Hector Ortega (@hman4200 | @silverliningmetalstamps)

January 21, 2023

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Hector from @hman4200 and talk a little shop.
 
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to leo.benchmarkabrasives@gmail.com to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!

 

 
Name:  Hector Ortega
 
Business Name: Ortega Sculpture, Silver lining Metal Stamps
 
Location: Phoenix, Az
 
 
 
Specialties:  Public art /Sculpture and tool making, large and small steel is the medium.
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
My name is Hector Ortega, AZ based Sculptor and Tool Maker, I have always been into the arts and making things since a child one of the biggest influences in my career has been growing up around Super talented Architects and watching them build the world around us in an artful way. This experience eventually led me to Sculpture first in stone then made the transition to large scale steel sculpture fabrication in the early 2000’s, as with any of these art endeavors one thing leads to another and I made it into the jewelry world first with a need to learn new skills and more attention to small details on hand made objects. Frustrated with the tools available I started to make my own and now I sell traditional handmade metal stamping tools all over the world as well as associated art from engraved items such as hammers, knives and custom items.
 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
What keeps me motivated throughout the day is seeing ideas become reality especially in my large-scale art. To see all the Planning, Construction Drawings, 3-D models, methods, and materials come together through hard work is extremely gratifying. There’s always so much at stake that sometimes you can get overwhelmed in the whole process but this is where experience, work ethic, and perseverance comes into play to see you through the end.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I have a lot of favorites but one that’s crucial to my work is my Forklift. It is an old 1957 Yale Military Lift with a 1950 dodge flathead 6. That machine “The Good Grief Machine” changed my work and has saved my back and enabled me to grow as an artist and Fabricator.
 
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
My favorite piece that I have worked on that’s a tough question. It's usually what I'm working on or the last thing I have completed, it’s all an idea until it’s there. The first two that come to mind is my latest Stainless Sculpture “Ascension” and a box I made earlier this year for a crown I made from silver and made all the tools to make the crown Huge amount of time materials invested in it just to make lol.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I already have the job, living the dream making things large and small I just want to get better and more efficient with all the fabrication processes to create more and bring more things to individuals and the greater public.
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
Well, I have a few I love the ceramic resin fiber discs, great disks at a great price. I try to always have at least 50-100 on hand so I don’t have to go to the local store and buy junk. They cut well and leave great finishes on stainless and tool steels. I also use the 2” x 48” belts on my grinder to prep my tool blanks and other items, I also like the surfacing condition belts as well as the disks as well, I have all the grits in bulk so I can finish any item to whatever level it needs, from engraved hammers, firearms to large scale artwork.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
The surfacing conditioning discs surprised me on how well they worked and the cost as well in comparison to the other local options here which were twice as much and did not last or work as well.
 
 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
One tip I have is that with when you attack anything with an abrasive wheel like a resin fiber disk, is to hit the material in one direction and to pick the tool up and return back to the start point to let the disk cool off, keeps material cooler to prevent heat signatures and extends the life of your disk.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
If there was one person, I could collaborate with it would be my father, My father has long since passed but saw me in training, slowly coming up from general metal fabrication to becoming a self-made artist, I got my Architecture bug from him and would be nice to sit and draw and think about form, composition and details with him.
 
 
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
My advice to anyone getting into anything in life is this, if you think you should do it, do it. With all your essence and soul, we only have one life to live and make our mark. The sooner you start the sooner all the hard life stuff can be worked out, to get to a place where you are the one doing what you set out to do and are known for what you set out to do. The hardest part of it all is perseverance and continuing when its hard is your test.
What are your future plans for your shop?
The future over the last few years has been changing very fast, we have started to embrace and invest in new equipment and utilize our educational background in Architecture to model new large-scale work through software and then to cnc machines to do more of the labor vs traditional handmade. This year we are completing a new machine shop which will include 4 fiber lasers, 2 manual lathes, 1 manual mill, 1 cnc mill, cnc plasma,  to not be limited with anything I may need or want to make.
 
 
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
Be the best version of yourself always, work smart and most of all listen to that voice that compels you to do things, it may never make sense to those around you, but that voice is telling you something you already know, just listen and then realize those dreams.

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Hector! You've got some really beautiful pieces with your metal stamps. I'm really impressed at the detail.. and when I saw your forklift I immediately understood the Good Grief comment.. LOL



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