Ferenc Sefcsik, owner of Wild West Coppersmith, in Scottsdale, Ariz., modestly says that he enjoys working with copper. But that's an understatement. It's clear the craftsman loves the pliable material.
“Copper is a soft metal that you can form and shape as you can no other metal,” Sefcsik says. “It is particularly effective in creating old-world character, whether it's used in roofs or cooking equipment.”
Copper creates a warm statement in the home. “It can enhance a rustic design,” the craftsman says. “I can make it look like an old penny, or use a range of finishes: hammered, smooth, antique, clear-coated, or polished. And then there's the protective green patina it acquires over time.”
Skilled at creating a wide array of copper items, from sinks and woks to sconces and kitchen rangehoods, it takes Sefcsik about a week to fabricate a copper range-hood. “I use an aluminum skeleton to keep the hood sturdy but lightweight,” he explains, “and wrap that with copper.” He has also used copper as an accent material, for example, enhancing the look of a stainless steel range-hood by applying decorative copper banding.
Sefcsik worked as a coppersmith for his father in Indiana for a decade before moving to Scottsdale in 1997 to start his own business. “The copper mines have gone through a rebirth in Arizona,” he says. Now used in more than just wiring and plumbing, “copper has become a precious metal in high demand — and it's in huge demand as an export to China.”
Sefcsik offers clients several options for commissions. “The architect or remodeler can sketch up something and send me a detailed drawing,” he says, “or I can contribute ideas to the design of the piece.” Sefcsik's extensive experience with the metal allows him to understand the material's limits as well. “A lot of designs look good in CAD programs, but some are not feasible when it comes to construction.”