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Raising a Bowl. Instructions for creating a copper bowl by hand


The next regular problem in our series, the small bowl, is distinctly a "raising" problem; that is, it is completed entirely by the process of raising from a single flat piece of metal.

There are three distinct methods of raising a shape from the flat metal, any one or all of which may be used, depending upon the shape of the object to be raised. The simplest and commonest method is that of forming the shape by beating it into a depression on a block of wood, or over the edge of a block, as in the cases of the matchholder base, lanterntop, and plate, already described.

The simplest form of the problem is the round pin tray with flat bottom, made from a circular piece of copper or brass about 4" in diameter. This problem can be adapted to a variety of uses with the same tools and methods as described, by varying slightly the processes. By using a circular piece of 20 gage sterling silver 8" in diameter, a dainty little salt dish can be made. From a piece of silver 5" in diameter can be made a dish for candies or almonds. By beating a 5" piece of copper or brass as deep as the hammer will allow we can make a jar for violets or other short stemmed flowers. By inverting it and placing a glass inkwell inside and lapping a bottom on, we have an inkwell that is steady on its base. And by using an 8" circle we can make a serviceable nutbowl. All of these types are illustrated in the photographs.

For a description of tools and processes, we will take the round pin or ashtray made from a circular piece of 10-gage copper of brass 4" in diameter. See Figs. 80 and 83.

Copper & Brass craftsman era bowl examples.

Craftsman era pin tray and bowl from copper.

Secure a block of hard wood about 3" square and 6" long. Place this block upright in the vise and in one end cut with a gouge a circular concave depression, about 2" in diameter and I/2" deep in the middle. If you cannot obtain a gouge, it is possible to hammer this depression in by striking the block with the ball end of the hammer.

With a pencil compass find the center of the piece of copper and draw a circle the size the bottom of the bowl is to be. In a 4" circle the bottom should be about 2" in diameter, leaving 1" all around to form the sides. Next place the flat piece of coppe over the depression in the block and with the ball end of the hammer beat the copper down into the depression, as shown in Fig. 81

Raising a bowl example of craftman era metalwork.

and in sketch 1, Fig. 82.

Instructions for raising a bowl from copper in the arts and crafts style.

Strike a single row of blows all around the circle and this will raise the copper to the shape marked A, Fig. 82. Then tilt the bowl as shown in 2 and strike another row of blows with the hammer all around, about half way between the first row and the edge of the metal; this will raise the bowl to a shape similar to B. Now tilt the bowl as shown in 3, and strike with the hammer another row of blows near the edge of the bowl, this will make the shape about the same as C.

Continue this process until it is fairly smooth and even and the shape you wish. The bowl may now be polished and planished, and a simple design etched around the edge, on the inside on the bottom; or the shape may be made more interesting by beating over the edge as is shown in D, Fig. 82.

This may easily be done by fastening the tee stake in the vise, in the position shown in 4, Fig. 82, and holding the edge down to the stake, bringing it to the shape shown at D. if the bowl is to be rather deep, the metal will probably, become hard and unyielding. If it does so, anneal it, clean as described in Chapter 13, and continue hammering, remembering to strike even, regular blows all around the bowl.

If you strike harder on one side than on the other, the bowl will not be true and even in shape. The regular even hammer marks on handmade metalwork give to it a beauty and charm that is impossible to reproduce by any other means. A bowl that is uneven and has been chopped and banged at with a hammer, is just so much good metal spoiled, but one that is smooth and true showing the honest marks of the process used in bringing it to form, is an object of utility and beauty, something to take pride in, use, and treasure.

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