Sunday, April 19, 2009

Forging a new trail...or making the cats deaf

Today I completed a piece using forged wire. I have to admit that forging is not my strongest skill as a silversmith, but I really enjoyed the challenge, although I don't think our cats were too keen on the loud ping ping ping of the hammer.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, forging is the process of shaping metal--typically wire--into the desired shape by hammering it on an anvil. It is a distinct skill from fabrication, which is the process of cutting, bending, soldering etc. Forging metal requires special hammers with highly polished surfaces. Striking the metal repeatedly with careful blows, you push the metal and shape it. Sounds easy, but it isn' least if you want to do anything more complex than flattening the end of a wire.

Anyway, I decided to make a pendent from a drawing I had lying around for months--a gentle "S" curve with a semi-circle cabachon nestled at the bottom. Webought this beautiful moss agate at a local gem and jewelry show and it inspired the drawing. Looking at that drawing I knew that as slender and long as the "S" was, the only viable solution was to forge a length of Sterling silver wire. Forging has the benefit of "work hardening" the metal. As you strike it, the molecules realign in a way that makes the metal more rigid. This is why forging was the solution for this project. You will see what I mean when you view the image at the bottom of this post.

I am sure a forging master could have whipped this piece out in a matter of minutes, but it took me considerably longer, but I am pleased with the result. I call it Silver Swing (Thanks Lisa for the name!) Silver Swing is available at our Etsy store, so check it out.



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