Repoussé VIII: Filing, polishing, grinding and finishes

This is a continuation of the writings of French repoussé master, Nahum Hersom. ((My corrections or additions are in double parenthesis…otherwise all are as written by Nahum.))

Filing and Tools

Best files for leaf work are 1/2 round 4″. Make second cut with point end not over 1/8″ wider.  Use filing boards held in Vise jaws to hold leaf work against various sizes and shapes.  When filing, only push file, do not scrub.  Also rotate file back and front when doing round corners.  In small corners, use a long taper round file 4″ long.  (Explain((ation of)) how to make file handles.)  File handle and cutter blade with clearance.  Cut straight part of handle to caliper size.  Put 1/2 – 3/4 EMT Bands on to keep handle from splitting.  Cutter blade 3/32 or 1/8 thick HC steel can be hand power hack saw blade or circular saw blade ground to shape.  Turn on metal lathe.

Polish, grinding, tumbling

Hammer heads, under tools.  After forging and annealing grind face with sand belt machine.  Use 120 grit or well worn 80 grit.  Do not use too course to begin with as it will put deep scratches which will be hard to remove.  I use finer grit belts or other mounted wheels as necessary.

Other Finishes

Burnishing wheel with hard steel tool.  Steel wool or kitchen Brillo Pads or Chore girl nylon pads.  Acid cleaning, chemicals, Wire brush, Cotton Buffs w/compound.  Cratex wheels.  Resin bonded thin wheels.  Cone lock wheel C 2″ wide paper.

When using torch cut steel, be sure to grind off all torch cut marks before tempering or even forging, as torch cut lines may start cracks in tool.

To make your own sand belts, use metal shop roll and carpenters glue.

Tumbling leaves in a tumbler with medium sand will often be necessary when paint is to be applied.  however, for work that is to be natural, as heat coloring, tumbling with punch slugs from an iron worker or wire brushing will give a smoother surface.

((End of this section))

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  1. Eric Stengel - February 12, 2015 Reply

    Crazy I received this text while studying Colnik at Villa Terrace. No joke.
    Sent from my iPhone
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