Metal Cutlery Sculpture - Alfred The Grate

alfredthegratethumb.jpgThis was a quick Sunday afternoon project to make a metal sculpture out of old tableware...


The notion was to make a human figure of some kind. A metal man.

The materials for the sculpture comprise a few spoons and forks, an old grater, a pasta server and a corkscrew/bottle opener.


The Face

alfredthegrate2.jpgThe corkscrew has a face already built into it - the pivot pins are the eyes (the gear teeth look like eyebrows) and the handle/crown cap opener looks like a gaping mouth.

I had hoped to bend the lever arms together to form a chin, but the construction of the corkscrew is cast metal, which is very brittle - so I just cut the arms short - so they look like sideburns.

I trimmed away the collar that fits around the neck of the wine bottle and (after this photo) sawed off the corkscrew point, leaving just one of the annular pinion ridges.

All of the cut edges and drilled holes needed sharp bits removed with a medium file.

Arms And Legs

alfredthegrate3.jpgThe arms and legs are made from forks and spoons - bent using two pairs of pliers to suggest gripping hands, elbows and knees.

The arms just needed simple bends, but the legs needed a quarter twist (because the hip joint is 90 degrees rotated from the direction of the feet).

I drilled small holes in the ends of the handles, for later attachment to the body.

alfredthegrate4.jpgThe face was attached to the underside of the pasta server by means of a loop of wire around the remaining annular pinion ridge, secured to a small bolt driven through a hole drilled in the bowl.

Prior to this, I bent the handle of the pasta server so that it could be fitted to the back of the grater (which will form the body) - the bends in the handle were calculated so that the face (suspended beneath the bowl) will be above the middle/top of the body.

alfredthegrate5.jpgI drilled some holes in the sides of the grater and riveted the arms, legs and spine (the handle of the pasta server) in place.

I could have used small bolts for this, but rivets are quick and easy - this is a sculpture, not a toy, so it doesn't need to be articulated or posable, so tight joints are fine.

alfredthegrate6.jpgI Wrapped the fingers of the right hand around the stub of the corkscrew that I cut off - so it looks like the figure is holding a sword.


Whereas the arms were fixed on the outside of the grater-body, it seemed to make more sense to fit the legs on the inside surface.

There's no mechanical reason for this - I just thought it looked better.

The End Result

Here he is - a fearsome warrior king. A man of steel (literally).


His name is Alfred, of course. Alfred the Grate.


Tricky Bits

For the most part, this was a simple project - because most of the parts were chosen for their ready-made shape.

The most difficult part was drilling the holes in the handles of the cutlery - the metal was perhaps only 2mm thick, but very tough - and even with a pillar drill, it took a while to get through.