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Lou L

Double sided leaves

22 posts in this topic

All,

I have tried to find information about texturing both sides of a leaf for a big project I am starting (mailbox post for my house) but I have come up empty.  I decided to upload to the hive mind to solve my problem.  I want the design to be visible from multiple sides and, this, would like my leaves to look "real" on both sides.  This has proven difficult to do.  When I add texture to one side I obviously damage the design on the other.  I have tried using a stump as an anvil for the second side but I get fire, smoke and limited ooomph in striking.  I've also tried scalloping the leaf in order to get some sort of shape into the other side but it still lacks life.  I was wondering if anyone has done this and how they do it.

Also, if one was to build a double sided die for doing this job how would they go about it?  I have plenty of ideas but I want to download possible solutions from the hive mind (and maybe get some sense knocked into me for wanting to do this).

 

Thanks,

Lou

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I have thought about making a die for veining leaves as well. I swear I saw one somewhere but can't recall at the moment. 

If I were to make a die I would probably make it out of half inch or thicker steel into a spring fuller type design. Probably sketch it out on paper and cut out best I could to transfer in sharpie to the steel then use grinders and dremmel to carve the two reliefs. 

Thats just what I have been toying with in my mind. I'm interested to see others responses. 

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Do you have a screw or hydraulic press?

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Clapper dies in a power hammer or press would be my method.  

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I forgot to add that I am without press...of any kind.  I'm looking into a screw press option but need to get that huge shed so I have room for more stuff.  Fortunately the shed doesn't fall into my hobby budget...it is a capital improvement my wife desires!

   I'm doing this with an anvil and am limited to making dies for the hardy or any other manual genius someone can come up with.

 

Im interested in the idea of clapper dies nonetheless because I think the fabrication of them would open up door for me for other projects.  I was wondering, do people have any success using dies that impress a positive image (with the negative carved into the die).

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Interesting question, Lou. Most of the leaves I do are on wall hooks that back onto a wall, so only one side is visible. However, rose leaves are visible from both sides and I have tried to vein both. As you have noted, the first side suffers some damage from the forging of the reverse. I tried using a soft copper sheet underneath but with limited success. I did make one reasonable effort by making the first side very deeply textured and then lighter on the back, trying to avoid having one vein directly over the opposing one.

Not an easy problem to solve, especially for smiths like us who are sans power hammers or presses!  Interesting to read more replies.

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Couple of thoughts:

First, what kind of leaf are you thinking about? Something complicated with branching veins like an oak leaf or a maple leaf would be a very different matter from a willow or a ginkgo.

Second, for tooling, I'd think about two sets of dies: one for creating top-and-bottom veins, and the other for fluting the edges of the leaves, like these:

IMG_3363.JPG

These could be either a set of a hardy tool and a hand-held top piece, or a one-piece tool (spring-loaded or guillotine) that sits in the hardy hole and leaves your other hand free to swing the hammer.

Another option would be to forge as best you could hot, and then chase the details in cold, perhaps using a lead block as backing to keep from damaging the other side.

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I'd make one set of clapper dies that did the basic leaf and veining and then by using different preforms get some leaf variations and then do the curling by hand to make them all look different.

Die striking is all about power, the more you have the more definition you can get. I'd try at least using a separate striker with a sledge if you are not getting what you want---or a treadle hammer!

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I was just out in the shop trying my hand at the first experimental attempt.  I happen to have a few 2.5 x 3.5 x 1.75 thick blocks of A36.  I know it probably isn't tough enough for long term use but it's a lot easier to cold chisel and file.  While working on a very basic leaf negative I came up with two ideas:

1). It's going to be hard to get good detail doing this alone and by hand (Thomas already knew this) but maybe, if I exaggerate the negative image, I can get enough.

2). Also, I might benefit from making one die concave and the other convex so that they mate perfectly.  The convex die on top might increase the effectiveness for hand hammering....but it would definitely increase the complexity.

 

I recently saw a video from Torbjorn Ahman in which he first forged/carved an item and then used it along with his power hammer (or press..I can't remember which he used) to create negative dies of the item.  With that in mind, I was thinking another option to chiseling and carving negatives on both dies would be to carve or forge a positive of the leaf onto a piece of tool steel and then use it to hammer out the dies by hand.

 

JHCC,

Im still on to your idea as well.  I am wondering if I can't take your idea and make a pair of beefy crimping tongs to work from the sides of the leaves to create the veins.

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Scroll down and watch the video that nuge linked. I'm thinking something like this could be used hand hammering. 

 

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Some folks use angle iron to get a center rib; perhaps that would help as a preform for your dies to refine?

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Do you  have a welder Lou?

If so. determine the amount of taper you want from the center vein to the edges. Shim 1/2 that dimension the outer edges of two pieces of flat stock and weld them edge to edge on a flat plate. Before you weld them you might wish to round the edges or shape the as desired. A SLIGHT taper might be in order if you want a distal taper in the center vein.

Make two and chase in the branching veins. 

Make your spring and hardy shank. Align the top and bottom dies lay a piece of welding wire or similar in the center veins. Clamp and weld it together and adjust the spring as desired.

That's it, I can make the thing faster than it took to come up with a decent description. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The 2 methods I have used are a spring swedge, you will want to do your setup prior to using this tool as it will be only for your double texture not for the shape that comes from your setup. the other method and my favorite is to use a set of crown dies on the power hammer this could be hand done with a bottom fuller crowned both directions and a hand hammer that matches. again you will want to do the set up separately.

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11 hours ago, Daswulf said:

Scroll down and watch the video that nuge linked. I'm thinking something like this could be used hand hammering. 

 

Okay, the really weird part is that the pickets he was making are almost exactly my design for my mailbox post except I have some branching at the top that encompasses the mail box.  Thanks for the video.

 

Lots of ideas here.  Frosty, I seriously tried, I did....but I can't pick up what you are laying down! :) Seriously, I felt like I was doing a translation in my Attic Greek class when I didn't do the readings for homework.  Just as back then, I still got some of it.... I do have a welder!

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Yeah, the verbal description isn't very clear. I was visualizing the thing in my head and describing what MY dented brain was looking at.  Good luck with following that eh? :o 

So, try this. Take two wooden rulers and lay them side by side, touching. Now slip something between them at one end. Tape them down, this is a model of one half what I was talking about. The contact point is at one end so the gap opens in a smooth taper to the spacer. The edge of the rulers are radiused (Oh okay, picture them radiused.) and make the central vein. The ruled marks make the lateral leaf veins.

Now roll a wad of modeling clay into a cone and press it flat between the rulers. Turn it over, viola, Leaf!

Is that better?

Now do two out of steel and make a spring swage from them.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I can see it!  I can see it!  Thanks, Frosty.  One more method goes on the list.

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First attempt is nearly done.  I haven't had lots of time in the shop due to...life.  I tried making clapper dies for hand smashing.  I cold chiseled, dremeled a little and then filed.  It turns out the steel blocks I'm using aren't A36.  They are low carbon high alloy for sure.  I don't know if that's a bad problem or not...but they won't be seeing a power hammer.  It took much longer to file than expected.  The big, chunky orange sparks when I did a little grinding explained everything.  Right now the dies are flat.  A slight distal taper was filed in.  I'm going to mount them in a housing without welding them to anything because I expect to have to make changes.  They are lined up well (used my kids' Play Doh) but the vein patterns aren't identical.  Shouldn't matter too much I don't think unless my leaves are examined by an OCD savant.

IMG_0557.thumb.JPG.5b0db3d0f3ac444d8eed8933a512c470.JPG

 

 

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Sorry for the slow come back but I'd forgotten I had this in the shop. I made it to flatten angle iron without damaging the outside corner. It's made the same way I described except the sides don't angle away from contact. The edges in contact are radiuses slightly, less than a 1/8" radius but more wouldn't hurt. It's this large to work 1" angle iron and you can see how adding veins would make leaves.  A version of this is what I was trying to describe for a spring die.

Frosty The Lucky.

IMG_0726.JPG.0c20e931bc55a381bc8bcc0564e351e3.JPG

IMG_0738.JPG.20cc51934f7663dd53573d3c0235e5c8.JPG

 

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Thanks!  That's pretty much what I pictured after explanation #2.  I need to post an update on ng.  So far version 1.0 was a failure...but I expected as much.  The dies are pretty much flat and the piece walks around too much.  I need to make it more concave and try again.  Your idea looks like a nice way to bang them out fast.  I'm thinking that using a narrow die on the top may impart a negative on the top of the leaf and a positive on the bottom.  It wouldn't be the same on both sides but it would be two-sided and possibly more realistic.

Thanks again for the input,

Lou

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My pleasure Lou, I've never made a 2 sided leaf die but grew up in a shop where punch presses were a daily chore, read part of my piece work job. Some parts had top and bottom dies and I've made a couple spring rope, dies for the power hammer.

Achieving a representation of how a leaf thins from the central vein to the margins is the origin of my suggestion to shim the two "scales?" of the top and bottom dies. I'd practice with wood, hot glue and clay till I got what I wanted, then make the spring dies.

You're welcome Lou, I live for this stuff, it makes me feel good.

Frosty The Lucky.

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if you had enough power I could see a set of dies where you put square stock in on the corners in the main central vein  and so index it for the squish---gives you more material to the sides as well.  But it would need a lot of umph  as it would be doing all the metal moving in the die.

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