Metalwork Magic

We’re Lindsay and Alex Remley, owners of Edgework Creative, a furniture design, millwork and metal fabrication shop proudly based in Columbus, Ohio. Each month, we offer an insider’s look at the work we love. Here, we nerd out over metal. Thanks for joining our journey.

Ask Alex the number one question we’re asked, and he won’t hesitate answering.

“It’s Who does your metalwork?” he says. “Hands down.”

So who does it? We do.

The fact that we’re not just a reclaimed and virgin wood shop might be our best kept secret. We’re equipped to handle all kinds of metalwork projects for homes and businesses. We’ve crafted simple stools and more complex restaurant table bases and benches, like those at Sweet Carrot. We’ve made custom fixtures for places like System of Strength. And we’ve created stairs and handrails for clients’ homes. We’ve also done lots of unique retail shelving for places like Truluck boutique, BrewDog in Canal Winchester and Homage in Cincinnati (which has a special place in our hearts because it was one of the first times we got to see our metalwork out in the wild).

Clockwise from top left: retail display at System of Strength, custom handrail, chairs with metal detail, benches for Sweet Carrot

Metalwork has become an integral part of what we do. But it was honestly never in our original plan. We joke that our whole company started with a dining room table Alex built. Fittingly, so did our metalwork. Our kitchen table, with this awesome metal base Alex salvaged, was the first metal project we ever did. We continued experimenting with the idea because we love the look of mild steel against salvaged wood.

Our kitchen table with a metal base

It also helped that Joey—our first hire, who just celebrated his third anniversary with us—was more attracted to metalwork than carpentry. (He’ll tell you it’s because he didn’t care for the splinters.) Completely self-taught, Joey is now our point guy on all metal projects. And he does a killer job. He and Alex work together to create pieces from existing designs or produce unique drawings. Then we cut, weld and finish every piece in house using mild steel. (The only exception? Adding powder coating, which is done by our friends at Columbus Powder Coat.)

Now, metal work is not just something we are capable of; it’s a full-blown passion.

The last three years have been about building our skills and honing our craft—getting better with every single project. The metal shop itself has come a long way, too. In our old space, what we called the welding room was really more like the welding corner. It had a curtain, and Joey’s feet would peek out from underneath. Today, there’s a sizeable room in our HQ dedicated to our metal projects. And it’s filled with some pretty spectacular toys that Alex has prioritized investing in. We’ve added new tools, like a fixture table and Ironworker (see below), so that we’re equipped to handle projects with greater precision and efficiency than ever before. A project that may have once taken Joey a few days, for example, now takes him just a few hours.

Soon, too, the metal shop will also include a new hire to specialize in this work alongside Joey. That means our capabilities will continue to grow—just as our clients’ imaginations do.

“We’ve got big plans for the metal shop for sure,” Alex says. “There’s almost nothing that we can’t do now.”

Joey in the shop

Inside the Shop: Joey’s Favorite Tools

Joey, better known here as our Metal Man Fabricator, is our resident metal expert. Here, he talks about the toys he most enjoys.

FIXTURE TABLE

What it does: Holds down materials on a super flat surface; especially great for accurate repeatability.

Why I love it: This is my dream table. Ever since I started welding, I’ve always wanted a layout table or fixture table like this. It has a nitrated finish, so it’s resistant to spatter from the MIG machine (which is right next to it). And it’s guaranteed flat across the whole surface to 24,000th of an inch. Which is pretty flat. It’s got 5-inch holes in a 2-inch grid pattern across the whole table so it can accept a variety of clamping fixtures, which is great for when you’re making 40 of something. Like things that have to stack. For example, if you need 30 barstools and they have to stack, you need something like this table to make sure they are identical. A project that probably took me three or four days before this table now takes me three or four hours.

Project made with it: The very first project I did after installing the table in my workshop is my favorite so far because it immediately proved its efficiency/worth. It was finishing six booth benches for Sweet Carrot Polaris—work I planned to take 2 to 3 hours with my old welding table. With this, I knocked those out in maybe a third of that time. I love working smarter and continuing to learn jigging methods that almost make it feel like cheating.

MILLERMATIC 251 MIG WELDER

What it does: This is the machine that makes the sparks fly. It feeds a continuous solid wire electrode through a welding gun to join two pieces of metal together.

Why I love it: Guys who weld are very particular about their welding equipment. For the most part, you’re either a Miller guy or a Lincoln Electric guy, kind or like you’re either a Ford or Chevy guy. I remain convinced that Miller is top of the line—it has the prestige, and I like my American-made machines. MIG stands for metal inert gas. How it works is that it creates this sterile environment where the magic happens—where your electrode and wire and gas and electricity all combine to fuse metal together with heat and electricity. A wire-feed MIG, like this one, is good for everything we do here. It produces a very strong, structurally sound joint that is also brittle. So if you spot welded together a couple pieces of metal with the MIG, you could then take that piece, throw it on the ground and break it apart. Work with it until you’ve fully fused it. Everything we do here is MIG, mostly with mild steel, though we’ll sometimes work with stainless. Mild steel is great because it’s easy to cut, easy to work with, strong, but also economical.

Project made with it: It’s hard to pick a favorite with this machine. Perhaps the job I’m finishing now, BrewDog Franklinton, is a favorite due to the volume of the pieces. We did some 29 outdoor bench supports, and my Miller never skipped a beat.

HYDRAULIC IRONWORKER

What it does: A variety of fabrication functions quickly and cleanly, including punching metal and shearing and notching edges.

Why I love it: This guy right here is exciting. It’s an ironworker—a multi-station hydraulic machine with a shear for cutting, a coper notcher to cut notches out of plate or angle and, most importantly, a punch press for putting holes in angled or flat steel. It’s not a fast machine, but it put it’s powerful, packing 50 tons of pressure. On the old press, cutting a half-inch hole in a 3/16-inch piece of mild steel would take 30 seconds or so—slow-going and also messy. This guy takes seconds. It’s a tremendously efficient machine.

Project made with it: Tables for the redesign of Iacono’s Pizza in Powell—our first large job using round stock vs. square. The ironworker did it all, from shearing base plates to using the punch press to quickly and easily punching uniform holes.

What metal work project can we start for you? Let’s dream at info@edgeworkcreative.co.

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