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I Forge Iron

Chasing and Repousse

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I just finished a week long class at John C Campbell taking Chasing and Repousse from Mark and Mindy Gardner.
Great class, learned lots, and I now have a new type of item to offer.

These are my three pieces! An oak leaf, a feather, and an orchid.




Check my blog for other pictures of the trip!

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That is wonderful work, thanks for sharing with us.
Many people are not aware of the potential Repousse has in enhancing what they produce with blacksmithing by combining the techniques with forging.

I was fortunate enough to have had some “one on one” training with Nahum G. Hersom of the Golden Pheasant Art Metal Shop of Boise, Idaho.

To the loss of people who appreciate Blacksmithing and Metal Art, Naham (Grandpa) Died on April 1st of this year, he was just about 93 years old.
I will miss his “sometime” phone calls!

He was a skilled blacksmith and was also a true Repousse Artist.
Nahum placed emphasis on the design and using techniques of various types of repousse work and the making of tools for this (his) special to this craft.

He taught his students hammering techniques, how to stretch, shrink, and raise the various thicknesses of metal for forming of modern and traditional architectural flowers, rosettes, medallions, and acanthus style leaves.
He taught the basic technique of the stake method of metal forming; however he also
demonstrated and discussed the lead and pitch methods.

Now that I am getting long in the tooth! (70 +) I am going back to doing more Repousse because it is easier on my body!
Thanks for sharing; maybe someone else will become interested in a wonderful craft!
Ted Throckmorton

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Good job Dave,

Another milestone on the blacksmithing road passed (I was going to say ticked off, but reconsidered due to translation problems betwixt Uk and US English)

You don't mention the backing you used when making the orchid leaf, pitch, lead or other, I personally like lead.

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Nice work Fiery.

My journeyman/helper, Daniel, worked in a smithy in Würzburg, Germany, where he admired the work of George Oeg, 1700's Baroque style leafwork. This work was huge. Daniel struck for me recently and we tried some hot leafwork in 3/16" and 1/8" thick material. We did lots of hot sinking into wood, and we occasionally used dome and ball stakes. The definition was largely accomplished by variously shaped fullers. (kehlhammer in German). A little bit of the methodology of this style of work is shown on www.youtube.com by the Hantel family in Potsdam, Germany. I dont think it is called repoussé, although it is related somewhat.

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Frank, you are right on!
I was taught "Repousse" was to work the metal cold. So after my training I combined what I had learned with (hot) forging.
When working a piece of steel and it starts to become work hardened by working it cold, then we would heat treat to Stress Releif the piece and then continue working it.
What you posted was exactly what I meant by combining Repousse and forging (hot).

My interests have shifted to back to doing this type of work. I find it very satisfying!
Ted Throckmorton
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The work we did was cold on lead under a treadle hammer with a safety chain. What little hot work that needed to be done, was done on wood.
The leaf stem and feather quill were formed hot starting with a half round swedge and fuller under the treadle hammer and then finished on the anvil.

I am not familiar with any other techniques besides those which were covered in this class. I'll do some researchin when time presents itself.

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Thanks Dave, you done good, Can't expect to learn all the techniques at once, this may be all you need to know for now, and make other learning and researching more understandable once you get the feel for how the tooling works the metal

Onwards and upwards.

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Nice work Dave! Looks like you learned well.

I'm fortunate enough to live fairly close to the Gardners and occasionally go by their shop on open forge nights (I'd go more if my schedule/kids allowed). Mindy is usually sitting at her treadle hammer tapping away while we are messing around the fire. Fun to watch! Something I'd like to learn someday as well.


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The back bone of the hammer has a receiver that a tube slides into at perhaps a 45 degree angle. (Going up from the back bone toward the front of the hammer.) The end of this tube has a slot cut in the end so that a 1/4" chain link slides into it. The chain is attached to the hammer head via bolt and washer. The chain prevents the hammer from coming all of the way down to the anvil and the chain can be adjusted to compensate for tool height.

Clear as mud?

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