When Patrick Ober was 14, he started learning how to make armor.
His brother was in college at the time and learning the craft and Patrick absorbed as much as he could through that association. Little did he know that it would tie-in to his career later in life.
Last year, Patrick quit his job and applied his full-time focus to his business—Ober Metalworks. He works out of the garage in his Asheville, North Carolina home and fashions impressive bracelets, watch chains, and other items out of titanium and steel.
For some of his pieces he uses an ancient loop-in-loop technique and hand punches each ring, with 5-ton and 20-ton hand punches. The result is an intricate piece of jewelry that will last throughout the ages. He also crafts spinning tops on his lathe. They have a bronze middle and titanium on the outside. “Depending on size and weight, they can spin for a long time,” he said. “Ten minutes is average, but others spin longer.”
While he does most of his business online, he does travel each Labor Day to participate in a big knife show in Las Vegas. In addition, he does a fair amount of commissioned work and enjoys working with a customer to create special custom pieces.
Two pieces of body armor hang on the walls—one is a shirt crafted from stainless steel and bronze that took him six months to complete. Customers who order these are primarily involved in Renaissance festivals and Markland events where participants engage in medieval battle with weapons and armor.
His products range in price from $15 to $3,000 so there’s definitely something for every budget. “I try to cover as many prices as possible,” Ober said. “My goal is for it to go to someone else, so price is important.”