Silver Bowl

Today I’m going to show you how I make a silver bowl using just a few simple tools.

It’s basically one hammer, one piece of wood and some silver.

I might use another hammer and maybe a small dome stake towards the end but they really aren’t necessary, it’s only to indulge my love for hammers!

Marking out my disc
Marking out my disc

Using my dividers I mark out my circle on a sheet of silver. In this case I’m using .7mm silver and a 2.5inch disc.

Cutting out the disc
Cutting out the disc

I then cut out the disc with my piercing frame.

Filing the edges
Filing the edges
Smooth edges with emery paper
Smooth edges with emery paper

It is important before hammering that you file the sharp edges after cutting. I use a file and some emery paper. This is so you don’t risk catching your fingers on the sharp edges when moving the piece around the stake.

Marking out circles for hammering
Marking out circles for hammering

I then mark out circles around the disc so I can keep my hammer blows in an even row. These marks are just pencil lines that help me to keep my hammering along the same row and allow the bowl to be shaped uniformly.

Sinking Block
Sinking Block

This block is made out of a piece of 2″ x4″ wood that I’ve cut into 6″ lengths. Then using a dome head hammer you hammer a slight depression into the wood. This depression which is roughly the size of my hammer face will be what I use to form the curve of the bowl. I put the block of wood in the vice so I can begin sinking my bowl.

Sinking the bowl
Sinking the bowl

 

Sinking the bowl
Sinking the bowl

I begin by tilting the disc into the depression and then using firm even hammer blows sink the silver into the dip.  I move the disc clockwise as the hammer remains in the same position. It is important to keep within the lines you have marked and also to keep your hammer blows even. When I have one round of hammering done I anneal and scratch brush the silver. This softens the silver and allows me to work the metal again. I repeat this until I get my desired curve. The bowl below is after three rounds of hammering on the wooden block.

Now I just need to finish and polish the bowl. I’ll put up the next set of pictures next week…

A Hammering Holiday

June has been a busy month and it looks like July will be equally hectic! As well as adding new products to the shop, blogging and keeping up with the orders I’ll be spending a week in Birmingham. I signed up for a course on Anitclastic and Synclastic hammering and raising so I’ll be jetting off to Birmingham on the 17th July for a week.

This five day masterclass is run by the Birmingham Institue of Art and Design and is taught by Cynthia Eid. It is part of the college’s summer course programme. Click here to view to full catalogue of courses.

Synclastic and Anticlastic
Synclastic and Anticlastic

The course that I’m going on looks specifically at anticlastic and synclastic hammering and raising. These sound like very fancy terms but synclastic just describes a form where the dominant curves both move in the same direction like a bowl. Anticlastic forms are when the two dominant axes curve in opposite directions like a saddle.  These techniques can be used to amazing affect in sculptural silver pieces. If you look at a detail of the work of Cara Murphy below you can see the hand raised anticlastic curves. Another artist that uses this type of forming is Benjamin Storch, I wrote a post about his work last year. Click here to read it.

Cara Murphy, Silver, Detail
Cara Murphy, Silver, Detail

These raising and forming techniques can be used in both silversmithing and jewellery. The course will also look at refining hammering skills and will teach how to hammer comfortably for several hours at a time. A very useful skill considering I’ll be hammering for five days!

I’m going to bring my netbook with me so I can keep the website updated with lots of photos and stories from the week.

 

 

Spoon Part 3

This is part three of a series on how to make a spoon.

Click on the links to see Part 1 and Part 2

The bowl of the spoon is nearly finished so I began working on the handle. The handle is going to be curved as this is a baby spoon. In my original sketches I explored the different options for the handle and have decided to curl the handle in a loop.

Forming handle
Forming handle

To get this loop shape I am using my ring mandrel on a vice to curve the handle. I have annealed the spoon so it will be easy to manipulate. Using my mallet I begin by gently curving the handle around the mandrel.

Forming handle
Forming handle

When the metal starts getting stiff I annealed it again so I can begin to planish and finish the entire piece.

Annealing the spoon
Annealing the spoon

Once the spoon has been annealed and cleaned I planish it on the ring mandrel. Planishing is the when you hammer the surface with a highly polished hammer on a stake. This is to refine the surface after raising or sinking.

Planishing the handle
Planishing the handle
Planishing the handle
Planishing the handle

To get the curve on the handle I use my saddle stake. When the entire surface of the spoon has been planished and I am happy with the shape I can begin finishing  the piece. This will involve filing the edges and then buffing and polishing it on the lathe.

Planishing the handle on saddle stake
Planishing the handle on saddle stake