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Bent Dreams...

Discussion in 'Artwork: Painting, Sculpture, etc...' started by InMyImage, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    Thought that I would start a thread to show everyone what bentdreams.com was actually doing before it started hosting the original version of this forum before the name change :)
  2. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    Idle Hands…
    At some point in most peoples lives they take on a hobby, mine was work, at least that’s what my wife always said. You see I have been a computer geek since I was about 10, and my job was helping customers use computer systems to streamline their daily tasks and stop wasting paper.

    I frequently worked overtime without even realizing that I was doing it because I loved my job…

    This all changed in January, 2013, after having my second back surgery because I haven’t recovered enough to return to work. Compounding the problem, in the middle of 2011 I started having severe migraines and memory issues, so all this means that my “hobby” of working with computers started to become a much, much, much smaller part of my life and I needed to try to find some other way to keep myself busy.

    I don’t really remember how, but I started participating in an on-line forum of metal artists. I have always had some interest in art, and did a bit of sketching when I was a teenager before computers became an all consuming obsession…

    Now I am starting a new chapter in my life which means I have to find a way to keep my hands and my mind busy, so between this blog and my new hobby hopefully I’ll be able to keep myself occupied.
  3. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    First Tulips...

    My first set of chasing and repousse supplies arrived from Otto Frei. To begin with I bought a set of Saign Charlestein’s chasing tools with 8 – 1/4” tools (Round shanks were pictured on the site, but square is what arrived), a shallow 8 x 2.25” pitch bowl (7.25×1.75” interior), matching pitch bowl pad, 4.4 pounds of medium pitch, and a chasing hammer. Rounding everything out was a 20 gauge (24 oz / .08 mm) 12”x12” sheet of copper.

    Repousse - 1.jpg
    Repousse - 9.jpg
    A hammer and a chisel made short work of breaking up the brick of pitch, but trying to melt it with my heat gun didn’t work so well and caused the pitch to release a really thin smoke and smell up my basement.

    Repousse - 2.jpg
    Repousse - 3.jpg
    Moving to the garage and using my portable BBQ grill worked a lot better! I cut a 1” length of 3” tube I had laying around to set the bowl on in the BBQ and then just had to keep an eye on the thermometer and regulate it by turning it on and off to keep it around 300 degrees because even on the lowest setting it maintains 400 degrees.

    Repousse - 6.jpg
    Because the copper was a lot thicker than I was expecting I decided that I’d try experimenting with some scrap first. Fortunately the state of Indiana digitally prints our car license plates on .025” aluminum sheet and they send us new ones every other year, and since I don’t like the idea of just throwing them away I have several on hand to use for learning.

    I cut one in half which gave me two 6×6” squares… Boy am I glad that I did this because I was rudely reminded that a 6” x 6” square is not 6” across the diagonal of the square… it’s actually about 8.5”. So after some trimming I ended up with a piece that was about 5”x4.5”, drew my pattern on it and got it into the pitch, now I just need to wait for it to cool so I can start hammering away.

    Repousse - 8.jpg

    ~~ End of first entry originally posted on February 23, 2014
  4. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    Thanks for posting this, IMI.

    How do you eventually get it out of the pitch - some sort of release agent?
  5. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    I'll do my best to copy over the next post later today (Thursday)
  6. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    First Tulips… Beginning…

    So… I think I’m glad that the chasing tools that arrived are square. It seems much easier to guide them than what I think it would be if they were round. I do find myself already thinking that I’ll need some smaller liners though…

    I’m also glad that I went ahead and got the chasing hammer instead of making do with one of my planishing hammers. I can’t imagine what my forearm would feel like if I was tapping with something heavier all evening! Now I’m already thinking that I’m going to have to get one of those flexible/springy Osage Orange wood hammers.

    I feel like for my first time, I made reasonable progress though. I have finished the first pass of lining and will dig the piece out, clean, and anneal it again, and set it back in the pitch tomorrow to start the other side (repousse right?).

    Repousse - 10.jpg

    Repousse - 11.jpg

    I’ve been called, well… really detail oriented… in the past and I think this looks like it may be a good hobby for me.

    ~~ End of second entry originally posted on February 23, 2014
  7. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    I wonder what was really said???:laugh:

    Really, same for me.

    I agree about the square handles. I bought a few cheap (thank goodness not many) decorative stamps/punches with round shafts. What a pain; especially ones that have a directional design.

    What are the Osage Orange handled hammers? I had no idea they used this wood for that, sounds interesting. I'll google it.
  8. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    They are higher end chasing hammers. The heads are pretty standard shapes, but the Osage Orange wood is pretty flexible so it makes a sort of springy hammer. Still haven't bought one but would love to have one because they are supposed to take a lot less energy to keep the tapping going because of the rebound from the hammer handle.

    Saign Chastain has a video series of how he made his, and he used to sell them but I don't know if he still does. Here is a video that he made on how to select a hammer:

  9. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    That looks like a great hammer.

    I have a moderately priced chasing hammer but I don't use it as much as my other hammers. I splurged on Fretz hammers for my most used planishing, raising, etc. hammers, and then buy cheapies for other uses and grind and polish them into what I want them to be.

    If you are interested in a higher end hammer, you might take a look at Fretz if you haven't already. The handles are paduk rosewood (some recycled wood, one of mine is) and are very comfortable and responsive. They have several types and sizes of chasing hammer and run around $50-55. Since you have it in your hand so much I can see why it would be worth the expense....you don't want to end up with carpal tunnel syndrome!
  10. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    Yeah I paid like $7 for the one I have right now. I have to actually produce a couple of pieces before I can sneak a $50 hammer into the house :rolleyes:
  11. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    First Tulips… Removing from Pitch

    Well it’s been a long day here, but I was able to remove the piece from the pitch pot. I think that I tore a bit of aluminum on the side with my chisel when trying to break off the overlapping chunks of pitch, but it’s way at the edge so hopefully it wont impact the final piece.

    Repousse - 12.jpg
    After that though I heated up the pitch a bit so that I could more easily left the piece from the pitch, and now it is out but completely covered by a layer of pitch on the back side.

    Repousse - 13.jpg
    Now I just have to figure out the best way to salvage all that good pitch from the backside…

    ~~ Originally posted on February 25th, 2014
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  12. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    The suspense is killing me (and that's not sarcasm!!) regarding removal of the piece from the pitch and pitch from the piece. I've watched a woman on YouTube......she turns the opposing corners up and down to both hold the piece in the pitch, and give two corners to grab to pull it out of the pitch:

    I thought I remembered her using a release agent---some kind of oil or something to give it some slip. Maybe I saw that somewhere else.
  13. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    I've watched her videos. Really wish she had done more.
  14. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    First Tulips… First Flip - Part 1

    So, at the end of the last update I closed by saying that I just needed to figure out a way to recover all the good pitch from the backside of the piece… well easier said than done. I tried using a heat gun to heat up the pitch until it flowed off the piece, but that was way too slow… I mean way friggin slow… did I mention that it was slow? So after wasting a considerable amount of my time, I decided that the 10 cents worth of pitch I’d save was worth less than my time and I decided to dunk it in a nice fresh acetone bath! Thirty seconds later and a little rubbing with an acetone rag to get into the nooks and crannies, and I had a nice clean piece.

    Repousse - 14.jpg

    Repousse - 18.jpg

    Repousse - 19.jpg

    Also as mentioned previously… I was pretty sure that I had ripped a hole in the piece of aluminum when using a chisel to break off the layer of pitch overlapping the edge of the piece. A quick peek at the suspect corner after cleaning off the pitch revealed… drumroll please… a big gaping hole. Now, in all fairness, my chisels are wood chisels and thus are sharp, so I either need to get a different chisel, or grind down the edge of one of my nicked ones…

    Repousse - 20.jpg

    After all that digging, heating, and cleaning I realized that the piece was nowhere near flat anymore, so a wee bit o’ planishing for a few minutes and now I have a nice flat piece to set back into the pitch bowl.

    Repousse - 21.jpg

    Repousse - 22.jpg

    Before placing the piece back into the pitch, I needed to anneal the aluminum. I broke out the propane torch and started heating away. I knew from last time that I was not looking for a red glow this time (or any glow for that matter) so I watched really closely for any signs of warping or bending, and quick as a flash the heat bent that sucker again.

    Repousse - 23.jpg

    Repousse - 24.jpg

    After bending it back into shape and another round of light planishing to smooth everything out again, I noticed that not only had the heat “melted” the corner, but it made the aluminum sort of bubble up. Since I still have a lot of work to do with the chasing tools, I figure that these bubbles will work themselves out, but I think I’m looking forward to working with a heavier weight material next time!

    Repousse - 25.jpg

    ~~ Part 1 of this post was originally published on March 2, 2014
  15. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    First Tulips… First Flip - Part 2

    Now that the piece is flat again, I start heating up the pitch knowing that I need to put some on what was the front, and is now the back, which has the first set of chased lines on it when I think to myself: “I have a bunch of pitch flakes from when I broke up the brick of pitch. I bet it would be really easy to fill in those lines by rubbing some flakes in them”. This worked great for the first pass so I put on some more to get them to fill in evenly and flow together creating a sort of convex layer over the original lines which should make it easier to make sure no air pockets get trapped under the piece.

    Repousse - 26.jpg
    Unfortunately some ideas sound like genius when you come up with them, only to be realized as stupidity when put into practice (which is why more and more engineers are being brought into the test implementation phases of the products that they design…). I say this, because as I continued to heat up the metal, all those little flecks of pitch started to bubble. So, instead of dealing with a couple of air pockets, I suddenly had to deal with hundreds of small bubbles!

    Repousse - 27.jpg
    Anyway, I finally have the piece turned over and planted back into the pitch. I decided not to dogear the corners again fearing that the thin aluminum would start to tear after a few flips in the pitch, and it didn’t make sense to do it now if I was just going to stop next flip anyway.

    Repousse - 28.jpg
    After learning a LOT of lessons with these FIRST couple of stages of the chasing and repousse process, I’m glad that I started my first project using scrap aluminum as an accelerated learning tool (kind of what I imagine kids at Catholic schools remember fondly as the proverbial ruler snap) assuming… no, hoping…. that working with copper is going to be easier (insert crossed fingers emoticon here) than working with aluminum.

    ~~ Part 2 of this post was originally published on March 2, 2014
  16. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    Oh man --- I promise you it is. Aluminum is a different animal. I've only used it a little, with riveting work. It's sort of brittle compared to copper or anything with copper in it I use (sterling, brass, bronze). You will not believe how malleable copper will be.... You will love it!

    Edit: I keep forgetting that you did this quite a while ago. Probably already discovered copper by now - duh
  17. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    Unfortunately I have the copper, but anytime I have been able to start there are people home all day and the constant tink tink tink of the hammer and chisel drives them nuts.

    Biding my time till the end of August because I'm planning to get started on something again. Will post up the next blog entry soon.
  18. Lisa66

    Lisa66 Read my blips

    Heh-heh, I can relate. When I get on a roll, spouse gets woken up late at night (two floors above) by bam-bam-bam on an anvil. I look forward to when you get back into it!
  19. InMyImage

    InMyImage Geeky blip :) Staff Member

    Yeah, I'm interested in doing some forging sometime, but don't know that my neighborhood is really the best place for it...

    I have some firebrick that you can see in some of the pictures and have a propane flamethrower weed burner from Harbor Freight that works really well to heat metal up :)

    I'd really like to make damascus steel, but not something I'll ever have access to the power hammers or presses required to do even small pieces.
  20. cherrycakes

    cherrycakes The struggle is real

    Fuck man. I need some kind of creative outlet like this to keep me from going insane. Yesterday I made some diy laundry detergent lol. Mostly I've been too tired and in pain to knit or make soap or bake or do anything that requires getting out of bed....

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