Generally, a commission can be broken down into four stages:
The design of a commission may be achieved in a number of ways. It may be the work of your architect, a professional designer, original work produced by you, the client, or by the blacksmith.
Should you choose to work directly with the blacksmith, expect to pay a design fee. After consultation and a site visit, the blacksmith should provide a drawing of the project and sample pieces to support the artwork. Samples enable the client to visualize the project in three dimensions. They also help the blacksmith estimate the cost of manufacture.
Prior to the start of manufacture the client will usually be asked to place a deposit against the completed work. A 50% deposit is customary on most projects below $2000. On large and complex projects an initial deposit of $2000 is required with progress payments 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 deposit and any remainder returned.
There are a great number of finishes that can be applied to metal and the choice will depend on too many factors to cover here. 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.
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.