Jump to content
I Forge Iron

something simple in silver


Recommended Posts

Was my partner's birthday this week, and couldn't find a thing for him, he want a ferrari but that's not quite in the equation... so I decided that i'd make him something, been together for 7 years and i've never actually ever made anything for him so I though I'd dig out the silver and make him a chunky bracelet. I don't work in silver very often, and never really "forged" with it before, only used stock sizes and modified, or soldered together etc.

It's not really forged, it's hammered all right, but made from about 1.2mm thick sheet, cut about an 18mm wide strip of around 120mm long. Repeatedly annealed and hammered into shape, couple of twists added.
I was surprised at how quickly it work hardened, and how fiddly it was to make the little scrolls that are easy when you're working with 10mm or so hot mild steel, scaled up, but when it gets down to this size quite awkward, it reminded me why I gave up silverwork for the "hard stuff"!!

Photos aren't that great and I've not got a buffing wheel, so the silver is still a bit white from the annealing, but that will rub off with wear. Hammer marks are deliberate, he likes it like that!! Anyway, he liked it although it was a bit small so I'm going to have to beat it a bit more to elongate it, but he's happy to finally have something I've made especially for him!!

I know it lacks in technical detail, but it was quite nice to get a hammer to something other than steel to see how it compares. Would love to try out some bronze etc to see how that feels too.

post-1299-0-55417100-1328739424_thumb.jp

post-1299-0-60791600-1328739444_thumb.jp

post-1299-0-03761400-1328739460_thumb.jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice.

I've never worked with silver, but have done some brass and copper. I really enjoy the "cold work" on occasion.

With copper, I anneal with a MAPP torch and a quick water quench. Do you do the same with the silver?

I've made several pieces for my wife. Lucky bloke who has a lady making stuff for him!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cold work silver, copper, brass and bronze and they all require annealing when they start to show to much rebound. Silver and copper are the easiest to forge cold as they have a fairly long working period before the rebound gets to bad. It is probabley easier to bronze hot but I don't have a forge now to try it. Brass is kind of in between silver/copper and bronze in that it work hardens really fast but is softer than bronze. Some of the silver and copper alloys are real springy too and require frequent annealings to work them out by forging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have forged some silver. I loved the material! It never seemed to harden quickly to me. Sterling is slightly stiffer and hardens a bit quicker than fine silver but still I think of both as soft stuff. I tell you what, try forging a couple of earrings from Monel, it's pretty inert and should make good earrings and you will never think that silver gets hard again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

nice bangle colleen! ive done quite a bit of silver work but not forged any, it looks cool - bet yr other half was pleased - ive made a lot of things for my husband, but looking back over the years they have not always been of the highest quality!! thats a nice gift he can wear easily :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all, it made a nice change, and I've got a chunk more of it to play with so I may make some more, maybe make myself one! It's 925 Sterling, I was afraid to overwork it in case it cracked, not used to working precious metals!!! Could hardly throw it on the scrap heap if that happened!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks all, it made a nice change, and I've got a chunk more of it to play with so I may make some more, maybe make myself one! It's 925 Sterling, I was afraid to overwork it in case it cracked, not used to working precious metals!!! Could hardly throw it on the scrap heap if that happened!!!


Wouldn't have to, melt it down and start again
Link to comment
Share on other sites

yes, I know John!!!! And, I will now tell you, his birthday was on Wednesday, I decided that this is what I was going to do on Tuesday... afternoon!... I only had two hours in the workshop on Tuesday, an hour of which was occupied by a lovely chat with Ruth, who is my farmer landlady, who is just the most awesomest and wonderful woman, I can't even begin to shrug her off with "ive got to get busy with this" because she's always got time for me and is one of the most staunchest supporters I have in this area! So time being limited I wouldn't have had time to melt it down to start over! So this was completed under pressure in an hour ... next one will be better and more refined I'm sure!!
and I know I really should plan my gifts for momentous occasions a bit more in advance!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now OK you two, as a hubby I know my place,

Somewhere after; dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cockatiels, budgies, goldfish and any other lovely people or animals that need attention,

I am glad to know it's not just me.

Wow, having a whole hours effort, I should be so lucky ! It must be Love

(Just joking, for those of not an understanding nature)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hehe, don't worry, I get it John!! And yes, my poor man is sooooo neglected...!!!
Beth, pretty much everything I do only gets done as a last minute thing... I know one day I should plan ahead, but it never happens...
Thanks Tim, it's a little bit thinner now as I made it a little too small so had to stretch it out a bit to fit. It still retains the look of it though, I was hoping for a celtic look!! Just wish I had a buffing wheel to polish it up!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Colleen, a bit of polishing compound on a rag will start to bring out highlights and with heavy application it will take a polish. For you info bracelets are VERY hard to polish safely on a buffing wheel says the guy who has done quite a few, and lost a few when they got away from me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks ptree, I still haven't polished it properly, I usually just wear things and they sort of polish themselves with the wear, which is what i've told him to do, but he hasn't been wearing it, which is annoying me. This minute I've just asked him why he hasn't been wearing it, and his answer is that "because it's not polished" arrgh!! lol I'll avoid the polishing wheel, I remember at art college we had some pretty crazy moments with the buffers!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Colleen, If you have a nice long bit of soft rag, say half a meter by about 20-50mm, you can rouge it up and with the item held in very soft jaws pull the rag back and forth rapidly, sort of like how a shoe black polishs shoes and get a fair polish. Soft jaws can be as simple as several layers of corrugated box paper.

Being a brash Yank, I have a lovely 1/3 Hp, about 300 watt 3750 rpm motor buffer with 8" wheels. For a fine polish, I file, then sand using finer paper till in the 320 grit size, and then use grey cutting compound on a hard buff, then tripoli on a softer buff and then color with red rouge. Properly done mirrow finish. Assuming you don't loose the item when the wheel grabs. For rings most is done on a tapered mandrel, but much still must be hand held, and why my German mentor and Master goldsmith told me "You must have fingers like little black vises" Referring to the black oxide all over the fingers after working the buff.
I never stood a college art course, I was apprenticed to Herr Michael Koff in Hanau au Main in the mid 70's while off duty from the US ARMY. I learned from him almost all I know of gold/silver smithing.

But now I have gotten over fidly hand finishing and love the "Get it hot, Hit it hard, Quit when your done" of blacksmithing. Also why I don't make very many knives. I like a somewhat more primitive finish:)

Look on ETSY, under
http://www.etsy.com/shop/PTreeForge?ref=seller_info
for my style, as I make garden trowels, and veggie choppers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Colleen, If you have a nice long bit of soft rag, say half a meter by about 20-50mm, you can rouge it up and with the item held in very soft jaws pull the rag back and forth rapidly, sort of like how a shoe black polishs shoes and get a fair polish. Soft jaws can be as simple as several layers of corrugated box paper.


I would suggest a similar but opposite technique. Hold the end of the rag strip in the vice, pull it taut with one hand and slide the workpiece backwards and forwards along it. I find I can get more speed and pressure and keep the cloth straighter rather than letting it bend around the corners that way.

I often use this system with a Goddards Long Term Silver cloth, which is impregnated with a mild abrasive, available from supermarkets and ironmongers. While there you could pick up a tube of Autosol Metal polish or Autosol Shine both of which seem to punch above their weight.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ptree, Jeff? thanks for the tip, i had a look at your etsy site, i love the veg herb chopper. And I share your appreciation for the more rough and ready finishes, one of the reasons i no longer do much silverwork is it seems so fiddly compared to steelwork, i am less precise and more likely to make things on a grand scale with steel, and the fire... !

blackersmith, thanks that is a very good tip as well! I will look out of one of these cloths.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Colleen, looking good. I'd love to see some stamping or strong looking carving on the top, but that won't happen in an hour. I'd take a file or hammer to the underside to knock off the edges so it's not sharp on the skin. I used to make Celtic coins and armbands, rings, etc. Actually more Middle Earth, but that's Celtic. I used stainless to keep the dollars down. The coins were copper. I still love that stuff. I'm even in the process of doing some belt buckles in brass and some t-shirts of Regin the Smith from the Hylestad portals. Finish wise, just fine emory paper over the surface will make it shiney yet still leave the texture. Makes a nice contrast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Coleen, my given name is Jeff. I took Persimmon Tree forge as my biz name since I started by dragging the anvil and forge out of the wood shop to the shade of a large persimmon tree. Persimmons are like a weed in this area of Southern Indiana. There used to be a pretty big trade in persimmon wood for golf club drivers but that has dwindled. My kids grew up knowing when to graze the persimmons in the fall. Once ripe they are a bit like a nicely ripe apricot. Not ripe they are so astringant as to make you think your mouth will turn inside out:)

I have shipped a couple of the veggie choppers to England as well as a trowel.

I too heat with wood, but only have to kindle a fire once a heating season as I have an outside woodburner that heats the house. My wife is a CITY girl, who never managed to get the hang of proper wood stove management. With the outdoor burner, I load before I leave for work and again before bed. She sets a thermostat and the temp in our super insulated passive solar house stays right where she desires and no dirt-ashes-smoke in the house.

Now my much less insulated shop made from 100% post industrial salvage did not have any heat till last fall. It now has a wood stove with blower and I have been adding insulation as I find it. I can now raise the temp by 20F in an hour or so and raise from a uncomfortable to work in 20F to 50F which is fine to do forge work in in a couple of hours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, Randy I did think about taking a chisel or some punches to that bracelet, might still do that, with his permission of course! Still haven't polished the thing, will take it into work tomorrow perhaps.

Jeff, I've never heard of a persimmon tree!! Your house sounds lovely, but I do love the smell of woodsmoke!!

My workshop has only just become watertight, I dream of insulation, but it's got a tin roof, so it would be a major job to make it cosy and warm!! It's on the list of "to-do's" one day!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...