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Hi everyone i've been wanting for the last few years to start a little furniture making project, and at long last i've got all the materials and most of the tools and knowhow needed for it. Unfortunately however, i'm having a little trouble with one detail in particular since i've got almost no experience in cold chiselling thick iron or steel, and the chest i'd like to make would probably feature a lot of it. 

I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any hand tools aside from cold chisels that could allow me to produce this kind of pierced work with roughly 1.5-2mm thick corten/weathering steel? 
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http://www4.ocn.ne.jp/~s-mingei/cyoubako2.html

Or, alternatively, if there's no other way aside from cold chiseling it, can anyone give me some pointers on the types i should look into getting before starting or any other useful tips?

 

For anyone curious about the chests in the links, they're mid 1850's to 1900's traditional japanese safes, used by merchants but generally called ships chests, funa dansu or funa tansu, the first would sell for about $5000-$6000 and the second's closer to the 10-16k mark

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Laser? and Waterjet? I haven't done tansu iron, but I've PM'ed you a man who has done it. My few jobs of openwork were done by resorting to the drill press to remove material and finishing by cold chiseling. This has helped prevent excess drawing and stretching of the surrounding stock. The cold chisels will be hand formed of various shapes and various included angles on the cutting ends. An everyday cold chisel for mild steel is dressed to 60 degrees, included angle. A straight blade can be crowned a bit which allows it to go around curves, within reason. Crowning also prevents corner edge marks. In making a straight or curved line, the chisel is rocked along like a P-38 can opener, always staying partially in the cut previously made. Some of the work can be chiseled part way through and then broken out by wiggling with a pliers or suchlike. Some of the work will be chiseled all the way through onto a non ferrous chisel plate. There will be file finishing.

 

I would suggest checking out youtube and the "Manuel Guerra Lock Making Shop" in Ecuador. There is lots of openwork done in his shop, and the vid of him and his workmen is inspirational.

 

Sayings and Cornpone

"We knew dinner was ready when the smoke alarm went off."

     Steve Stucker, Albuquerque weatherman

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If you look closely at your pics you'll notice the champher= acid cut. Etching is the way to go. You can scan your pic. and trace it in coreldraw/or similar then take your drawing to a signage maker to cut it out for you in vynil. Stick it on your metal and etch through.

 

Randa Fahmy(I think thats how you spell it) lights are made this way(google for pics) People will tell you its done with peircing but I have made numerous lights for projects in the UAE(including ones for the Al Bateen palace) this  way.

 

Ian

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If you look closely at your pics you'll notice the champher= acid cut. Etching is the way to go. You can scan your pic. and trace it in coreldraw/or similar then take your drawing to a signage maker to cut it out for you in vynil. Stick it on your metal and etch through.

 

Randa Fahmy(I think thats how you spell it) lights are made this way(google for pics) People will tell you its done with peircing but I have made numerous lights for projects in the UAE(including ones for the Al Bateen palace) this  way.

 

Ian

Thanks, I'll look into the results i can get from acid. any suggestions as to what kind should i try it out with?
Though i've no doubts it could be done in a lot of other ways, in this case i can definitely say that both of the examples in those pictures were cut using cold chisels followed up by a huge amount of filing...hence why they would have cost a lot more when they were made than what they do now

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 hence why they would have cost a lot more when they were made than what they do now

It's called marketing :)

I for one never underestimate the knowledge held by old(as in historic) craftsmen. I mean they could do thin gs we (with all our technology) still cannot replicate.

In my travels I have seen the "front of house" workshop with some hapless soul drilling and sawing away at some fretwork, only to later find  the ac id cutting-factory----- yea they might well have been using aspheltum and primitive diptanks , but it was not nearly as laborius as drill and fretsaw.

 

What material do you want the mordant(acid mix) for?

 

ps. once you have started using acid cutting you will get to recognize the tell-tale champher. What will take "forever" is the edge chasing it is a long and tedious learning curve(once mastered it can be surprisingly fast(sadly fast is yet to jump into my skillset)

 

Ian

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If  you have a lot of time to kill that looks like a cool project!

Using the acid cut technique you could "cut" all that material in a weekend, for mild steel use ferric chlodide mixed with citric acid, hang the plates vertically  then you don't have to "feather" them(continually brush with a feather to remove bubles) it also speeds up the process if you warm the mordant(think bain marie) used large bucket(5gal plastic paint?) inside your dustbin(place cinderblock/bricks inside first to raise bucket to ease working height (don't lean into bin) ease of working and don 't breathe fumes. Fill bin with warm water & keep warm with imersion heater(you should get these cheap at Dollar stores/HF etc.) Agitate the mordant   - I use air - small hose with valve from compressor, open a crack to give small buble stream into bottom of bucket to move the mordant. You are NOT trying to make soda think bubles in a fish tank!

BTW.If you don't have a compressor  you could use a small cheap aquarium airator.

 

Work outdoors AND  have a fan on.

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