Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How steel becomes architectural art

Generally, a commission can be broken down into four stages:

Design: The design of a commission may be achieved in a number of ways. It may be the work of your architect, a professional designer, original work produced by you, the client, or by the artist/blacksmith at Maynard Studios. Should you choose to work directly with Maynard Studios, the design fee is included in your original quote. After consultation and a site visit, Maytthew & Karine Maynard will start by providing a drawing of the project. The drawing also helps Maynard Studios estimate the cost.  

Before anything is cut to size, the first 

step is to work with the client to create 
a design that is uniquely theirs.  We 
may use similar elements, but won't do 
the same railing twice. Your design will be your's alone.

 Creation: Prior to the start of creating your project, the client will usually be asked to place a deposit against the completed work. A 50 % deposit is customary on most projects below $1,500. On larger and more complex projects an initial deposit of up to 1/3 of the total quote is required, with progress payments agreed upon between Maynard Studios and the client. (In the event of cancellation by the client, materials and hours worked will be deducted from the deposit and any remainder returned.)  
Once a design is finalized in our drawing studio & a deposit 
is secured, the materials are acquired and the metal studio begins 
to hum with the sounds of stock being sawn and sheared to length. 
Piles of blanks begin to stack up, ready to
 transform into the pieces in a grand puzzle.

One by one, each piece is heated in the forge to 
1800°, then shaped and formed to it's specifications.  
We have hammers that weigh from 3 oz. for delicate 
work to a massive 100 lb air-driven forging hammer

 that strikes four times a second.

Things are slowly pieced together until the 

finished railing begins to take shape.  All welds 
are dressed and sculpted smooth.  From start to 
installation, it's a process that can sometimes 
take weeks or even months.

Finish: The finish will be agreed upon during the design phase. In some cases Maynard Studios may deliver the completed work to a finishing specialist, such as a powder coater or faux finisher. Some special finishes can be expensive to achieve and difficult to maintain. No finish will last forever. Most finishes will require periodic maintenance and occasional renewal. It is good practice to discuss and understand the durability and appropriateness of the finish being selected, whether it be interior or exterior.

Installation: The installation of the completed commissioned piece is usually a separate line item on your quote. Certain projects may require the services of specialists. Structural, mechanical and electrical work may be required to support the installation. Clients are well advised to secure appropriate services at the time of original quote. Items such as gate actuators are normally beyond the expertise of the blacksmith. New and remodel construction projects must be coordinated by the general contractor, and often include consultation with trim carpenters, etc. and we are accustomed to working with them. Large installations may also require the services of crane and rigging specialists. Licensing and insurance considerations may also dictate who participates in the installation process.  


  1. whoops! It needs some refinement, but I think it gives the general idea. Apologies for the typo "Maytthew"!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, diddy! It's a really rewarding job.