Copper in the Arts

October 2018

Fisher Forging His Way Into Homes

By Courtney H. Diener-Stokes

David Fisher’s blacksmith workshop in Berks County, Pennsylvania is a place where artistic form meets function. Whether handcrafting anything from a driveway gate to furniture, Fisher enjoys the challenges posed to him when it comes to fusing artistic expression with his architectural designs.

Driveway gate by David Fisher of Fisher ForgeDriveway gate by David Fisher of Fisher Forge.

Photograph courtsy of David Fisher. 

“I love being able to coordinate that into things that are fully functional and meet code,” he says. “As soon as I do architectural work, I have to meet all of the safety codes.”

David Fisher first began tinkering around with making antique reproductions in various metals in 1987.

“It grew into a hobby and then a part-time job---and then a full-time occupation,” he says.

With a background in mechanical design and production management, Fisher has been able to utilize those skill sets in his work, but there were other areas in need of growth.  

“As far as the metalsmithing, it is primarily self-taught,” he says.

Fisher discusses the pleasure he finds in working with copper and other metals including brass, bronze, steel, stainless steel and aluminum.

“To me it’s awesome to take something that cold and harsh and utilitarian and make it into something that is warm and has life to it,” he says.

Fisher discusses the aspects of copper that draw him to working with it.

“Copper adds another realm of beauty,” he says.

He discusses a technique for accelerating patinas that he developed.

“I do some heat patinas here that are a combination of heating and blanching the material,” Fisher says. “That’s something I came up with on my own.”

It’s not uncommon for people to be baffled by how Fisher achieved the particular look of the patina upon viewing his work that has been made using the blanching process.

“They can’t figure out how I get the coloration,” he says. “They are used to using stain and chemical patinas and you can’t get this with that – you get some really awesome patinas that are locked into the surface.”

Fisher discusses some particular pieces within the body of his work that benefit from this technique in particular that involves heating the copper and then cooling it in water.

Hardware by David Fisher of Fisher ForgeCloseup of hardware by David Fisher of Fisher Forge.

Photgraph courtesy of David Fisher. 

“I have done copper leaves on forged steel trees and vines,” he says.  “When I do that technique with the copper it looks like fall foliage.”

Fisher often gets the opportunity to express himself creatively through his work, regardless of the function of the object at hand.

“I do a lot of architectural work and in some of the architectural work I get to incorporate artistic things,” he says.

He is currently working on some accents for a log home.

“I’m doing the stair railing and some of the fireplaces,” he says. “The railing is functional, but it’s like having a sculpture in your house.”

The railings are made to look like trees.

“It looks like roots coming out of the floor,” Fisher says.

In addition to stair railings and fireplace doors, Fisher offers a full range of architectural items.

“Anything from driveway gates to furniture, all different kinds of hardware,” he says. “We do custom range hoods – I’ve done a lot of custom range hoods.”

Fisher’s design shop is located at his home, in an extra large detached garage with added space. But then there is the installation process that takes him out of the shop. He finds this part of the process has benefits.

“I get to be able to see the properties and see the final fruits of my labor and hear comments from homeowners and the contractors that hire me,” he says.

His main goal through his work is to satisfy the homeowner before he delves into any artistic freedom he is given with a project.

“Overall, I like to get some initial input so I know the direction they want me to go,” he says. “I make sure I get a feel for them – I want happy customers.”


Fisher Forge, 572 Saint Michaels Rd., Hamburg, PA, (610) 504-8060  

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