The combination of wood and metal have long been pivotal in the construction of modern advancements. The two have been primary building materials in homes, ships and the first airplanes, solidifying their amalgamation in our daily lives, whether its realized or not. With current popular interior design trends like modern style, mid-century modern, minimalist style, Scandinavian style, industrial style, contemporary style and urban style, the combination of wood and metal has been transported from strictly industrial to trendy and chic.
Metal can be brought into the woodshop in more ways than just nails and screws. There are several metals that woodworkers can utilize in their small-scale and large-scale projects, each with different properties that are important to consider. Ferrous metals contain iron, while nonferrous metals do not. They have various factors that distinguish their differences including weight, strength, and price. These metals include:
- Steel: available in a wide variety of shapes, in hot rolled and cold rolled. Steel is alloy of iron and a small amount of carbon, and it is renowned for its toughness and machinability.
- Stainless Steel: alloy of steel and chromium. Stainless steel is perfect for outdoor furniture as it is resistant to rust and stains, but it is very expensive.
- Aluminum: the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. Aluminum is a great alternative to stainless steel in outdoor projects as it is equally resistant to rust and stains but retails at the price of steel while being very light. Aluminum is a very versatile material as it can very easily be machined and welded.
- Brass: Alloy of copper and zinc. Brass has seen a resurgence in popularity due to its warm color complimenting various interior design trends. Brass has similar properties to aluminum, though it is slightly more expensive.
- Bronze: an alloy of copper, with small amounts of tin. This metal was one of the first we can identify in our history-the first swords having bronze blades. It is pricey and difficult to source but highly resistant to chipping and breaking.
Before bringing metal into your woodshop, be sure to do your research. There are additional tools needed as well as safety gear required, and this can all vary based on metal type. Welding metal is another rewarding way to get creative in the wood shop, adding a unique touch to your incredible hardwood projects! Take a look and see some of the Forest 2 Home community projects that have utilized metal:
Ben Stuart's Hemingway Shelf
White Oak 1 in x 6 in x 60 in and Black Iron Pipe
(Find the build plans here)
Ben Uyeda's Modular Mid-Century Slide-on Bench
Walnut 1 in x 6 in x 72 in and Steel
(Find the full build here)
Cody's Pour Over Coffee
Custom Cherry Board with Brass Pipes
(Created by @codywood.designs on Instagram)
Planning on including metal in your next Forest 2 Home build? Be sure to tag us on social media with @shopf2h and use hashtag #BuiltWithF2H so we can see and share your work! If you are not on social media, send us some photos by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy Woodworking!