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Repousse’ X: Under Tool (Stake) Designs for Repousse’

Posted by bighornforge on February 13, 2015


This is a continuing series, consisting of the writings of French repousse’ master Nahum Hersom.  I have transcribed his words exactly, unless indicated by ((double parenthesis)).

The following pages are from 8-1/2″ x 14″ pages.  However my scanner can only scan 8-1/2″ x 11″, so I have split the pages into two parts, i.e., 1A + 1B, 2a + 2B, etc.

Under Tools (Stakes)

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 1A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 1B

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 2A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 2B

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 3A

Hersom's Written Under Tool Designs 3BHersom's Written Under Tool Designs 4AHersom's Written Under Tool Designs 4B

((The following text is transcribed.))

Under Tools

Stakes:  Made of tool steel ((a.k.a. high carbon steel)) and tempered to a brown with purple spots.  Mils steel tools are ok for one time tools.  Can be tempered with lye solution or Shaklee solution.  ((As the latter methods of tempering can be dangerous to your health, I do not recommend attempting to use chemicals to harden steel.))  Best for forging forming tools, grapes, etc.  Spring tools for power hammers.

Case hardened tools will die mark where tempered tool steel will resist this.  (( Here again, I do not recommend case hardening either, as the chemicals can be very dangerous to your health.  Find a commonly available high carbon steel such as W-1, learn its properties, and then you will not be concerned with alternative hardening methods.  Get on with the business of repousse’.))

When welding tool steel, i.e. ball bearing to mild steel shanks, use stainless steel welding rods.  I heat to dull red and let cool.  Removes welding strains.  Sometimes I cool tools when at black heat in oil, otherwise, do not temper.  Lots of times they crack.

After forging ends of under tools, anneal and shape, file, grind, etc.  When using sanding belts, which  usually are better for shaping tools, start with a medium grit belt, not a very coarse one.  Coarse belts, like coarse grinding wheels, put in deep scratches which take a lot of time to remove.  If you use a file to shape end, again, use a medium tooth file and then a fairly fine one.  Afterwards, use shop roll paper ((fine grit emery cloth)) under file to remove deep scratches.

When using a sand belt, using the directional scratches made by belt, first one way, then across it, helps to define the shape of tools.  Also, watch carefully the shape of the tool, to keep it symmetrical on contoured surfaces that you want.  It is easy to distort the shape, especially on intricate and compound curves.  Sometimes, the true shape is hard to define without a keen eye and this contrast crossing grinding belt lines is a good background to look against for corrections as you work on tools.  Curve of ends of tools to correspond to radius of hammered piece – Tools to fit design, size and shape for more accurate convex or concave work.

By wrapping leather over end of stake, tool marks can be avoided on some work, especially if the piece being worked is turned over, as you work both sides on the same stake.  On some jobs where soft metals are used, wood under-tools eliminate eliminate under-tool marks.

((End of this section))

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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.

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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.))

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Litergical Metalwork for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC

Posted by bighornforge on October 6, 2014


Altar candlestick for St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC.

Altar candlestick for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Fayetteville, NC.

I was commissioned by St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fayetteville, NC to create several candle chandeliers, altar candlesticks, paschal candlestick, sanctuary lamp, and an ambo bookrest, all with a Celtic design.  (Candlestick images by George Lottermoser.)

Two 36" and two 42" altar candlesticks for St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Two 36″ and two 42″ altar candlesticks for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Below is a Santuary Lamp (less the cylindrical glass shade) for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Santuary Lamp

Below is the Ambo Bookholder.

Ambo Bookrest for St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Ambo Bookrest for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

…Dan Nauman

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Recent Metal Sculpture by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on October 6, 2014


Nude with Towel

Dan Nauman, owner and president of Bighorn Forge, Inc., recently participated in the “Fine Furnishings Show” at the “Harley-Davidson Museum” in Milwuakee, WI.  Above is a recent sculpture, entitled, “Nude with Towel”. 6″ x 14-1/2″ x 24″.  Mild steel.

 

Below are two more, “Sculpture #15“, and “Sculpture #16” respectively.

Sculpture 15

 “Sculpture #15”.  7″  x 8-1/2″ x 10″.  mild steel.

Cheers,

…Dan Nauman

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“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

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Forged Furniture by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on February 27, 2014


Foyer Table.  Mild steel.  Natural finish.  Private residence. Mequon, WI.

Foyer Table. Mild steel. Natural finish. Private residence. Mequon, WI.

Selected forged furniture, forged tables, and forged baker’s rack designed and created by Dan Nauman.

Plant Stand.  Mild steel.  Gilders Paste (TM) finish.  Artist's collection.

Plant Stand. Mild steel. Gilders Paste (TM) finish. Artist’s collection.

Coffee Table.  Mild steel.  Gilders Paste (TM) finish.  Artist's collection.

Coffee Table. Mild steel. Gilders Paste (TM) finish. Artist’s collection.

Baker's Rack.  Mild steel and glass.  Natural finish.  Private residence.  Delevan, WI.

Baker’s Rack. Mild steel and glass. Natural finish. Private residence. Delevan, WI.

Baker's Rack detail.

Baker’s Rack detail.

Coffee table.  Mild steel.  Natural finish.  Private residence, Waukesha, WI.

Coffee table. Mild steel. Natural finish. Private residence, Waukesha, WI.

Coffee Table.  Mild steel and glass. Natural finish.  Private residence.

Coffee Table. Mild steel and glass. Natural finish. Private residence.

Coffee Table.  Mild steel and marble.  Natural finish.  Eagle, WI.

Coffee Table. Mild steel and marble. Natural finish. Private residence, Eagle, WI.

Console.  Mild steel and marble.  Private residence, Eagle, WI.

Console. Mild steel and marble. Private residence, Eagle, WI.

Side Table.  Mild steel and tile.  Natural finish.  Shorewood, WI.

Side Table. Mild steel and tile. Natural finish. Shorewood, WI.

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Forged Sign Brackets by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on February 27, 2014


Sign Bracket.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  "Sam Meyer Agency", Fond du Lac, WI.

Sign Bracket. Mild steel. Painted finish. “Sam Meyer Agency”, Fond du Lac, WI.

 

Selected forged sign brackets designed and created by Dan Nauman.

 

Sign Bracket.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  "Blacksmith Inn B+B", Baileys Harbor, WI.

Sign Bracket. Mild steel. Painted finish. “Blacksmith Inn B+B”, Baileys Harbor, WI.

 

Street Sign.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Glendale, WI.

Street Sign. Mild steel. Painted finish. Glendale, WI.

 

Subdivision Sign.  Mild steel.  Plastic coating.  "Toldt Woods", Wauwatosa, WI.

Subdivision Sign. Mild steel. Plastic coating. “Toldt Woods”, Wauwatosa, WI.

 

Deleivery Sign.  Mild steel.  Before finish was applied.  Made for a private estate in Sister Bay, WI.

Deleivery Sign. Mild steel. Before finish was applied. Made for a private estate in Sister Bay, WI.

 

Delivery sign detail.

Delivery sign detail.

 

Methodist Church Sign.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  "First United Methodist Church", Campbellsport, WI.

Methodist Church Sign. Mild steel. Painted finish. “First United Methodist Church”, Campbellsport, WI.

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Forged Gates and Archways by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on February 27, 2014


Driveway Gate.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Port Washington, WI.

Driveway Gate. Mild steel. Painted finish. Port Washington, WI.

Selected forged gates and archways designed and created by Dan Nauman.  The above gate won a silver medal from the “National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association” (NOMMA) in 2007.  Below is a detail image.

Gate detail

Entrance Gate.  Mild steel.  Powder coat finish.  "Lynden Sculpture Garden", Milwaukee, WI.

Entrance Gate. Mild steel. Powder coat finish. “Lynden Sculpture Garden”, Milwaukee, WI.

The above driveway gate at “Lynden Sculpture Garden” in Milwuakee, won a bronze medal from NOMMA in 2013.  Below are detail images.

Lynd Ent Gate W to E Hori GL

This gate spans 26 feet, and is 14 feet tall.

Lynden Entrance Gate Mast GL

Spider Web Gate.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Private residence, Cedarburg, WI.

Spider Web Gate. Mild steel. Painted finish. Private residence, Cedarburg, WI.

The above “Spider Web Gate” was inspired as these master gardeners were also armchair entomologists.  As you review this image, you will see insect parts, i.e. abdomens, legs, and a spider’s web.

Poolside Gate.  Mild steel.  Painted finsish. Private residence, Mequon, WI.

Poolside Gate. Mild steel. Painted finsish. Private residence, Mequon, WI.

Detail of "Poolside Gate."

Detail of “Poolside Gate.”

Exit Gate.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  "Lynden Sculpture Garden", Milwaukee, WI.

Exit Gate. Mild steel. Painted finish. “Lynden Sculpture Garden”, Milwaukee, WI.

Orchard Gate. Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Private residence, Port Washington, WI.

Orchard Gate. Mild steel. Painted finish. Private residence, Port Washington, WI.

Garden Gate.  Mild steel.  Private residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Garden Gate. Mild steel. Private residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Garden Gate latch detail.  Sister Bay, WI.

Garden Gate latch detail. Sister Bay, WI.

Garden Gate.  Mild steel.  Natural finish.  Artist's collection.

Garden Gate. Mild steel. Natural finish. Artist’s collection.

Archway.  Mild steel.  Powder coat finish.  "Carroll College" (now "Carroll University"), Waukesha, WI.

Archway. Mild steel. Powder coat finish. “Carroll College” (now “Carroll University”), Waukesha, WI.

Archway.  Mild steel. Painted finish. "Executive Residence.", Madison, WI.

Archway. Mild steel. Painted finish. “Executive Residence.”, Madison, WI.

Archway detail.  "Executive Residence", Madison, WI.

Archway detail. “Executive Residence”, Madison, WI.

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Forged Railings by Dan Nauman

Posted by bighornforge on February 27, 2014


Bronze Railing.  "Lynden Sculpture Garden", Milwaukee, WI

Patio Railing. Silicon bronze.  Natural patina. “Lynden Sculpture Garden”, Milwaukee, WI

Selected forged railings designed and created by Dan Nauman.  The above railing won a gold medal from the “National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association” (NOMMA) in 2013.  The image below shows the verdigris patina that is evolviing after a few years.

L1190460

Grape Vine railing.  Mild steel, with Gilders Paste (TM) finish.

Grape Vine railing. Mild steel. Gilders Paste (TM) finish.  Private residence, Waukeshs, WI.

Detail of grape vine.

Detail of grape vine.

Prairie Railing for log home.

Balcony Railing.  Mild steel, natural and Gilders Paste (TM) finish.  Private residence, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Detail of Prairie Railing.

Detail of Balcony Railing.

Detail of Prairie Railing.

Detail of Balcony Railing.

Railing. Mild steel and stained glass.  Painted finish.  Private Residence, Milwaukee, WI.

Railing. Mild steel and stained glass. Painted finish. Private Residence, Milwaukee, WI.

Railing.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Estate of former WI Gov. Patrick Lucey.

Railing. Mild steel. Painted finish. Estate of former WI Gov. Patrick Lucey, River Hills, WI.

Porch Railing.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Private residence, Egg Harbor, WI.

Porch Railing. Mild steel. Painted finish. Private residence, Egg Harbor, WI.

Balcony Railing.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Private Residence, River Hills, WI.

Balcony Railing. Mild steel. Painted finish. Private Residence, River Hills, WI.

Balcony Railing.  Mild steel.  Painted finish.  Private residence, River Hills, WI.

Balcony Railing. Mild steel. Painted finish. Private residence, River Hills, WI.

A simple railing on limestone steps.  Mild steel.  Private Residence, Egg Harbor, WI.

A simple railing on limestone steps. Mild steel. Private Residence, Egg Harbor, WI.

Two Railing Panels.  Mild steel, powder coat finish.  Private Residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Two Railing Panels. Mild steel, powder coat finish. Private Residence, Sister Bay, WI.

The above railing panels were exterior railings for a patio overlooking Green Bay, on Lake Michigan.  Unfortunately, the client would not allow me to take photographs on location, so these are studio shots.  The sections below were for the same mansion, but a different patio.

On both railings, the panels shown had simple two-foot panels between to divide them, and also to give the eye a break from the flowing lines.

Two railing Panels.  There was one more ornate panel along with these two.  Mild steel.  Powder coat finish.  Private residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Two railing Panels. There was one more ornate panel along with these two. Mild steel. Powder coat finish. Private residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Indoor Pool Stair Rail.  Stainless steel.  Natural finish.  Private Residence, Sister Bay, WI.

Indoor Pool Stair Rail. Stainless steel. Natural finish. Private Residence, Sister Bay, WI.

The above indoor pool stair rail was from the same mansion as the railing panels above it.  I was not allowed to photograph this in place either, so this is a studio shot.  The stainless steel was acid etched to give teh finish a look of pewter.  Below is a detail shot.

Railing Sister Bay Pool Det 

Another simple railng.  Private residence,

Another simple railng. Mild steel. Natural finish. Private residence, Richfield, WI.

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