Friday, June 5, 2015

A bit of metal chasing on Friday

©2015 Barry Smith - Daisy?
I have been toying with the idea of doing a bit of chasing and repouse' on metal. I bought a book and a basic set of tools sometime ago. Today was the day - I decided this morning that it was time for me to give it a go - what could happen apart from producing something ugly.

I intended to work on a flat piece of metal and a bowl. I decided to use a silver-plated piece of EPNS that was the inner part of the base of a bowl (about 5-6cm in diameter); and the bowl part of a trophy cup (silver-plated brass) (about 6cm in diameter) - both in pretty bad shape.

Normally metalsmith work on a pitch pot when they are doing chasing (hammering from the outside) and repose (hammering from the inside or backside of the work). But the pitch is a little toxic. I had a vague memory of someone using beeswax so I thought I'd give that a go. So the first thing today was to create a wax pot and fill the 'bowl' I would work on with wax. Fiona's wax-wok was borrowed for this purpose. Photos of wok; and wax filled bowl follow.

I need to melt more wax and fill the wax pot but it served its purpose today.

©2015 Barry Smith - Daisy design on the bed of wax ready for work
I did both chasing and repouse' on the flat circular piece of metal - a freehand drawn daisy shape. The wax was still a bit soft in the early part but hardened as I went along.

©2015 Barry Smith - Early stages of chasing
©2015 Barry Smith - Some chasing and repose on the wax bed
©2015 Barry Smith - Polished daisy piece - front
©2015 Barry Smith - Polished daisy piece - back
The daisy is still a bit rough - but if I were willing to put the extra time into more cycles of hammering and planishing it would be a good piece - still it is a good training piece.

I did not have a lot of time on the bowl; but you can see I have made a start on a series of freeform leaves that radiate from the base. I'm liking how the leaves and stems are standing out in relief.

©2015 Barry Smith - Wax filled bowl on a sand bag - chasing hammer and tools on the left
©2015 Barry Smith - The leaves and twigs begin to emerge
A good beginning. I hope to finish the bowl over the weekend. I will then re-read the book and see where I went right; and where I went wrong. The lessons will be applied to future test pieces until I develop the skills. My goal is to do a hand formed and chased pod bowl.

Fiona has a grand curry made - so I'm off to enjoy that with a glass or two of white.


  1. wonderful result - but i like that you have worked past the pitch - that was what held me back from buying the tools as well. well done! i think it really goes to show that the time arrives for everything and that experience is worth more than we ever realize. i look at the things you figure out and admire you greatly for it.

  2. Oh this looks really interesting. Another string to your bow.

  3. Wax not pitch has to be a good move, B and your results are fantastic. You're a true craftsman, constantly learning and working out ways and means.

  4. Hi MJ, P & C - thanks for your support and encouragement - this was new territory for me and anything could;d have happened. MJ - the pitch was a problem for me. The beeswax worked pretty well. I might need to find a way of making it a bit harder. Thanks for your positive support. P - something new to stretch the creative mind? C - thanks - just keep on trying. All - go well and have a go. B


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.