Southern-Steel Fabrication

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Southern Steel's Trusty Steed

World meet ABE the true SSF work horse!

Sent from my iPhone

Playful Experimentation

I read sometime ago about the encouraging of "playful experimentation" specifically with metalworking...this stuck with me and I think I remember reading it in Scharzkopf's or one of Hasluck's books that I fortune to have, anywho it is essential for this to happen. Some of the simplest projects I've happened to do somehow plant a seed for me for a future project harvest! I like to think about this as part of the journey of discovery that allows me a greater appreciation of metalwork in general, because had I not spent my youth building things, nor had I taken great pleasure in grinding the heads off of nails in pops basement, I may not have every tried to work metal. The eventual meeting of imagination and technique comes together, like the Beatle's song RIGHT NOW! I'm so thankful to be getting back to pursuit of all things metalworking, I hope those of you who follow the "plight" of Southern Steel realize that not only do I place great value in the playful experimentation that I do, but I also by proxy follow and gain appreciation by watching the same process get fullfilled in what you do! To our continuation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay here's a few shots of some panels that I've been working on to gain more prowess with copper. I am gaining a newfound freedom working with copper in this method and I am really enjoying pushing my fear of capturing the likeness of people in portrait format. It is a likeness only, but I enjoy the challenge of recreating these likenesses in this manner. I've come to appreciate this challenge, as it's helping me discover just how far you can push a piece of material, before it yields, splits, cracks and fails....through this process I've learned more about myself....thru my failures, I've learned that there is beauty in failures if I but look for it, and failures give me the opportunity to correct and fix things that I wouldn't have normally gotten too....sorry to go out on the limb here philosophically but hey that's what metalworking is all about, at least for me...combining the seemingly unrelated things of life in a definable media. Look out....more to come!

News and Recent Work

Hello to's been sometime since I've been able to catch up here...please accept my apologies for the long time in coming updates. Where to begin....let's see...uhm Southern Steel is now located near my ancestral beginnings....of which I'm very excited to be so close to my family. I'll have to update with several posts here to address each phase of what's going on, but for now enjoy a few shots of some recent copper work and of yours truly making an attempt to live the metalworking dream!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


It's taken me quite a while to get this phase of the project working. In earlier posts I captured the progress of the "cameo" I had started...however much to my pain, I ended up going a little to far and ended up breaking thru version 1. So having invested many hours into the first one, I started all over. The pictures are out of sync, but you can see I started out with my line drawing, then started working. I had learned alot from my previous attempt, so on this one I took everything slowly and deliberately. Once I got started on version 2 of the cameo, I ended up also remaking the broken heart section that will go on the back side of the memorial. Also visible in this post is a basic mechanical drawing for my vision of the headstone. This weekend I finished sketching the dogwood tree which will adorn the hinder part of the work. I intend to get to forming on this portion next. All that I lack for the cameo is some planishing and a little more work on the bead frame. I ordered a fantastic book on chasing and repousse' that I wish I had read prior to this 2nd attempt, but what fun is a project if you know everything going into it? I got a copy of Adolph Steines "Moving Metal" from and it has been extremely informative. I should state too, that since my wife passed, I've converted a portion of my kitchen into an impromptu chasing if I can just keep my kids from playing with my hammers I will claim a small victory. Till next post!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Finial Top Complete

This is the piece I finished fabricating this week. It is the finial top for the tombstone I've been working on for some time. I am pleased with how the lines of the part came out and I am very satisfied on the connection with the sphere and the transition part. This part will be the tallest part of the work and will set centered above the other ornamentation. Till next time.............

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Little Cameo Progress

Made just a little progress on the cameo of Belinda I'm working on. I managed to get a few more details penciled in with my sharpie. Gotta get some more pitch though my pan's a little shallow. Hope to make more significant progress in the coming weeks.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coming Back

Where to begin.... I lost my wife of 13 years on 24 JUN 07. This has been a difficult time for me to say the sudden, so tragic. I've started to pick up the pieces. My wife was so important in my life as well as the lives of our children, without her we are not whole. I can't quite put into words our pain, but I thank all of you out there who continue to have us in your prayers and helped us along. My appreciation for you is also without words, so simply put....I Thank You!

What I've felt led to do is to construct my Wife's Headstone. As a memorial, as a monument, as a way I can at least do one more thing for her. To honor to her life. I realize it is impossible via this monument to convey how much Belinda meant to us, but never the less, I want to honor her memory. I was able to work in the shop a little this weekend and the photo's above represent the progress I've made. I'll post progress as I make it. Till then.......

Sunday, February 11, 2007

All the King's Horses.....and other mentionables

Just thought I'd share a few of the latest projects. Made a few of these large horses to adorn a wooden gate. Made a "miniature" just for giggles.

Also shown is the snowy path to my shop, which by the time of this posting is even snowier. Odd thing occurred I was walking towards my shop one morning, I discovered a unique "valentine" rose growing out of the snow. I know Punxatawney Phil said spring was coming.....but this spring flower jumped out real quick. Also shown is a custom shelf I fabricated this weekend.
Bet ya can't guess who it was for. Hopefully I'll be in touch soon....till then.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Simple Projects = Simple Pleasures

Now sometimes you just gotta keep it simple. Like this handrail you see here....I spent some time coming up with a unique design that I thought would seal the deal and I thought it would jazz up the otherwise plain looking handrail.....however the customer only wanted a "simple" handrail wallah you have the simple handrail shown. Though it was simple it was still a lot of fun, mainly because I made the lamb's tongue. Sure it would have been easier to buy the already pre-made moulded handrail lamb's tongue, but then I wouldn't have had the joy of figuring out how to forge it myself. I started with the moulded raw stock, made a proportional V notch in it, then brought it together. Next I welded the now touching sides of the V notch and rough sanded the weld to blend with the profile. Last I forged it till it intersected with the post and the other section of the cap rail.

Though this was my first forged lamb's tongue I hope to improve with doing more. So even in simple projects we can all push the envelope and ourselves too.

The other project was just a simple elk coat hanger powder coat job. Simple weekend, simple projects, simple pleasure.