There are a great many different things that can be constructed in sheet metal which are particularly suitable for making by the amateur. It is true that some of them can be bought for a few pence, but the amateur with the true workman's instinct will find an immense amount of joy in the feeling that he has constructed something for his own use or pleasure.
We shall now give one or two examples of sheet metal work, which, on account of their simplicity of construction and the few tools required in their manufacture, can readily be made up. Many neat-looking ornaments, such as vases, candlesticks, flowerpots, jugs, wall-brackets,pedestals, and such like things, can be made up out of strips of metal mitred together, with very little trouble.
Fig. 270 gives a view of a candlestick that may be constructed out of either sheet zinc, copper, or brass. For those who have not attempted work of this kind before, it will, perhaps, be the best plan to commence with thin zinc, say, No. 10 (zinc gauge) To simplify the work as much as possible, a square form of candlestick has been chosen, which is made up out of four strips of metal jointed at the corners. To mark out the shape of a strip a half-elevation of the candlestick is first drawn, as in Fig. 271. Each point is numbered as shown, and it will thus be seen that the total length of a strip must be equal to the sum of these numbered lines. Set the lengths 0 1, 1 2, 2 3, etc., down a line which will form the centre line of the pattern, and draw lines through these points square to the centre line. The width of the pattern at the different parts is obtained by setting on each side of the centre line of pattern the length of the line with the same number which is drawn from the point to the centre line in elevation. The points found are now joined with straight lines, and the pattern for one strip is complete. The greatest accuracy must be aimed at in setting out a strip, as any inaccuracy in the pattern will cause endless trouble in jointing the strips together. Four pieces are cut out to the pattern, and the lines for bending carefully marked. The strips can be bent to the required shape over a sharp edge of any kind, either on a bar of iron or a piece of timber. In bending, care must be taken that the centre line of the strip be of exactly the same form as the outline of candlestick in elevation. It will be as well to cut out the half-elevation in cardboard, and use it as a template to try on the bent metal strip, and thus by continual bending get them to the exact shape. In thin zinc the strips can be bent by the hand without using either mallet or hammer; but in any job on which the hammer is used, it should be seen that no hammer marks are left on the sheet, or else the finished appearance of the article will be anything but pleasing. If the strips are marked and cut correctly, and bent to the exact shape, there should be no trouble in making them fit together. None of the operations should be hurried, but great pains taken over the work, and this will save a lot of time and bother in the afterwork. In fitting the strips together it will be the best plan to tack them all in position before proceeding to completely solder along one corner joint. The best way to fix a corner will be to bring together two strips, and tack with solder the two points 0 0, then do the same with 1 1, 2 and 2, etc. After the four strips are tacked together at all the corners, the candlestick should be examined and tested as to being properly square. It should also be placed upon a level table to see if there is any twist in it. When in good shape the joints should be soldered down, as much of this being done from the inside as possible. In this case both the foot and top can be soldered from the inside the joints of the body being done from the outside. In soldering, care must be taken that the iron does not get too hot, or else the flat parts of the strips will buckle, and cause the surfaces to have an ugly appearance. This is especially so with light sheet zinc. A square bottom is now cut out, allowing about 1/8 in. all round for bending over an edge. The bottom is tacked at each corner inside the foot, and then soldered along each edge. If required the foot of the candlestick can be weighted by first of all stopping up the stick at 4 by soldering in a small square of zinc, then filling up the foot with sand before soldering in the bottom. A stopper might also with advantage be soldered at the bottom of the neck; this would be best done before the last strip is tacked in. The superfluous solder must be scraped off the joints and the corners carefully filed up, and if the stick be cleaned and polished, the job is finished. A small quantity of killed spirits can be used to clean the zinc, and oil and whiting to polish, or finish with a good polishing paste.
If a candlestick is made out of copper, the solder at joints can be coated with copper by applying a solution of sulphate of copper. It will then be an advantage if, after well polishing, the surface is lacquered.