It’s been an interesting couple of days, aside from the regular activities I have begun to chase a saucer for the Wine Cup I finished a while ago. Last week in class I annealed and began to sink the center of the saucer. The flat pieces of silver still seem hard to me, it’s not until they have some capacity for volume that I am able to anneal AND feel that he metal has softened enough to work on. This saucer was no different, in disk form it still seemed to be quite resistant to movement when I tried to bend it by hand. It had a slight warp in it as I put it into the Pitch bowl. I used the same stencils I made for the cup to draw the design on to the saucer with a sharpie. Then I scratched the drawing in with an awl.
Here it is with the design scratched in, the perimeter and center are chased,and the sharpie lined have been cleaned off so that I can see where the chasing tool should go.
More chasing a little later.
All the leaf shapes were chased before drawing in the center veins, a cautionary step to insure that I get them properly centered. My drawing is never geometrically perfect, so I do some things in steps in order to make visual corrections along the way. I have begun to hammer down the background. The saucer warp had increased and the silver separated from the pitch along two sides. I hammered the supported metal and then removed the saucer from the pitch, used a mallet to flatten the lifted edges and replaced the saucer into the pitch bowl.
The saucer reset, one of the lifted sides has been hammered down and I am beginning to finish the ground in this photo.
In this side view you can see that the work is continuing to warp the saucer.
Out of the bowl the saucer looks more like a potato chip.
I used a mallet to flatten it again and reset it into the bowl so that it could be worked on from the back. I work on each type of leaf separately, that way the whole saucer is worked on, one small area at a time. The things I learn can be repeated and improved as I work on each similar element. I’m also hoping to control the warp factor better that way too.
This is where it is for the moment.
After a number of stops today, I wound up at Metalliferous and got Dave to get me a 7 inch silver disk for the next project in class. It came to $210 and change, a big expense, but that’s what I needed for my sense of well being as much as making a small teapot.
When I showed it to Gennady, he asked the gauge, I told him it was 18 but I thought it was heavier, it looked thicker. He measured it, it was a full millimeter in thickness, more than 18 Gauge.
The teapot is to be a kind of squat melon shape. The sketch I drew was for a pot about 110 mm in diameter and about 60 mm in height. I had also drawn an expanded version that was about 125 mm x 78 mm, I asked if we could try for the larger pot with the metal we have, he said we would need to stretch the metal and he set out a plan for me using a sand bag to make a bowl from the disk before I do any raising. He gave me a ball ended hammer that you’ll see in the photos and told me to start at the perimeter spiraling my way into the center of the disk. He said that I should be able to gain about 2 inches in height before we need to use a stake.
Here’s what the disk looked like after I’d been hammering a little while, some of the disk is still flat in the center. Gennady came over to where I was working and struck the disk a few times, he decided that the sand bag was too loose, ( I had been making constant re-arrangements which were more annoying than difficult, but still manageable) and we went to a stump that had depressions in it. He told me that I should strike a little lighter because the wood was more aggressive than the sandbag. I liked the bowl’s shape and crinkled edge, if I was going for a serving dish, I would have stopped here and begun to give it a final finish.
I hammered the disk into a bowl shape trying to keep the movement uniform, it was still a bit lumpy. The hammering is done on the inside of the bowl with the round end of the hammer (D4 in the photo) at this stage .
I took the bowl over to Gennady and he said that I should do it again without annealing. I was very surprised a but excited by what was happening. In the next photo it’s hammered half way around the lip of the bowl, at this point it was about 40 mm deep and 160 mm in diameter.
When I finished the second round, it was a little deeper and about 150 mm in diameter. Now I annealed it .
Looking at the bowl, we were about to mark the base of the teapot, Gennady set it onto the raised edge of his desk, took a small hammer from the closet behind him and struck it once in the center. ” Ah”, he said, “I think you can(should) stretch this more”, it will give me more to work with when I start to raise the sides. We marked the base line and he struck the bowl along the line a few times to push the metal down inside the base, showing me where I should make the stretch. He told me I should be able to push another quarter inch out of it. I was really impressed that he seemed to feel or hear the potential with a simple strike of the hammer.
Here’s what it looked like after I had completed the round of sinking the base. It’s a little lumpy especially seen on the inside.
He told me to even it out, ‘ Be meticulous’. I was working in a small depression on the stump and made it happen. The 7″ disk started out at a diameter of 177 mm, at this stage it measured 198 mm. The metal had been stretched about 7/8″. All of this took place in less than three hours.