What initially made you get into designing and building post apocalypse style weapons and other metal artwork?

 I grew up watching things like “The road warrior” and “Heavy Metal”. I also read a lot of science fiction. I had a vivid imagination too. In 2000, my wife and I went to Renaissance Fair. We saw a booth with copper sculptures. My wife said “you can make those”. I told her” yeah, maybe”. She said “yours would be better”.
I laughed cause I thought “nah, I can’t do that”. Later that year we went to Festival in the Park at Freedom Park. More copper stuff. This time copper water sprinklers for the yard. It was my time say I could make better. He wanted over a hundred dollars for something I could make for fifteen. Ridiculous.
So that year I decided to make a dragon head for my wife. My first metal piece was Roscoe. He is an all copper dragon sculpture. He has a four foot wingspan and weights 35 lbs. Thing is, as I thought I was finished, everyone that saw the head said “you can’t stop there, you need to finish it”. I finished him in early 2001. After that people started asking if I could make other things, and I just kept doing it. So Roscoe belongs to my wife. I can’t sell him. He will always be special.

 

How long does a piece take to make? 
It really depends on the complexity of a piece. A small rose takes about six hours for the shaping and brazing. The paint can take another three to four hours. Something more complicated, like a bonzai tree can take thirty to forty hours. Weapons are a different story. It really depends on the finished product you are after. Mine are more Mad Max kind of rough. That’s easier than a fine highly polished show blade. Show blades are really nice, but not my style. I can spent three hours making a mace, then another two or three hours deburring and removing weld beads. A knife or axe with heat treatment can take twenty to thirty hours. A lot of that is getting temperatures right to get the right hardness. Too hard, it shatters. Too soft, won’t hold an edge for crap. So it is a case by case basis really. I enjoy all of it though. That’s why I do it.
Do you sell your creations?
Yes. I have a Facebook web page. It has mostly my art stuff, cause FB is kinda getting weapon funny these days. I’ve noticed them removing a LOT of weapons post lately. Appears to me most social media is very much about censorship. Anyway, my page is..https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Ben-241645292551790/
What are some items that you are especially proud of?
 That’s a hard question. I am proud of all of the stuff I make. However, I do think my best metal work has been the dolphins I made, and of coarse Roscoe. My best colors are in my latest rose. Although I see lots of improvement over the years. My techniques have improved and I’m still learning. Currently my son is helping me learn TIG welding. 
How do you find your materials to build with?
 I get materials all over the place. I love repurposing materials. I have to admit being a bit of a hoarder. People give me metal pieces, and I get stuff that companies are throwing out. I use a whole lotta old nots and bolts too. Sometimes I have to buy materials too, usually copper for flowers. If Im making an axe or knives I’ll buy blade material. Usually I use 1095 high carbon steel. It’s a easier steel to start with. Much more forgiving than others. Blades need certain characteristics in the metal. Scrap metal is iffy sometimes. I mean you can spark test and stuff, but buying, you know exactly what you’re starting with.
what is some of the equipment that a begginner might need to start making their own items?
 Start with good hang tools. If you can’t weld it, or solder it, you can still drill and tap. Then you can bolt things together. Pliers, wrenches, and screwdrivers are good start. If your going scrounging for parts, your gonna have to take stuff apart first. Then drills and taps. Get a good toolbox of hand tools first. Basics go far.
How long have you been making postapo style creations?
 The art started first, my weapons came in the last ten years. Still doing weapons, I just haven’t posted them in some time. FB can be fussy. I plan on posting some soon. 
Do you have any plans to craft other items in the future? 
 Of course. I have stuff in the works now. I have parts for maces laid out and have orders for art right now.