Many an industrious lad has made money manufacturing the common forms of wood brackets, shelves, boxes, stands, etc., but the day of the scroll saw and the cigar-box wood bracket and picture frame has given way to the more advanced and more profitable work of metal construction. Metal brackets, stands for lamps, gates, parts of artistic fences for gardens, supporting arms for signs, etc., are among the articles of modern times that come under the head of things possible to construct of iron in the back room or attic shop. The accompanying sketches present some of the articles possible to manufacture.
First, it is essential that a light room be available, or a portion of the cellar where there is light, or a workshop may be built in the yard. Buy a moderate sized anvil, a vise and a few other tools, including bell hammer, and this is all required for cold bending. If you go into a forge for hot bending, other devices will be needed. Figure 1 shows how to make the square bend, getting the shoulder even. The strip metal is secured at the hardware store or the iron works. Often the strips can be secured at low cost from junk dealers. Metal strips about 1/2 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick are preferable. The letter A indicates a square section of iron, though an anvil would do, or the base of a section of railroad iron. The bend is worked on the corner as at B, cold. If a rounded bend is desired, the same process is applied on the circular piece of iron or the horn of an anvil. This is shown in Fig. 2, at C. This piece of iron can be purchased at any junk store, where various pieces are always strewn about. A piece about 20 in. long and 4 in. in diameter is about the right size. The bend in the metal begins at D and is made according to the requirements. Occasionally where sharp bends or abrupt corners are needed, the metal is heated previous to bending.
Although the worker may produce various forms of strip-metal work, the bracket is, as a rule, the most profitable to handle. The plain bracket is shown in Fig. 3, and is made by bending the strip at the proper angle on form A, after which the brace is adjusted by means of rivets. A rivet hole boring tool will be needed. A small metal turning or drilling lathe can be purchased for a few dollars and operated by hand for the boring, or a common hand drill can be used. Sometimes the bracket is improved in design by adding a few curves to the end pieces of the brace, making the effect as shown in Fig. 4. After these brackets are made they are coated with asphaltum or Japan; or the brackets may be painted or stained any desired .
In some of the work required, it is necessary to shape a complete loop or circle at the end of the piece. This may be wrought out as in Fig. 5. The use of a bar of iron or steel is as shown. The bar is usually about 2 in. in diameter and several feet in length, so that it will rest firmly on a base of wood or stone. Then the bending is effected as at F, about the bar E, by repeated blows with the hammer. After a little practice, it is possible to describe almost any kind of a circle with the tools. The bar can be bought at an iron dealers for about 40 cents. From the junk pile of junk shop one may get a like bar for a few cents.
A convenient form for shaping strip metal into pieces required for brackets, fences, gates, arches, and general trimmings is illustrated at Fig. 6. First there ought to be a base block, G, of hard wood, say about 2 ft. square. With a round point or gouging chisel work out the groove to the size of the bar, forming a seat, by sinking the bar, H, one-half its depth into the wood as shown. In order to retain the bar securely in position in the groove, there should be two caps fitted over it and set-screwed to the wooden base. These caps may be found in junk dealers' heaps, having been cast off from 2-in. shaft boxes. Or if caps are not available, the caps can be constructed from sheet metal by bending to the form of the bar, allowing side portions or lips for boring, so that the caps can be set screwed to the wood. Thus we get a tool which can be used on the bench for the purpose of effecting series of bends in strips of metal.
Since the introduction of the laws requiring that signs of certain size and projection be removed from public thoroughfares in cities, there has been quite a call for short sign brackets, so termed, of the order exhibited in Fig. 7. These sign-supporting brackets do not extend more than 3 ft. out from the building. A boy can take orders for these signs in almost any city or large town with a little canvassing. The sign supporting bracket shown is merely a suggestion. Other designs may be wrought out in endless variety. A hook or eye is needed to sustain the ring in the sign.
The young man who undertakes to construct any sort of bracket, supports, frames or the like, will find that he will get many orders for lamp-supporting contrivances, such as shown at Fig. 8. It is hardly necessary to go into details for making these stands, as every part is bent as described in connection with the bending forms, and the portions are simply riveted at the different junctures. Both iron and copper rivets are used as at I, in Fig. 9, a cross sectional view.