The time I bashed the life out of it and what happened after…
Working with metal is a funny thing and raising really stretched (pun intended, hoho) and I was surprised what I thought metal was capable of. If you’re not familiar with the concept of raising, I wrote a post earlier in the year about it when I first started learning how to raise back in term 1. For a very short intro, it’s basically bashing an circular piece of metal with a hammer, over a particular shaped stake, until the metal forms into a specific shape. Now, I know that it might sound mighty tiring and perhaps you’re thinking you need a lot of strength to do it too. I mean come on, aren’t you bashing a piece of metal until it turns into whatever shape you’re wishing it to become? BUT this actually isn’t true. As with most things (if not all things in the jewellery making world), it’s all about your technique more so than brute strength. So lucky for me, at the end of term 2 when I finally finished my bowl (yay!) my right arm didn’t turn into a mega muscly hulk arm. :)
So after a couple of rounds repeating the raising process in part 1 until the the sides of my bowl are at the right height of the template I made, it’s time to start planishing. Yay!
1) Planishing involves placing the bowl onto a stake and hammering out the previous raising hammer marks to get a smooth surface on the outside and inside too. I had to divide the bowl into segments and use a planishing hammer to hammer each individual segment from the centre of the top of the bowl to the bottom edge right around the bowl and then planish again in a spiral formation from the centre of the top, winding down towards the edge in a swirl.
I found the whole planishing process very soothing. It hardly requires any strength and it’s just tapping the surface to flatten out the previous raising hammer marks. It was nice to just bust out some music via my headphones and tap, tap away in the hammer room and seeing the mosaic tile look expand.
2) Providing that I planished it consistently all around and didn’t miss any spots, I was ready to move on to clean up after a quick check up with my teacher. (Of course I was ready, cos I had done such a meticulous planishing job 😋) Clean up involved filing the outside of the bowl smooth, (to remove all the planishing marks), emerying up to 600 grit and polishing of the inside of the bowl to 320 grit.
The filing was tricky, mainly because the bowl was such an awkward shape to hold onto. I knew that I would definitely grip onto the thing tightly, because the last thing I wanted was for the bowl to slip from my grip and fall spectacularly to the ground to form a bit fat dent. After many hours hammering away, raising that thing, there was NO WAY I was going to go back to fix it… but luckily, after developing a hella strong vice grip and thinking that I might get an arm cramp from gripping it so tightly the filing was finished. *phew*
The emerying process is pretty slow and boring… emerying is just using “sandpaper” for metal to make the surface smoother and shinier as you go up the grits… so starting from 180 (the roughest grit), it was a slow slog up to 240, 360, 400 and finally 600. *ick*
3) After clean up, it was time for the bowl to become nice and shiny on the polishing wheel. So this was just after an initial polish with tripoli. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing highly reflective metal things… something about the fact it’s so reflective and shiny makes it highly mesmerising… is it just me?