Sunday, 25 April 2010

New Adventures in Metal

One of my biggest faults is that I try to take shortcuts.  Sometimes it works and more often, it screws up a really good idea.  This was one of those times and I can only hope to learn from it.
An idea for a flower floated into my head at the tail end of a nap and I couldn't wait to try it, even though there really wasn't enough time to do things properly.
I drew the flower freehand on a piece of card stock and traced it onto the copper with a sharpie.  Set my new bench vice up on the kitchen island (did you know those things were packed in a ton of grease?) and after cleaning it up, put the bench block in and sawed the flower.  Then I made my first mistake.  I half-arsed measured for the centre and eyeballed it as a check.
Second mistake - my dremel is set up for my Koil Kutter and instead of taking it apart and putting a diamond drill bit in to do the centre hole, I decided to do it with a nail on a block of wood.  Big nail, big hole and off centre.  Duh!   It didn't look nearly as bad until I put the LOS on.
Missed a step - taped some brass braided wire to the inside and hammered a dividing pattern.  Used a flat hammer for the petals and a dapping punch for the inside.  Third mistake - didn't take enough time taping the wire and it's off centre as well.
One good thing is that I had found a $9.99 crock pot  for my copper pickle and it was perfect.  Holds about two cups, big enough for a bracelet cuff to fit inside and heats fast.  So the annealing and pickling was much faster, making it easier to mark and shape.
Next step was my first use of the dapping block and dapping punch to cup the flower.  Fourth mistake - hurried again and when I got a few folds I thought they'd add to the look, forgetting that they wouldn't match the placement of the petals.
I used a couple of the different sized holes in the dapping block, going from biggest to smaller and got a reasonable, if slightly off-kilter cup.  The nail hole  spread and split with the dapping, making it look even worse.  Then I took my bent-nose pliers and bent the petals back.
I like the way the dapping punch made a pattern on the back of the flower because the copper was so soft.
So it was not a bad idea and I messed it up trying to hurry.   Great learning experience though, and aside from avoiding the four mistakes, I think round-nosed pliers would have made a better curve on the petals.  The frustrating thing is that I'm getting into my really busy season and this might be my last chance to play like this until fall.


  1. Hey Susan, no matter what you have said about your flower, I think it's really nice. So don't be down in the dumps about it, as it's pretty and I do realize this has been a learning experience for you and next time it will be the perfect flower. Maybe I will try something like this.


  2. I love your flower. The learning experience was well worth the effort!