air hammer, and small bowls, but not at the same time.

This machine is an air compressor. Not mine but one day i idly commented i wouldn't mind having a go with one, and an air hammer. A dangerous thing round some people i know. yes he had one and i could use it, initially at my shed but i pointed out the dammed thing is huge and heavy, so i volunteered to use it round his shed/workshop.  This thing would be great if you wanted to rivet up a ship but its old cranky and i'm pretty sure its supposed to use oil in its lines, though the owner denied all knowledge of oil and its use. Notice also the use of two tobacco tins as air filters!

Here's the air hammer and the poor bit of copper i tried it on. It had a rudimentary flat chisel in it , far to small and far to rough for what i might need but it gave me the idea. He originally used it for making 200 large copper nails. He repairs wooden boats etc. Impressions are, it not as noisy as i expected, it jumps like a very jumpy thing, its stoke is very short and its easy to work harden the copper to the point of tearing it. Interesting experiment, but hand hammering is where its at!

Here's one of the small bowls i made about 6 to 5 inches across...made i must add entirely by hand.

another one, tattoo inspired again...


last one... its hard to get em even this round!

This is one of the three hens that live in our tiny garden, well they actually live in our garden and next doors too, but he likes hens...She just decided to get in the way of me taking the above pics...thing about hens is, they are dim but endearing, and are convinced that you have the best food where ever you are, so they tend to follow me round and try their best to get in the shed and then eat all sorts of unsuitable things.

car fixed, more copper bashing...

The car is fixed, and it was what i thought it was, gear box bearing broken up.. anyway its fixed now.
Here is the mask again, a little more bashed, when doing this sort of tortured copper work i feel its important to make sure its well softened at all times, also it gives me a rest!

MR BLOBY!, sort of looks like a face looming out of fog. That's my thumb there, the wife says its deformed but it a family thumb i call it evolved!

From the back it looks less deep, but you can see how difficult it is the tell just how much hammer to give it.

Now i've cut it out to get rid of the excess. Notice i heat it on the rail line anvil, but balanced on some bits of heat proof and insulating board. Otherwise it takes and age to get red hot as the rail leeches the heat away quickly.

Hummm, i'm not sure its finished yet but its looking good i think. Its here in the house now while i contemplate what to do with it.

And on to the other sheet, i set out four six inch squares (ish) and punched each centre so i could scribe with my dividers six inch circles.

Cut out, i showed the partially cut out circles to the wife but she vetoed my idea of bashing out a pair of comedy breasts....everyone's a critic ah.

Here's one of the bowls, it really hard to get small bowls round i find. Especial with this thick stuff to work with. I'm doing some tattoo inspired designs on these.

I rather like the old school tats. Hearts flowers and daggers!

More copper off cuts, more walking

Car is still sick so i walked up the industrial estate and got another couple of bits of "off cut" copper, again about a mill, 'cos i never learn. Anyway, to compound my stupidity i have decided bowls can rest for a few days and i'd do something newish. I decided to do a mask, you might recognise it. Printed out and stuck down with PVA i didn't feel like drawing it all out. I bashed through the paper with the lining chisel and small hammer to get the outline.

Then burned it off (its what he would have wanted).. Looks creepy ah.

But not half as creepy as.....

 When its ashes.. anyway the lines came out Ok, and yes its supposed to be fat looking, its flat and will end up curved to wrap round a face...

After a bit of hammering, looks like the poor chap has a allergy problem, but that can be sorted out. I do feel that maybe this wont work, or its beyond my skill set. Ever regret starting something? I did about half way today, but being a bit dim i carried on anyway. I can always hammer it flat again, maybe....

Blue bird / swallow

I'm quite pleased with the blue bird design, so i had a pewter bowl i made a few weeks ago when bored. Drew on a bird. Got the hammers and plasticine.

Bit dark i know. Boys is pewter soft after a few copper bowls, like hitting cheese! I had to bash it back down on a flat surface to get the base back to where it should be.

Top tip though, to get the eye, punch it back with a round punch to sink it in, then punch it back out from the back. That gives it a nice outline rather than just a soft swell out.

The Heart bowl

In which our hero (thats me that is!) finds out why bowls are generally round... I cut out a heart shape from that copper sheet i acquired, oh its so shiny! Red hot, i didn't dunk it in water, but feeling like i needed a rest, i left it to cool all by it's self, the theory being it causes less lumpy surface oxidation...well, and i get to drink more tea.

Big 'ammer does it work on the sand bag and tree stump, and it is indeed still smooth, though the shine is from vinegar and wire wool, it is smoother than normal. Notice the crease at the top, which is unavoidable. Normally a bowl is hammered round and round. But this isn't round so i had to work out a way of hammering in spirals to get the shape.

I hammered it all over on the anvil/rail line to dimple it all over. At the moment i find the effect very pleasing, but its noisy and hard work, so i might well go off the effect!

Notice how hammering stretches it and the induced stress makes it curl up like an old crisp, i can almost hear it scream. Playing the torch on it you can see it relax and ease back to soft.

Here i'm half way through rolling the edge. Stiffens it all up a lot. Doing the top bit was hard work too.... bowls should be round!

I have been looking at old time tattoos for ages. I like their old folksy drawing. So I drew a couple of blue birds on in the tattoo style and did the old hammer dance front and back....

Shallow again, and i've painted on some blackening solution i usually use for pewter. It goes sort of dark purple. Scrubbed up with wire wool, polished with Renaissance wax...

oh yes i thought the bottom bit looked to empty so i bashed in a heart...

horses again again

Here the horses are again, now cleaned of its green, and flamed, and wire wooled to brightness on the high bits....

Close up i think it looks good...

Shallow i know, not just because the copper is three times as thick as i'm used to, honest!

Horses the story so far....

New copper is odd, the green patina was fairly nasty, and an awful lot of it just fell off. So i stripped it and scrubbed it with wire wool and vinegar to make it shiny, and left it to mature a while. It looks better too.. pics soon...

Horses, with patina, so far.

Latter on its gone very green, though for some reason some of the background is very resistant to wetting. Polished copper seems to shed liquids very easily and absorb oils etc...i might have to wash it with meths or something.

Luckily Lidl's has a garden sale yesterday so i was able to get more "super secret patina solution" Its odd it seems to work best on raw copper that been left a time to mature or develop a little oxidation.


The poor old car is in dock possibly, its uneconomic to fix. So i had to walk five miles to the Metals place to sort through their offcuts. I did find two 12" square copper off cuts though. I had a choice of 1.2mm or 0.9 mm i went of my arms sake for the thinner. so day before yesterday i started another bowl. Bright isn't it! Posh copper comes with protective plastic sheet. Those dividers, i bought for a couple of quid at a Steam Show, they are stamped 1941, while bombs fell someone made those, so its my duty to keep using them.
It comes "half hard" as its rolled flat, so it work hardens, so i had to get it red hot after cutting it. That puts paid to its shine.

I bashed it out with Big'Ammer on the tree stump. Shallow as i wanted to make a design that showed all on the inside rather than on the sides, here i have also hammered it all over with my best hammer to give an all over dimpled finish. This makes it curl up somewhat, so it need annealing again. Before the rubber hammer sets it back to a bowl shape.

And there it is bowl shaped once more, with its edge rolled neatly! 

There's those lovely colours again. I really wish they could be made to stay....i have found no way to achieve that.

A cup of tea in a freezing shed and i drew a couple of horses on it, plasticine on the back means my thumbs hurt now, but it was ready for a bashing.

Now its out lined from the front. This copper forms nicely, seems easier than the really old (1940's 50's) copper i used before. Maybe modern production makes it purer or it changes over time.  There's the chisel used for lining and the small but non posh hammer i generally use, it about the right weight but its ugly.

More tea! OK so i took of the plasticine and scrubbed the back with wire wool, to bring out the lines. Filled it with plasticine. And commenced bashing. I used a flat domed punch so as not to destroy the hammered finish to much. And it is important not to over do it, it need to be shallow not a huge lump in the bowl.

Now it looks very shallow but that just right. Look the sun came out briefly.

Scrubbed with vinegar and salt and wire wool, the copper shows very pink. Ready for "super secret patina solution", well almost. I painted the horses with wax polish and a paint brush. So the solution wouldn't effect those parts. So far So good.