Heat, sculpt, form, and repair anything made of copper.
What does a Coppersmith do?
The word “smith,” which is related to the archaic term “smite” meaning “to hit,” has a long and colorful history in connection with all things metal. Modern Coppersmiths and all Metal Workers have gone beyond the classic tools of the Smith’s trade while still retaining their skill with those older practices.
As a Coppersmith, you’re called upon to be an expert in copper. You need to familiarize yourself with this versatile and often-used metal, and be prepared to shape and sculpt it into any configuration your employer requests. That could be a lot of things, given copper’s broad range of applications, and only your workplace and shop specialization can dictate what you need to make on any given day.
The modern Coppersmith’s shop is a mix of classic and new technology. While you often fabricate or bend pipe to specifications produced on a computer, you rely on hammers, brazing torches, and other hand tools to achieve the desired effect. Computer technology aids you in testing your work, making sure that it stands up to quality requirements, and showing you how and where your contribution fits with the overall project.
While all Coppersmiths must be comfortable working in the shop, many also go out into the field and help install pipe and other copper fittings in buildings. Either way, familiarity with technical drawings and blueprints is vital.
Your shop and the contracts that you have determine your lifestyle. While it’s hard to make a living as a solo Coppersmith, being part of a larger metalworking or copper fabrication operation is still a viable career path. Expect at least a 40-hour workweek as part of a team. During times of high work volume or staffing shortages, you may be called upon to work extra hours.
As you gain skill and experience, you’ll gain autonomy and creative control of your process. Keep in mind that dealing with heat and cutting and bending tools is inherently dangerous — you’ll need a keen eye for safety.