InaShed Forge - Meet the Welder
InaShed Forge is a rural forge based in the picturesque county of Herefordshire.
With a backstory rooted in a passion for welding and metal fabrication. They have become known for their unique and bespoke ornaments and sculptures.
Recently, we had the pleasure of connecting with some of the team when they brought their Mig250 in for a service. Curious to learn more about their craft and business, we picked up the phone and spoke to the welder behind it all. We get to know the person behind the welding mask and delve into the world of InaShed Forge.
Utilising top-of-the-line R-Tech Equipment, Kelvin Cunningham is the skilled welder that is able to bring their creative visions to life.
Tell us about InaShed Forge and how it came about...
I started InaShed Forge whilst I was at college on a two year course to become a blacksmith.
I have spent my working life in telecommunications of some form or other including IT and networking.
When it came to retirement I wanted to do something completely different. I'd previously spent my weekends restoring Series 3 Land Rovers with my son. As part of that I needed to learn to MIG weld. So I attended evening classes at Holme Lacy College. Whilst I was there I saw the blacksmiths in action and wondered what it would be like to do that sort of thing.
I attended a three day short course at the National School of Blacksmithing, again at Holme Lacy College. That did the trick. I applied for and obtained a place on a Level 2 full time blacksmithing course and never looked back.
I am lucky enough to have my own forge in my workshop at home so it is a very short commute to work.
Initially I made things that a lot of blacksmithing students do which consisted of all sort of things made from horseshoes. Wine racks etc, but as my skill set increased I increased the range of items that I could make and sell including hand forged roses.
Do You Do The Sculptures Full Time, Or Is There Another Job That Keeps You Busy?
I am a full time blacksmith.
The sculptural aspect came about purely by chance. Myself and a couple of blacksmithing friends were visiting a client who had a art piece in his garden that needed some attention and repair.
During a conversation the client's wife mentioned that she had always wanted to have a dragon in the garden. My friends and I (we later became the MSK Collective operating out of InaShed Forge) put our heads together and came up with a basic plan and design for a dragon.
The client said he would be very interested in what we could do. We put together a series of design sketches which were viewed by the client who then asked me to put together a cost for the statue.
We did and he accepted.
When Did You Make Your First Ever Sculpture? Tell Us All About It...
The dragon was my first sculpture. A member of the collective had made a small one before but it was a very steep learning curve for all of us.
The dragon is based on a frame consisting of 6, 8, and 10mm steel round bar.
The dragon took 300 hours of work to build. There are very nearly 3000 scales welded onto the frame. Each one was welded on, then heated with a gas torch before being shaped into position.
Pretty much every scale was different.
The head is a frame structure, coated with 3mm steel plate sections and then welding beads run over the top to allow the features to be sculpted. That is where the Pro-Mig 250-1 came into its own.
What Is The Biggest Sculpture You Have Made?
The dragon is two metres tall, but I am hoping to go a lot bigger!
Where did you learn to weld?
I learned MIG, MMA and gas welding on my blacksmithing course, although I had been able to try stick welding out on a machine that came with a deal I did on a Land Rover!
The college has very high standards and a lot of blacksmithing students earn a living working for fabrication companies whilst they get enough money together to start up on their own.
How did you hear about R-Tech and What Machines do you have?
R-Tech have machines in the welding shop at the college and the logo really stuck in my mind AND the R-Tech office is very close to me.
I have the following R-Tech equipment:-
Pro-Mig 250-1 MIG welder
TIG 260 AC/DC Digital TIG Welder with WRC-300A torch cooler
Plasma50HF plasma cutter
I buy equipment from R-Tech because it is very good. The customer service is without doubt the best I have ever come across. Very helpful people.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in doing what you do?
Take advantage of the 3 day short courses in welding and blacksmithing that are held by the college during half term breaks and summer breaks.
The courses give you opportunity to use different types of machinery and equipment without having to buy it.
You will be able to discuss ideas with like-minded people and gain a real insight into what you really want to do.
Do You Have A Story To Tell?
Get in touch if you would like to be featured in our 'Meet the Welder' blog.