Dan W

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I am looking for anyone on the forum who knows how to raise silver from a flat sheet using metal forming hammers, stakes, etc.? I am upgrading my skill set from simple jewelry making to true silversmithing and need some guidance/advice.:hammer:

Dan
 

silverchip

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Hi Dan, I am a silversmith. So I guess the next Q is what are you wanting to make?? That might help answer where to start. Raising vessels is a long and tedious task but fun.I can't be the only one here that can help so let's see who else pipes up!!!! Brian, where are you???
 

monk

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riogrande jewelry supply has all the toys and books as well, to launch you into this field of endeavor. good luck.
 

JAT

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I know it helps to have pitch, if your wanting to do shallow forming. I have used a hard wax to do it and wood that I formed or carved. I made most of the tools myself out of steel rod. If you want to do the deep vessels and such, that is beyond my knowledge, I know some of it is spin formed on a lathe. I would love to see what the other guys and girls have to say, as this is something that I have an interest in but don't know an incredible amount about!
 

Dan W

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Hi Dan, I am a silversmith. So I guess the next Q is what are you wanting to make?? That might help answer where to start. Raising vessels is a long and tedious task but fun.I can't be the only one here that can help so let's see who else pipes up!!!! Brian, where are you???

Raising is exactly what I am interested in! I have done all of the standard searches and found a few bits and pieces of information but nothing of real value. It seems that most of the raising/forming work is being done in Europe. My understanding is it is best to learn to forming techniques with less expensive metals, and when ready, move into silver and gold.
Any input on the “how to” of raising sheet metal, and the correct stakes, hammers, mallets, and tools to invest in would be appreciated. It has been a long and frustrating search so far.
Feel free to PM me.
Dan
 

Dan W

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riogrande jewelry supply has all the toys and books as well, to launch you into this field of endeavor. good luck.

Thanks Monk,

I have seen the tools available at Rio Grande Jewelry, as well as several other places. There are about 4000 hammers, stakes, mallets, chasing tools, etc. to choose from, I am just to new to it all to make sound decisions.
Thanks,
Dan
 

bildio

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Are you interested in chasing & repoussé? If so, a good, basic book is "Chasing and Repoussé Methods Ancient and Modern" by Nancy Megan Corwin. It covers tools & how to do it.
 
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Dan W

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Hi Bill,

I have done some Reposse in the distant past and is does interest me. I probably will get into both chasing and reposse after I get some of the basic forming techniques under control. They both blend naturally with forming.

Dan
 

Dave London

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Go to the forum web site , following the iron brush. There are links to videos on raising silver cups etc, it is all in Japanese but as they say you can steal with your eyes
 

rod

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Hello, Dan,

Silverchip Dave is the man!

Look up his posted photos? I can well believe what he writes, raising is a long but satisfying process. You can get a long way with copper sheet, profiled wood mallets, leather sandbag, annealing torch, and books. So best to ease in that way, at low cost, then go for more detailed chasing/repousse before you start buying those 4000 tools.

It is an exquisite art, and wish I had more lifetimes to explore.

On YouTube there are many video clips on "Raising a Silver Bowl".

Google images for a ton of inspiring photos.

My guess is repousse/chasing is the way into your project, and true, copper does work similar to silver, at lower cost.

Bill is right, and I am grateful to RR for telling us about this great book, a pleasure for all to own whether you are practicing the art. Here is the Amazon link, and looks like you should get the other two related books:

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Repou...Ancient+and+Modern"+by+Nancy+Megan+Corwin.

Keep posting to us about your journey, and good luck!

Rod
 

silverchip

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Ok then Dan, There are a couple of books(old school) that I would be looking for. One is Silversmithing and Art Metal by Murray Bovin. The other is silversmithing by Rupert Finegold and William Seitz. Both of these are good sources of information. Otto Frei handles hammers and stakes.You can also find some of these on Ebay under vintage silversmith tools.I believe that there is an entire silversmithing shop of this type for sale there as well. I would start with 2-3 raising hammers and a couple of forming stakes. It won't hurt to much if you beat the crap out of some copper for a while until you figure out the sequences and where to strike the metal to make it move. Hopefully you have a separate location other than your living room to work in as that can cause strife and tension that you don't need while learning!!!!!
 

Southern Custom

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Rio does indeed have a wonderful assortment of tools to choose from. I can tell you that their Fretz hammers are wonderful and obviously you'll never regret buying good tools. Fretz does have some inclusive tool kits to save a bit. Maybe Silverchip can advise you if it's worth it. I also own quite a few Peddinghaus hammers and they are of good quality. I like the handles on Fretz better.
As far as how to use them, I haven't a clue. I haven't raised in years and was never very good at it. I'm just a tool fiend who likes to be ready when the job calls for something different. Dad always said "Use the right tool for the job!"
 

James Roettger

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Allcraft Tool used to have the best silver smithing tools I am aware of but I am a goldsmith now so don't use them anymore. They had the best stake selection I have ever seen. www.allcraftusa.com
However, when I tried their web site it was not available at that time so I can't say if they are still around. They had that dinosaur look the last time I checked.
 

dhall

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Hi Dan,

Good advice and tips from everyone, and it's a worthy endeavor to learn raising. As with most anything, there are multiple ways to get it done, so what follows is simply one path. Like Silverchip suggested, beating on some copper is a good place to start, and it can be done fairly simply, and initially, without too much expense.

Understanding how metal moves during raising is one key. I think of the metal movement in raising as similar to what happens to clay when throwing a pot in ceramics. As the potter spins the lump of clay on the wheel, the clay is "pinched" between the potter's hands, and as the potter brings his hands together and raises his hands, the rotating clay flows between his fingers and deforms from a simple lump into a vessel. The closer the potter's hands get to one another, the thinner the wall of the vessel, and the taller the vessel can become. Metal reacts in a surprisingly similar way, just much more slowly when you're raising with a hammer.

A smith's hammer and stake perform the same function as the potter's hands. Hammering the metal against the stake "pinches" the metal and causes it to deform and flow. Instead of a potter's wheel, the smith rotates the metal slightly after each hammer blow. The hammering proceeds in concentric passes, starting closest to the center. Understanding that metal can flow, similar to clay, is the first part, understanding how to effectively get it to flow is the next part. The key to this step is the shape of the face or peen (pein) of the hammer.

A hammer with a round, domed face, when hammered into a piece of metal, will produce a circular, concave depression in the metal. The force of the blow will cause the metal to flow away from the center of the hammer mark evenly in all directions. This is NOT what the smith wants when raising a vessel. Commonly, a disk of metal is the beginning shape used in raising. The smith wants the hammer blow to force the metal to flow away from the center of the disk, towards the outer edge of the disk. Since we've established that a semi-spherical or domed hammer face isn't desirable, what shape would work better? A classic raising hammer has a modified wedge shape. The narrow end of the wedge is rounded, and ever so slightly convex. A hammer mark left from a raising hammer would look similar to a very small hot dog shape - a mostly semi-cylindrical depression with rounded ends. This shape will cause the majority of the metal flow to be at right angles to the long axis of the hot dog. So, instead of having the metal flow in 360 degrees away from the dome-faced hammer blow, we've now got the majority of the metal movement going in 180 degrees from the wedge-shaped raising-hammer blow. This is great, but we really want the metal to flow only in one direction, outwards towards the edge of the disk we're hammering, not back towards the center of the disk. What's the trick?

Let's say our project will be a simple cup. We'll start with a copper disk, say 6" in diameter. We'll lightly center punch the center of the disk (maybe we needed to cut the disk out of a larger sheet of stock, perhaps 16 or 18 gauge, so the center punch would have been useful in laying out our 6" circle, to begin with), and using a pair of dividers, we'll lightly scribe concentric circles on our disk. Our center circle might be around 2" diameter for the base of our cup, and successive, concentric circles might be scribed 1/4 - 1/2" apart, continuing until we get to the outside of the disk. The only other piece of equipment we'll need, at least to begin with, is a stake. Don't think tent stake, here. It's commonly called a T-stake, because of it's shape. The working surface would be the top, outside edges of the cross-bar of the T, with the vertical body of the T driven in to a stump, or held in a receiving bracket bolted to a bench or stump, or maybe even held in a vise. The stake may be as simple as a cylinder of steel, 2-3" in diameter, held in a vise, if you don't have a T-stake. In use, the working surface of the stake is essentially horizontal, and the forearm of your hand in which you are holding the hammer is directly in line with the long axis of the stake. When raising, the hammer is applied to the very top edge of the stake, and your (approximately horizontal) forearm, hammer handle and stake are all in a straight line. As you are hammering, you want to always strike the exact same spot, just in from the edge of the stake. You hold the disk of metal, inclined at a slight angle of 10 degrees, or so, relative to the top of the stake, against the fore edge of the stake.

Your goals are to; (1) Always have your hammer land in the same spot on the top of the stake. (2) Drive the slightly inclined metal down against the top of the stake with each hammer blow. (3) Slightly rotate the disk between each hammer blow so that the hammer never strikes the metal you are raising in exactly the same spot. (4) Have your hammer marks overlap one another, side-by-side, as you make concentric passes around the disk. (5) Have your hammer marks overlap one another, front to back, as you make concentric passes around the disk. (6) Not leave any gaps of unhammered metal. The concentric circles you scribed in to the disk will help keep you on track with making even, uniform passes of your hammering.

Each pass of hammering, from the center, in concentric circles or spirals, all the way out to the edge of the disk is called a course. The hammering will work-harden the metal, and it will be necessary to anneal the disk after each course. Usually the disk is quenched in water after annealing and then placed in a pickling solution (mild acid, e.g. 5-10% sulphuric acid or Sparex) to remove oxides formed during the annealing process. The piece should be neutralized with baking soda in water, and then rinsed and dried before beginning the next course of raising.

The key or "trick" to getting the metal to flow out towards the edge of the disk lies is following the steps outlined above. The first circuit of hammer blows, overlapping each other, causes the metal to work-harden. The work-hardening impedes the ability of the metal to flow back towards the center of the disk, forcing the great majority of the metal flow to be in one direction - outwards towards the edge of the disk. Continuing the hammering and continually overlapping the hammer blows keeps forcing the metal to move ever outwards.

The second, and every succeeding course of hammering is approached just like the first course, with the piece held at a slight angle to the stake. You may start the second course at the same place as the first course, or you might start farther away from the center, depending upon the shape you are trying to achieve. In our simple example project of a cup, it might have straight sides and a flat bottom, which would require a very simple stake. As you gain more experience, changing the contour and profile of the stake will allow you to make different contours to the walls of your vessels.

Some variations on the very basic process outlined above might include using a mallet (rawhide, wood, plastic or rubber) to shape the metal against a sandbag, without the stretching or thinning of the metal that would come from using steel hammers. Some folks start out with a mallet to rough-shape the disk in to a shallow dish, and then begin hammering with a raising hammer. It is very common to use a mallet, after annealing, to even out the overall shape, prior to each successive course of raising. Another technique has the smith using a mallet to form wavy flutes, radiating out from the center of the disk as the first step, and then a course of raising with a hammer follows. If you look at pictures of T-stakes, you might come across an image of a stake with a rounded, concave top surface. This is a stake that would be used for this style of raising. I think I recall this being referred to as Dutch raising. Another thing that some people do after finishing each course is called edge-thickening. They will take a small hammer, with a face similar to a raising hammer, and hammer directly in to the edge of the disk or vessel. The thought here is that as you hammer right out to the very edge of the vessel, you run the risk of the metal getting too thin. Hammering the metal back into the edge will cause a slight mushrooming of the edge, pushing metal back and causing the edge to become a little thicker, or at least not any thinner, hence the name, edge thickening.

After you have evenly, smoothly and uniformly hammered your vessel, it still doesn't look all that nice, with all of those hot dog shaped hammer marks. The next step is to repeat the hammering process, but with a different shape of hammer. Now you will switch to a dome-shaped hammer. You will replicate the hammering, with the exception that you'd no longer hold the metal at an angle to the stake. Now you'll want to hold the vessel flat against the stake. For the next few courses, you'll use the dome-faced hammer to flatten out the marks from the raising hammer. You'll continue to use overlapping hammer blows, and not leave any gaps. The faces of your hammers should all be polished mirror smooth. After a course (or two, or three...) with the dome-faced hammer, you'll switch to a flatter, shallower domed hammer, and ultimately to a nearly flat-faced hammer. The final passes are referred to as "planishing". A well-planished vessel is a thing of beauty, with the evenly-spaced and shaped hammer marks looking like polished facets. Your vessel will shimmer in the light as it is held up to be admired.

Should you or your customer prefer a smooth, polished surface, after the planishing courses are done, the vessel is filed in a similar manner to the hammering, i.e. overlapping, concentric file strokes. This is repeated with progressively finer files, then sanded with sanding sticks of progressively finer abrasives, finished up with polishing and buffing to a mirror shine, or maybe brushed to a satin finish.

It is really quite a complex and a simple operation, all at the same time. Once you've caught on to some of the subtleties of the process, you will have gained a profound insight in to the nature of how metal moves, and how you can control that movement. You'll never look at a piece of metal the same way, once you've done some raising. Whether you do as Brian suggested and use a hydraulic press, or as another person suggested and use a metal-spinning lathe, or use a hammer and a stake, it's really all the same thing, getting the metal to flow and form itself in to a new shape.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,
Doug
 
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