Making Commissions


Working with an Artist-Blacksmith

Please contact me via e-mail or phone to start this process.  This is a general breakdown of the commission process.  It is not the only way to do it, just one that I find works well.

Generally, a commission can be broken down into four stages:

Design: The design of a commission may be achieved in a number of ways. I like to do my own designs though I am open to working with designs presented to me by your architect, a professional designer, or an original work produced by you, the client. Should you choose to work directly with me the blacksmith, expect to pay a design fee. After consultation and a site visit, I will return within 2-4 weeks with 3 drawings of options for the project and sample pieces to support the artwork for large commissions. Samples enable you, the client to visualize the project in three dimensions. They also help me finalize costs where necessary.

Manufacture: Prior to the start of manufacture the client will usually be asked to make a first payment against the completed work. 50% is customary on most projects below $7,000. On large and complex projects an initial payment of 35-50% is required with progress payments dependent on scope and length of the project agreed upon between the blacksmith and the client. In the event of cancellation by the client, materials and hours worked will be deducted from the payment and any remainder returned.

Finish: The finish should be agreed upon during the design phase. In some cases the blacksmith may deliver the completed work to a finishing specialist, such as a painter or faux finisher. Some special finishes can be expensive to achieve and difficult to maintain. No finish will last forever. Most finishes will require periodic maintenance and occasional renewal. It is good practice to discuss and understand the durability and appropriateness of the finish being selected.

Installation: The installation of the completed commissioned piece is usually a separate cost item. Certain projects may require the services of specialists. Structural, mechanical and electrical work may be required to support the installation. Clients are well advised to secure the appropriate services. Items such as gate actuators are normally beyond the expertise of the blacksmith. New and remodel construction projects must be coordinated by the general contractor. Large installations may require the services of crane and rigging specialists. Licensing and insurance considerations may also dictate who participates in the installation process.


adapted from Mark Aspery’s document “Working with an artist blackmsith.” Thanks Mark