Punched Tin as a Hobby
Punched tin is a very attractive art form that many pursue as a hobby. Tin punchers create beautiful works of art in metal using special tools, patterns and techniques. Although tin punching is not quite as popular as woodworking, knitting or sewing, it is an interesting hobby opportunity that deserves some attention. Let us look at what punched tin is and what one needs to do to become involved with the pastime.
Punched tin is any piece of tin into which a pattern has been punched. Tin punching allows for the creation of ornate patterns on the metal and has long been used for decorative purposes. Tin punching can be as simple as using a hammer and nail to leave one's initials on a camping cup or complicated as creating detailed pieces of original art on a large piece of metal.
Punched tin is often found in smaller decorative items. The technique is popular for small ornate display cases and picture frames, for example. Larger punching exists, of course, but due to the effort and time required, most projects are relatively small.
There are four basic things anyone interested in tin punching will need to get started. These are: tin, a hammer, a punch, and a pattern.
Tin can be obtained from a dealer specializing in the hobby or from a variety of other sources. Sheets of tin specifically designed for tin punching projects are often referred to as "blanks" by those involved with the hobby. Blanks can vary in size, but in many cases, one will find "standardized" sizes that match handily with traditional frames (5" x 7", 8" x 10", etc.).
You need a hammer to punch tin. Generally, a lightweight hammer will suffice. Tin is a giving metal and there is no reason to attack it with a massive framing hammer. Some hammers can actually be used as part of the punching process without even using a punch. A small ball peen hammer, for instance, may be used to create a nice circular "ding" on a blank.
Punches are also integral to the process. Although one could approach a project using nothing more than a nail, specialty suppliers offer a variety of reasonably priced punches that will leave marks of various sorts ranging from small circles to crescent-like shapes. Any one who is seriously interested in punched tin will invest in some quality punches.
Patterns are the last part of the equation. A good pattern, printed on paper, is laid atop the metal and is used to help direct one's punching. It is possible t punch "freehand," but the results are usually far more impressive when a good pattern is used. One can draw up his or her own pattern or purchase ready-made punched tin patterns from specialty suppliers.
Punching tin can be an interesting and rewarding hobby. Not only does it provide a participant with a creative outlet, it also produces attractive decorative items. If you have a knack for artistic expression, you might want to direct some of your talents toward experimentation with punched tin.