Metalsmithing 101

Interestingly, my university places me in a Metalsmithing class. It’s actually kinda cool because I already make jewelry. My designs will compliment my current work.

Here is my first project. I started out with a copper blank and transferred the design on the surface with carbon paper.

Bracing the copper square against a wood block, I used a small saw, with a blade no larger than a stick of mechanical pencil lead, to cut out the design. For interior cuts, I drilled a starter hole with a teeny drill bit (0/1) and inserted the saw blade before tightening into the saw frame.

Once the mandala design was cut out, the filing began to get the edges smooth, as they were very sharp and full of copper burrs. I used teeny files smaller than a coffee stir.

Next, I used 320, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper to sand it smooth, rotating it 90 degrees with each new grit, as to assure I got out all the lines from the last grit of paper. I polished it using white diamond and then red rouge compounds and motorized polishing head. By the end, the cloudy square blank had an intricate design and a mirror finish. Estimated time investment: 8 hrs.

The result was quite stunning! I was proud.

 

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