Bighorn Forge's Weblog

"Credit goes to the man who is actually in the arena"…T. Roosevelt

  • Archives

Archive for the ‘Repousse’’ Category

“Console Table 2015” by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on July 31, 2015


Console Table 2015 C

Console Table 2015


The debut of “Console Table 2015” was last evening, at an event entitled, “Artist Bike Night” at the “Iron Horse Hotel” in Milwaukee, WI.  I was invited to exhibit there along with three other artists.  I must have seen over three hundred bikes…mainly Harley-Davidsons.  It was an enjoyable, and LOUD, evening.

This piece, 16 x 18 x 25-1/2 in, was inspired by the large acanthus leaf on the upper portion of the “S” scroll.  I had been wanting to make that leaf for several years.  So I finally made it last month, while visiting my friend Tom Latane’, a fine fellow and blacksmith in Pepin, WI.  Tom and I had been working on twin projects, two tin kitchens, on and off for the last couple years together.

Unfinished Tin Kitchen (a.k.a. "reflector oven")

Unfinished Tin Kitchen (a.k.a. “reflector oven”)

 

Well I finally finished mine, and thus I had a day or so to “play” in Tom’s shop before returning home, so I began to work on the leaf.

Console Table 2015 B

Upon finishing it, I thought it was too nice a piece to not have a home or function, so I designed the console table around the acanthus leaf.  Yes, this is backwards, as the leaf is usually the salt and pepper, not the main course.  However, that is how this piece evolved.  I initially designed this project to be a shelf bracket.  I worked a little on it one day, set it aside in the shop to work on a project that pays the bills.  I would glance at it every so often, and think, “What does this piece want added to it?”  So it evolved slowly to what you see here in these images.

This is definitely not how one should execute a project, however since this was a piece for me, and to be used as a display piece, I bent the rules a bit.  That said, I did have a full scale lay-out of the primary shape on the lay-out table.  Every so often, I would take a piece of soapstone and draw in another element.  The lay-out kept me honest, and the project sound.

One aspect of this project that I enjoyed was using copper for the repousse’ elements.  I typically use 18 gauge steel, but in this case I used 16 gauge copper.  It forms very easy compared to steel, as one might expect.  However, it also shows every hammer blow…on target or not.  That said, the errant blows are more easily erased in copper than those in steel.

Console Table 2105  A

 

 

The finish is primarily bee’s wax, however the table pan was finished with black “Gilders Paste”.  I plan on topping the pan with 3/4″ marble or granite.

By the way, if you ever wish to have a truly fine dining experience, I highly recommend “Smyth”, the restaurant located inside the “Iron Horse Hotel”.  I have dined there on several occasions, and every time the cuisine has been exceptional.  We ordered two hors-d’oeuvres; one was spiced goat cheese, and the other was  seasoned scallops on a bed of fresh corn.  The hotel and restaurant are a stone’s throw from Milwaukee’s “Harley Davidson Museum”.

…Dan Nauman

“Nobody goes there anymore…it’s too crowed”. – Yogi Berra, when asked about a local restaurant.

Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Repousse' | 2 Comments »

Restored Twin Gates Receive Gold Medal

Posted by bighornforge on April 7, 2015


Edgar Brandt Gate, restored in 2014 by Dan Nauman, and Finelli Ironworks.

Edgar Brandt Gate, restored in 2014 by Dan Nauman, and Finelli Ironworks.

NOMMA 2015 Top Job Award

Jim Korosec of “Finelli Ironworks”, contacted me a few years ago to help his company restore two sets of identical gates in Cleveland, Ohio.  That was the beginning of a long, interesting, and sometimes trying journey.

I am pleased to announce that through a combined effort with “Finnelli Ironworks” of Solon, Ohio, a gold medal was awarded for both our efforts last month by the “National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Assoc.” (NOMMA), at their annual “Top Job” competition. As only one company can enter for a given project, only “Finelli Ironworks” was recognized, however “Bighorn Forge. Inc.” will receive a duplicate gold medal along with a certificate.

Gate detail- rosette

Gate detail- rosette

We reproduced all of the rosettes, husks, and acanthus leaves for these gates, primarily using the French repousse’ method of metal forming.  The original pieces were machine stamped.

I was assisted in part by Jeremiah Backhaus, who helped make the 100 compound rosettes (50 compound rosettes per gate, 200 total pieces.)  Some are near the top of the gate, all in a row, and some are at about waist height, all in a row (see image below.)

Gate detail- compound rosettes, 100 total

Gate detail- compound rosettes, 100 total

Gate detail-square compound rosettes, 64 total

Gate detail-square compound rosettes, 64 total

This effort took well over 1100 hours, and resulted in two carpal tunnel surgeries for me.  To give you an idea as to how much time is invested in each piece, each compound square rosette above has about 5-1/2 hours invested x 64 sets.  That equates to 352 hours, just for this series of pieces.

Gate detail- top

Gate detail- top

These gates were originally made by master blacksmith Edgar Brandt (1880-1960) of France, who made and shipped them for the estate of “Harvey Firestone, Jr.” in Cleveland, Ohio. (Original photo below.)

Image of Edgar Brandt gate, taken shortly after original installation

Image of Edgar Brandt gate, taken shortly after original installation

Harvey_Firestone

Harvey Firestone, Jr.

In order to reproduce these many forms, there was extensive research into the original pattern development, which was difficult as many original pieces were so rusted away, that only fragments remained, as the images below demonstrates.

Pattern development, based on remnants

Pattern development, based on remnants

Recreated acanthus leaf pattern, approx. 16" x 49"

Recreated acanthus leaf pattern, approx. 16″ x 49″

The image above of the very large acanthus leaf pattern shows some of the remnants used to approximate the original pattern.  Note that the original “parrot’s beak” at the end (scroll-like termination) is missing entirely.  Five pattern changes on the parrot’s beak, along with three test pieces, were made before settling on one that proved to work well.

Below are some images of some of the many reproductions.

Husks- 16 total pcs. Note pattern in the foreground.

Husks- 16 total pcs. Note pattern in the foreground.

Compound rosettes, eight total sets.

Compound rosettes, eight total sets.

Various reproduced forms

Various reproduced forms

Some rosette sets for one gate.

Rosette sets for one of four gate leaves. (Above)

Rosette #2 Repro and Original

Original machine stamped piece on right, hand formed reproduction on left.

I would like to thank Finelli Ironworks, and specifically Jim Korosec, for getting me involved in this project.  By the way, Jim found me via this blog site.  The owner of the gates was ready to fly to France to find someone who could reproduce these pieces by hand.  However, just prior to him leaving, Jim found me through this blog-site, and e-mailed me about this project.  I responded, not expecting a reply from Jim, as I receive many such inquiries regarding parts made by French repousse’.  Typically, when folks realize the time it takes…consequently the monetary investment…they back off in a hurry.

However, Jim ended up calling me, and said the owner was going to fly to my shop the next day to meet with me.  Since I was driving out to Maine to teach repousse’ in just two weeks, I said that I would stop by (in Cleveland, Ohio) on my way back, so there was no need for the owner to fly to my studio. And so, I met with Jim and the owner in Cleveland in August of 2012. Obviously, they trusted that I could do the job.

Below are the very last parts I made for this project, which are ribbon bows made of 20 gauge sheet metal.  There is roughly seven hours in each bow, of which there are four small and two large versions. These proved to be some of the more challenging of the forms.  However it is challenges such as this that keep me returning to the studio.

Bows three

Three of the four small ribbon bows, approx. 20″ x 20″.

Original bow to the left, repro on right.

Original bow to the left, repro on right.

There is always a bittersweet end to such a journey.  I’ll admit, there were many times I was bouncing off the walls because of some of the repetitious aspects of this project. For example, when I was working on the square rosettes, of which there were 64, (and it takes about 5-1/2 hours per rosette)…when I got to rosette number 15, I was already seemingly headed for the loonie bin, wondering if I’d keep my sanity with so many like parts with so much detail.  The carpal tunnel symptoms didn’t help, either.

However, what kept me going was that I mentally prepared myself beforehand, knowing that I’d hit the proverbial wall at some point, and so I expected this monotony to happen…several times.  I also kept thinking that when the project was completed, I could stand in front of those gates, and have a fine feeling of accomplishment.

I also thank the owner of these gates for trusting in my abilities.  (I keep his name anonymous in respect of his privacy.)

And so it has ended, with that very satisfaction as my main reward.  I also learned a great deal during this process.  Lastly, I wish to thank the Lord my God for giving me the where-with-all to accomplish the task.

…Dan Nauman, April, 2015

“Leadership is the ability to transform vision into reality.”– Warren G. Bennis

Posted in Decorative ironwork, Repousse' | 3 Comments »

Repousse’ XI: Wood Forming and Misc. Tools for Repousse’

Posted by bighornforge on February 13, 2015


This is s continuing series, consisting of the writings of French repousse’ master Nahum Hersom.

I have transcribed exactly as Nahum had written, unless indicated by ((double parenthesis)).

I photocopied his 8-1/2″ x 14″ workbook at a Kinko’s in Boise, Idaho in 1994.  Unfortunately, some of the information is missing, as the copy “runs off the page”.  As my scannercan only scan 8-1/2″ x 11″ pages, I have split the pages into two parts, i.e., 1A + 1B, 2A + 2B, etc.

There is no typed verbiage to accompany the following copied images.

Wood Forming  and Misc.Tools for Repousse’

Hersom's Written Wood Forming Tools 1A

Hersom's Written Wood Forming Tools 1B

Hersom's Written Wood Forming Tools 2A

Hersom's Written Wood Forming Tools 2B

Hersom's Written Wood Forming Tools 3

Miscellaneous Repousse’ Tools 

Hersom's Written Misc Forming Tools 1

((My two cents worth on making wood tools:  I have found that laminating wood together, by gluing several smaller pieces together, helps to prevent cracking, as opposing grains keep the neighboring piece(s) from readily cracking.  I also drill a hole through the wood, then glue and insert a wood dowel  of the same diameter as the hole.  Sometimes I’ll add two or three dowels at different levels. This also helps to keep the wood tool from cracking.  DN))

((End of this Section))

Posted in Repousse' | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Repousse’ IX: Repousse’ Hammers, Repousse’ Hammer Patterns, and How to Make Them.

Posted by bighornforge on February 12, 2015


This is a continuation of the writings of French repousse’ master Nahum Hersom.  All text that I have transcribed is as how he wrote it.  (( My edits are in double parenthesis.))

In this section on hammers, much of what Nahum wrote was by hand, accompanied by sketches.  I chose to scan and publish these pages, rather than try to re-write, as seeing exactly how he presented these teachings might just endear you to him somewhat…as a grandpa might endear his grandchildren.  The last section is transcribed, as you will see.

Since Nahum wrote these out on 11-1/2 x 17″ paper, I have split these pages in two, as my scanner only handles 8-1/2 x 11″ sheets; i.e. 1A and 1B, 2A and 2B, and so on.

If you wish to see a larger image, simply click on the image.  You may also download the image and print it out for better reading.

Scanned Pages of Nahum Hersom’s

Repousse’ Hammers,  Hammer Patterns and How to Make Them

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 1A

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 1B Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 2A

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 2B

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 3A

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 3B

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 4BHersom's Written Hammer Designs 4AHersom's Written Hammer Designs 5B

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 5A

((These next two pages might be a bit redundant, but they also contain more info.))

Hersom's Hammer Designs 1

Hersom's Hammer Designs 2

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 6A

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 6B

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 7A

Hersom's Written Hammer Designs 7B

((The following is transcribed))

Hammers

Handles made too small will force squeezing or gripping which will tire the hand and stress finger tendons in palm.  Hammer handles should fit comfortably and loosely in hand.  Then size the eye in the head proportionate to the head, weight, and size of the handle used.  Temper hot, forging hammers a medium blue.

Draw Repousse hammers and under tools to a brown color ((bronze?)) with purple spots.

Use carpenters glue to hold heads plus wood and iron wedges.  Use 1/8″ soft aluminum plate to check head marks or as we say “track marks.”  To make heads same shape but different weights, have same contour marks.  You can also press the head into plasticine clay.

Use radius gauge to check head shapes.  Again, different sizes, different weights, but same head shape.

I make my hammer head eye splitters of roller bearing races.

Curve of head to correspond to wrist, elbow, or shoulder hammers.  Make templates to check curve of heads.  Faces of hammers heads to be flat and square to work.  Flat face hammers or curved face hammers have different uses.  Flat face on convex areas and curved on concave areas.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter so much the shape of the hammer one uses to make a small change or bend, but what you can do with the hammer you have in your hand.

Mallets

Wood, wood and silver for silver work.  Rawhide, Micartes (Phenolic resin) filled linen (finer texture than cotton cloth and harder).  Extra High Density Plastic or other plastics.  Fiber board.

Snarling Irons

I use auto spring leaves (torch cut to a taper) about 2″ to 22″ long depending upon depth of work (thickness from 1/4 – 3/8″ and 3/4 – 1-1/4″ wide in main arms.)  My best one is 1-1/4″ wide at the base and 3/4 at the tip with a 7/16″ nut welded on the end.  Use auto head bolts, as they don’t break off at lock nut (to secure bolt) weld balls or other shapes larger than bolt heads on to bolt with stainless rod.  Temper end if needed;however, if tool steel is used, it often doesn’t need tempering.

Posted in Repousse' | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Repousse’ VIII: Filing, polishing, grinding and finishes.

Posted by bighornforge on February 12, 2015


This is a continuation of the writings of French repousse’ master, Nahum Hersom. (My corrections or additions are in double parenthesis…otherwise all are as written by Nahum.)

Filing and Tools

Best files for leaf work are 1/2 round 4″. Make second cut with point end not over 1/8″ wider.  Use filing boards held in Vise jaws to hold leaf work against various sizes and shapes.  When filing, only push file, do not scrub.  Also rotate file back and front when doing round corners.  In small corners, use a long taper round file 4″ long.  (Explain((ation of )) how to make file handles.)  File handle and cutter blade with clearance.  Cut straight part of handle to caliper size.  Put 1/2 – 3/4 EMT Bands on to keep handle from splitting.  Cutter blade 3/32 or 1/8 thick HC steel can be hand power hack saw blade or circular saw blade ground to shape.  Turn on metal lathe.

Polish, grinding, tumbling

Hammer heads, under tools.  After forging and annealing grind face with sand belt machine.  Use 120 grit or well worn 80 grit.  Do not use too course to begin with as it will put deep scratches which will be hard to remove.  I use finer grit belts or other mounted wheels as necessary.

Other Finishes

Burnishing wheel with hard steel tool.  Steel wool or kitchen Brillo Pads or Chore girl nylon pads.  Acid cleaning, chemicals, Wire brush, Cotton Buffs w/compound.  Cratex wheels.  Resin bonded thin wheels.  Cone lock wheel C 2″ wide paper.

When using torch cut steel, be sure to grind off all torch cut marks before tempering or even forging, as torch cut lines may start cracks in tool.

To make your own sand belts, use metal shop roll and carpenters glue.

Tumbling leaves in a tumbler with medium sand will often be necessary when paint is to be applied.  however, for work that is to be natural, as heat coloring, tumbling with punch slugs from an iron worker or wire brushing will give a smoother surface.

((End of this section.))

Posted in Repousse' | 1 Comment »

“Work Book of Patterns” (For Repousse’)

Posted by bighornforge on April 18, 2014


Acanthus Leaf Pattern #1

In continuing with my tribute to the late repousse’ artisan Nahum Hersom, I am including some of his repousse’ patterns in this blog.  I do this as Nahum, as well as his mentors Steven Molnar and Valentin Goelz, wanted this process to be carried on.  Here is Nahum’s dedication statement (I will both type this, as well as provide a photo of his actual hand-written statement):

“In fond memory and much appreciation I dedicate this book to these two men who dedicated their lives to this great art of repousse.  Mr. Steven Molnar   Mr. Valentin Goelz.  Both were European Craftsmen of the highest caliber, and the most patient of teachers.  Their motto “If we don’t teach the young craftsmen who will carry on.”  Sincerely,  Nahum Hersom.”

Hersom's Dedication Statement

This dedication was contained in a loose-leaf “book” that I bought from Nahum for fifty bucks back in 1994 when I was under his tutelage.  I believe that Nahum, as well as Mister’s Molnar and Goelz, would wish these patterns, and Nahum’s instruction, saved for posterity…and for all those young craftsmen Nahum spoke of in his dedication.  As I have stated before, I wish to continue in their tradition of sharing and teaching the processes of French repousse’ through this blog.

Please note:  This loose-leaf book was printed at a Kinko’s in Boise, Idaho in 1993 on 8-1/2″ x 17″ paper.  Since my scanner cannot copy anything over 8-1/2 x 11″, some of the patterns may be cut-off.  I will try to provide as many complete copies of those patterns that were cut-off as possible.

This next entry is on the backside of the dedication page, and reads:

“To the Craftsmen”

This “Work Book of Patterns” is a compiling “as not yet complete” of patterns which I have in my shop.  Some of these patterns are approx. 80 years old, others not that old, and a few as new as a month ago. However the design behind these patterns is hundreds of years old going back to Jean Tijou 1690-1710 a French Ironworker, repousse seems to have been developed in France, where it spread throughout Europe.  These patterns are representative of architectural styles and periods of history, and those Craftsmen I have known.  The style of the tools herein lend themselves to making, fine jewelry, to the largest of architectural embellishments or ornaments.  After all all metal work started with the hammer and anvil or stake.  Perhaps ornamental decoration is now in a revival, beauty in iron is a work of art, I for one hope it grows and lasts for a long, long, time.  “Nahum Hersom””   (Circa 1993).

Hersom's To the Craftsmen Statement

I will finish this post with a few more patterns.

…Dan Nauman

Hersom Patterns #3

Hersom Patterns #2

Posted in Decorative ironwork, Forging Processes, Repousse' | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

More Forms For Cleveland Driveway Gate Restoration

Posted by bighornforge on February 8, 2013


Rosette #2 unpainted

The form above, 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 5″, was made of 18 gauge mild steel.  There are 64 of these to be made for the continuing two driveway gate restorations in Cleveland, Ohio.  Below, you will see the machine stamped fragment (on the right), and this piece on the left, both painted black for better comparison.

Rosette #2 Repro and Original

There is about 4-1/2 hours needed to complete this form, including the small husk in the center of the rosette.  Below is another, more simple rosette.  Though a  composite of three pieces, since the features are less demanding, the total time it takes to make the entire composite (below) is about 45 minutes.

Rosette #1 Repro and Original

Again, the machine stamped original is on the right, the hand-made version is on the left.  There are 50 sets of these per gate.  I had two helpers on the latter rosettes…Mackenzie Martin, an intern we had here last spring, and also Jeremiah Backhaus, an apprentice currently working here at the studio.  Mackenzie made the bottom piece, Jeremiah the second in the stack, and I made the ball husks. Again…all are of 18 gauge mild steel.

Below is a shot of a bunch ready to be shipped to Cleveland.

Rosettes #1 and #2

Since I have been working on this project for almost a year now, and am about at the midpoint, I have changed and adapted the studio to better suit me for this task, i.e. a dedicated repousse’ station, complete with three vises, two stakes, and a dedicated tool stand, with an integral high intensity lamp.  Perhaps I will photograph this station to show in a later post.

…Dan Nauman

“A peacock that rests on his feathers is just another turkey”…Dolly Parton.

Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Repousse' | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Recent Repousse’ Forms for Cleveland Driveway Gate

Posted by bighornforge on November 30, 2012


Leaf #12

Here are a few more additions to the driveway gate restoration in Cleveland, Ohio.  The above leaf (or husk), is 3″ x 12″ x 2-1/2″, of 18 gauge mild steel.  There are two, and they are mounted high on the gate piers.

Leaf #12 two

The image above shows the two husks together.  The husk on the left was the first piece made.  The first piece made of any form offers a learning curve, and this one was no different.  As the gates original ornament was machine stamped, I must reproduce them the best I can by hand.  The most difficult aspect is getting the volume that the machine stamped piece achieves. Thus, I sometimes need to alter the look of the piece to accommodate the hand-made aspects, getting as close to the original form as possible to achieve the basic feel of the leaf or husk.

Since a machine can apply pressure and shape much of the piece often in one step, some veins made by hand cannot be achieved without much difficulty, and sometimes it is not practical at all to attempt an exact replica.  However, in this case, I learned on the first piece…after folding it into the final husk form… that I could likely reproduce the machine stamping in all aspects.

If you look closely at the two reproductions above, you will notice how some of the veins do not relate to each other as they terminate. Below, you will see the original husk, and the second reproduction, and how the second piece relates almost exactly to the original.

Leaf #12 original stampingLeaf #12

This aspect of reproduction is challenging, though rewarding when one learns from the process of recreating.  It expands the knowledge base, and adds confidence.  Below is a bird’s-eye view of this form.

Leaf #12 Birds Eye

To achieve this form, all the veins and shoulders were drawn in when the piece was in a semi-finished primary shape.  Then, the main center veins were applied, but stopped short of the center, so they wouldn’t be destroyed when folding into the final husk shape.  After the final shape had been established and planished, then the center veins were connected and finished…unlike the first piece.

Since these pieces are elevated roughly 14 feet from grade, these two pieces appear identical by the audience.

Leaf Composite #3

Shown above are four rosettes, 8″ in diameter, and full of volume.  These will be mounted back to back, i.e. counterclockwise/clockwise,  on opposing faces of the gate.  There are four of these pieces per gate.  Here again, several pieces were made before the process was established to provide the best representation of the original machine stamped form, as seen below.

Leaf Composite #3 original stamping

In this case, it was apparent that the exact shape could not be achieved by hand.  The form was revised to achieve the primary visual aspects of the original, as applied by hand using the hand rendered repousse’ process.

The next phase of this restoration will be to reproduce the remaining rosettes, and there are a lot of them.  There are 50 more composite rosettes per gate, of which there are three elements each, comprising 150 pieces total.  There are also an additional 32 composite rosettes, of which there are two elements each, or 64 pieces total.

Finally there are two fine ribbon forms, of which I am saving for last, as there will be quite the learning curve on these forms.

I will keep you updated, as this project continues.

…Dan Nauman

“Temper is the one thing you can’t get rid of by losing it.”….Jack Nicholson

Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Repousse' | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Prototype Leaf for an Edgar Brandt Gate Restoration

Posted by bighornforge on August 10, 2012


This is a prototype for a restoration project in Cleveland, Ohio. The original pieces were stamped. This piece was formed by hand using the French repousse’ process. It is made of 18 gauge, and is 16″w x 11-1/2″ h. Four pieces of this form are needed. 510 various pieces, all made by hand using the same process, are needed for the entire restoration.

There are two sets of identical gates, made by French master smith, Edgar Brandt.

…Dan Nauman

Posted in Bighorn Forge/Nauman Ironwork, Decorative ironwork, Repousse' | Leave a Comment »

Repousse’ VII: Leaf Process

Posted by bighornforge on June 26, 2012


This is a continuation of the writings of Nahum “Grandpa” Hersom. I am editing where I see fit. My changes/additions will be in parrethesis with “d.n.” This installment, as in some others, seems to be fragmented. I believe these writings were a “work in progress” for Grandpa, and thus some thoughts and processes seem incomplete. That said, I am not eliminating, or re-organizing any of his writings…simply writing verbatim, and only adding words for clarification where I see fit.

(Note from Dan Nauman…the above image shows some of Grandpa’s tools. The image at the top are just some of his hammers. To the left are stakes and punches. To the right is the mechanical veiner. At the end if this installment I will have an image drawn by Nahum showing specifics.)

Since this process of repousse’ is not readily practiced today, since there are few who do practice, and since there is very little written on the subject, these writings are an important link to those men who did so regularly. This is an attempt to preserve these processes, and to pass them on to aspiring artisans.

Leaf Process

On all work the first step to the forming process is to put in the primary shape. This shape may, as acanthus leaves, fit over a scroll or other piece of metal work, or in other cases, be a decorative piece as grape leaves, wall sconces, etc.

This primary shape can follow the lines or shape of a drafted drawing, or fit to a previously shaped form, like scrolls. As you put in the primary shape, folds will form in some areas. Keep these hammered down. If a fold happens, it cannot be removed and may cause a large crack to form in the work. In work on heavier metals, spot annealing (normalizing d.n.) and or working while hot may help. Make corrections as difficult spots appear, not later.

When hammering leaves etc., always prepare metal for next step that follows. Remember, the steps to form a leaf go from “1 to 10″, and if you miss any in-between step, you’ll have a high loss of time making corrections, or a piece could be (end up as d.n.) junk. Hammer leaves from center out to edges. Configuration or definition lines can be put into leaves either by the use of a (mechanical d.n.) veiner or by free style hammering over an under tool of appropriate shape.

On some work, armor or medallion faces, after a primary shape is formed or raised, lead or pitch is poured into the work for the next forming steps. When working alone, sometimes the workpiece is so large, the above has to be done using punches, as one cannot hold the work steady over stakes for forming.

Sometimes, when copying leaves from a picture, you might get the center section between segments too wide to form easily over scrolls made of, say, 1/2” material: by either taking a long V out of the center of the leaf, or by redrawing segments closer to the centerline to narrow the section, it will be easier to form the primary shape into the leaf as well as get the reverse ball end that is part of the acanthus leaves.

Half Leaves Half leaves that are attached onto only one side of a scroll.

A “half leaf” – two can be made opposites, and can be attached to each side of a scroll-can be laid out with its outer rim of a larger circle than the scroll. When attached to the scroll, it will assume a cone shape. This shape need not be very deep, but will facilitate the hammering of the segments if they are to be rounded out from the scroll instead of lying flat against it. In either case, a template or templates are made of cardboard, masonite, or tin, to conform to the shapes desired, since any work is shaped to complex and multiple contours. Many templates may be needed for different areas.

Further hammering to put in lines or configurations on leaf segments, which can distort the primary shape, sometimes make the primary shape deeper, wider, or even narrower than the finished leaf, thus it may be necessary to have two sets of templates to work to: one for primary shapes, and one for finished leaves.

As hammering progresses, constantly check the overall shape with templates. It is easier to make corrections as one goes than at the final stages of completion. This is especially important when doing husks or other folded, overlapped, or closed shapes. Getting the original tools into these shapes to make corrections is generally impossible.

Templates are necessary when forming multiple same size and shape leaves. When doing more than one leaf, apply one step to all the leaves, then the next step. Otherwise, the Smith has a constant and time consuming labor changing under tools and hammers which collect (and hide) around the vise or bench in a tangled mess and must be constantly hunted for.

Places on leaves as gores, V areas, and certain raised areas can be used to reshape a leaf back to its intended shape. Practice hammering using vein or table stake or liner stake to raise adjacent areas-both sides of vein.

Raisig on table stake, not using veins as guides, on a rounded edge forming table stake.

Use of lead block for contour forming and to make corrections.

Be sure your overhead lights will show contours and irregularities while you hammer, so corrections can be made as you work that area.

To raise hollow spheres-faces-bowls-thinner metal can be used. The process is called “Dutch raising over a stake.” Cut metal sheet, diameter of finished bowl plus depth of finished bowl. Same method used to raise helmets for knights, vases,cups, and silver work.

Leaves: Installation:

Place quality work at eye level, poor (work d.n.) above or below eye level. People only see about 25% of what they look at.

(Note from Dan Nauman…The above images were drawn by Nahum himself, and show his mechanical veiner, as well as a spring loaded version.)

(End of this installment.)

…Dan Nauman

Posted in Repousse' | Tagged: | 2 Comments »