Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Stages of a Hammered Silver Cuff
On a piece of sheet silver, I draw out the design with an ultra fine sharpie. I have some old machinists rulers that I use. Then I lube up my saw blade and get to work. Magnifying lenses are so necessary in this task. The sheet silver is put upon the bench pin and I saw just outside the line drawn. This takes some time. The teeth on the saw blade are so tiny they can't be seen by the naked eye. Well, not mine anyways. :)
After sawing, I take a rough rasp and file down the larger highs and round the corners slightly. I count as I do the corners so they are more uniform. Then I take a finer file and do it all over again. Once more with a diamond file. Then rough sandpaper, then finer and finer grits until the surface is smooth. Looks pretty when done.
Then I move to the bench block and begin hammering the divots. Thousands of them. I always mean to count, but lose track. Hammering does bend the metal and begins to harden it.
When done, I carefully hand bend it a bit to straighten it out. Then I move to my oval bracelet mandrel. It's a heavy hunk of metal. Using my oh-so-cool rawhide mallet, I start to form the shape of the bracelet around the mandrel. At intervals, I make certain the edges are in line. I actually begin at a much smaller size when shaping then, move up to the actual size needed. I've found this is necessary to convince the metal to move.
When done with this, I check the edges for roughness and sand as needed, then steel wool it for a subtle sheen. If a higher shine is desired, a tumble is a good start and then onto rouges. But that's for another post.
Voila! Takes a bit of time, but very satisfying!