In the following video Mark Nelson demonstrates the use of a simple fold-forming technique to create a sculptural three-dimensional form in silver:
Would you like to experiment with fold forming and try your hand at the project featured in the video? Following is a list of supplies and a step-by-step guide:
Items used during this segment:
|6″ Argentium® 930 Silver sheet, 24ga||103-224|
|.999 fine silver sheet (6” x 2″), 26 ga., dead soft||101-926|
|Fretz Silversmith’s narrow raising hammer||112-463|
|Friedrich Dick flat hand file||114-702|
|Friedrich Dick half-round ring hand file||114-706|
|Butane refill cartridge||500-181|
|Blazer butane torch||500-230|
|Foldforming by Charles Lewton-Brain||550-854|
|Tweezers, Fiber-grip, cross-lock||115-051|
|Soft tool (chopstick)||—|
Preparing the fine silver sheet:
- Using an annealed 2″ x 3″ piece of 24- or 26-gauge metal, fold it in half the long way over the edge of a table or anvil.
- With the metal folded, hammer the piece flat with a rawhide mallet or nylon hammer.
- Draw an arc along the open length of your folded metal with a Sharpie® marker (see right). Cut along the marking with shears.
- Lay the piece of folded metal along the anvil so the drawn arc is facing inward.
- Using the small, narrow side of a cross-peen hammer, strike the folded edge of the metal at a 90° angle and overlap each blow. Starting in the middle and moving toward the end of the piece, hammer the folded metal about half-way across (don’t strike the interior edge). Turn the piece once and repeat this process on the other side of the folded metal.
- Once the metal curls up a bit at the ends, flatten the piece by using a regular hammer.
- Please Note: Wear safety glasses. Using a butane torch, fire the piece on a Solderite™ board until it reaches a dull shade of red, except when using 22KY gold-bonded Argentium® (refer to the instructions for annealing Argentium®, available from Rio Grande Technical Support or at our website).
- Let the piece cool and then quench it in water.
Completing the process:
- Repeat all the above steps on the same piece until you have achieved a curl to your liking.
- Insert a knife blade into the metal’s gap where the opening of the fold occurs.
- With a soft tool such as a chopstick, widen the opening until you can no longer fit the tool inside the gap.
- To add more dimension or “puffiness” to your piece, use your fingers to twist and bend the curl inward.
If you like to explore fold forming in greater depth, be sure to check out Charles Lewton-Brain’s beautiful book on the subject. Also, be sure to share your fold-forming adventures with us!