Archive for June, 2009
Forming metal is an essential part of jewellery making, and as a process the level of skill involved is often overlooked. Forming refers to any process that maneuvers metal into the desired shape or design. Unlike many other skills in jewellery making forming is more a combination of a range of techniques that change an objects shape, rather than one particular process.
Under the heading of forming are processes such as bending, chasing, repousse, sinking, hammering, using stamps/dies and forging. These processes will affect the pieces shape, thickness and often the texture of the metal being worked on.
The range of forming tools available is as wide and varied as the different processes contained within the skill. The key forming tools available are:
The simple mallet allows the craftsman to apply direct force without stretching or damaging the metal. The head of the mallet is softer that the metal so not to mark the surface.
Hammers can complete a variety of jobs from stretching the metal, polish/smoothing or adding texture. Jobbing hammers are ideal for general use and metal forming. The planishing hammer is used for smoothing, shaping and polishing metal. Riveting hammers are designed with a small head for detailed rivet work. Raising, bossing and chasing hammers are used in the different stages of forming.
Doming Blocks & Punches
Doming blocks & punches are the ideal way of shaping metal and making domed, shaped pieces or hollow beads. Pieces of circular metal/discs are place over the hollows of a doming block, and then using punches and a hammer the metal is formed into a shape.
Steel blocks provide the ideal flat surface for working, flattening sheet or wire or to support work as it is raised or forged, riveted or textured.
Rather like doming blocks, Swage blocks help form metal into tubes, curves and channels. Different blocks will allow different shapes and sizes to be formed.
Sandbag / Grit filled Cushion
These bags provided support whilst you work and form your piece. They help keep your work firm and in place whilst working.
Pliers have a multitude of uses but they are the most basic tool for holding/gripping, forming and shaping wire. Having a basic selection of needle nose, round nose, flat nose, half round and a pair of parallel action pliers, will give the jeweller the flexibility to complete most jobs.
Often used by silversmiths, the metal is placed over the stakes (usually clamped independently into a vice) and hammered to achieve the shape required. Various shapes can be achieved by using different stakes.
Files are essential for removing excess material, and fine tuning and shaping your piece. The different sizes available allow the jeweller to work large areas or at a more intricate level. To start with buy a selection of shapes containing round, square, triangular, half round and warding. Plus consider the cut ranging from 0 the coarsest, to 6 the finest.
Draw plates are most commonly used to reduce the size or change shape of wire. Each plate has a series of holes through which the wire is passed through, this then changes the size of the wire. The holes in the plate are of decreasing size allowing you to continue draw down the wire to the required size.
These larger machines often seen in jewellers’ workshops are ideal to reduce the thickness of sheet, or help decorate sheet. If used with Square and D shape sections rolling mills can be used to form or shape wire.
This selection of forming tools & equipment allow jewellers, and metalsmiths to create any number of shapes, textures and patterns. As with all jewellery projects the range of forming tools jewellers have will start with the basic i.e. pliers, hammer and perhaps a doming set, and then expand as their projects demand.
This weekend only Cooksongold.com are offering an incredible 50% off starter bench packs. The bench pack contains 11 quality jewellery tools at an amazing price of ONLY £23.08 this weekend only - WHILE STOCKS LAST!
We’re very happy to be sponsor’s of 2009′s British Silver Week, and just as pleased to bring your our newest Silver Mini Catalogue!. So dive in, and celebrate silver with Cookson!
British Silver Week
British Silver Week makes a welcome return this June with a typically impressive programme of events celebrating silversmithing in all its forms, supported by a glittering array of leading industry names and new, cutting edge work by the UK’s best young silversmiths. Cookson Precious Metals are immensely proud to once more be the Corporate Sponsors for this important series of events.
NEW Sterling Silver Findings
We are constantly adding NEW findings to our range on the basis that you can never have too many. As well as our NEW range of Argentium silver findings, check out our NEW textured silver beads from UNDER £1 each, as well as our NEW silver clasps and ear fittings. Also, receive a FREE sticky bead mat when you spend over £35 on silver findings.