to a workbench. Look for a model with a soft jaw cover, so that you can close the vice around delicate pieces without scratching them.