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Student forges ahead in metal work

By Staff | Nov 29, 2017

RUTH FRY/The Luminary Josh Sweeney, of Pennsdale, went public by showing his metal work at a recent craft show at Muncy High School. A future in metal fabrication is planned for the Muncy High School senior.

PENNSDALE – It has been four years since Josh Sweeney began muddling in metal. The self- taught Muncy High School senior educated himself by watching U-tube.

“I have a knife collection but didn’t want to use any of them for fear of breakage or loss. That’s when I decided I’d make them,” Josh said.

And so, an outside fire pit was constructed, which led to using the carport which was later enclosed to keep out the elements. It was then on to gathering materials, metal from junk yards and steel from the nearby Opp Company.

For fueling a fire, Josh trucks in bituminous coal from mines at English Center. “Temperatures of 2,000 degrees are needed to make metal pliable,” he said.

Knives were the first items made, some were from railroad spikes recycled and fashioned into cutlery. As the crafter’s experience and assuredness grew, so did his output. He molded and twisted metal into ornamental items such as hinges, handles, hanging hooks, coat racks, fireplace utensils and roses. Yes, roses, which were all the rage at the recent craft show at Muncy.

RUTH FRY/The Luminary Metal fashioned into ornamental roses held on wooden stands were admired at the Muncy Craft Show on Nov. 11. The blooms were among several items hand crafted by Josh Sweeney.

When items are finished, Josh said he covers the metal with a finish of bees wax or linseed oil. “Metal is porous, and the finish soaks in keeping rust away.”

The hand made items were first gifted to family and friends. The recent craft show is only the second time he’s gone public with his work. This necessitated a registered business which he acquired under the name “Sweeney Forge & Metal Works.”

What began as a part-time hobby has the potential of becoming a career. Josh is one of four Muncy High School seniors participating in the school’s “Career Exploration,” which offers students hands on experience outside the classroom.

During two marking periods, Josh will have accumulated a total of 80 hours at Muncy Machine & Tool on the Susquehanna Trail south of Muncy as an apprentice.

In addition, Josh has applied and been accepted into the Metal Fabrication Technology Department at Pennsylvania School of Technology which he’ll enter in the fall.

Past and future customers have opportunity to add to the metal worker’s college fund by availing themselves to any of the many items in Josh’s inventory. For more information, phone 570-506-9848 or email 18sweeneyj@gmail.com.