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how does one flatten the metal backing after cutting?

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Author Topic: how does one flatten the metal backing after cutting?  (Read 1001 times)
bilquest
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« on: March 25, 2013, 02:54:31 pm »

I've been playing around with making some bezel cups and mounting a few stones. I know it takes practice, but what is a suggested technique for flattening the backing metal? After I use the shears to cut the shape, the metal always curls. The only way I've found to flatten the metal again is by lightly tapping with a hammer (tried both chasing hammer and rawhide mallet) on a flat steel block. Only problem is that it leaves little hammer marks in the metal that I can't seem to remove with sanding.
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Mark
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 03:20:23 pm »

Exactly why i don't use shears and only cut all my metal with a jewelers saw.  Jewelers with really good skill (lots of practice) can make metal do whatever they want and get away without much in the way of marks too.  So i would do all my cutting with a saw if you don't want a lot of bent metal.  You can use shears if you cut way away from where your borders are and then grind or file down the metal till you get to the border.  I think its much easier to use a saw.

Mark
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Haderly
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 03:23:08 pm »

If you are leaving marks you might be hitting it a bit hard. My rawhide hammer does not leave marks that I cannot sand out so I am thinking the metal might be a bit hard and requiring to much persuasion from your hammer. I would try annealing the piece so you can be a little more gentle. You can also cover it with a piece of leather to help cushion the hammer blows.

I also agree with Mark that it is best to use a saw to get to your final shape. Shears should only be used to get large sheets down to a manageable size.
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RegisG
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 03:51:20 pm »

A couple questions/answers.
It would be good to know what method(s) you are currently using.
Are you annealing before you draw-up the sides? If not, then anneal.  
I'd suggest drawing up your vertical sides in in 2 steps with annealing in between.
I'd lay metal on very hard flat surface and hold down just inside the bezel area you are raising.
If you are hammering the bezel down around a dowel/dap then I would put that down securely against solid surface and lift your edge before hammering.  
This should leave you with noting needing flattened.

Just some thoughts.
RG
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deb193
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 04:10:20 pm »

not sure he is raising a bezel.

do you just mean getting the back plate flat before soldering on bezel wire?

of so, flat anvil surface and rawhide hammer. should not leave marks if anvil has no marks
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 04:16:23 pm »

I use shears because my saw skills are lacking.
After I cut out my backer, anneal, quench and place on my bench block.  I use a 4" X 4" piece of oak placed over my backer and hammer the wood - flip backer and repeat.
Flat and ready to solder bezel.
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Nancie
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hulagrub
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 05:36:20 pm »

I put it between 2 steel blocks with a wood block on top of the top steel block and WHAM the heck out it.
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Dave, a certified Rockaholic

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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 06:04:26 pm »

I have a flatter. Don't know what that is? It's a top tool used by blacksmiths that is used to smooth out iron or steel to remove hammer marks in sheet or bar stock. I sold all my top tools a couple of years ago for blacksmithing but long before that I had made one just for my silver work. I got a auto body hammer something like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Auto-Body-Hammer-Mechanics-Tool-Sheet-Metal-Hammer-/400441531586?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d3c2cdcc2 and I polished on face flat and with a high mirror polish on it. The the other side is struck with a rawhide mallet. This flattens out the metal very nicely and leaves hardly a mark. A very handy tool to have. I also use it to flatten out twisted wire and other odd jobs that require leaving no hammer marks or the removal of said hammer marks. Just be sure to hold it tight to the metal and don't let it come up off the surface between blows or you may as well be striking it with the flatter. Remember it is a struck tool, not a striking tool.
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RegisG
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 06:21:48 pm »

Rock it, I did mis- understand thinking "cup" like the commercial ones you buy made in a press.   headbang118
Your process with 2 blocks, one wooden should not mar your surface, especially if they are very flat and smooth.  Are you using very thin silver like 28 or 30 guage?  There seems to be a relationship between sice of setting and thickness of metal.  If I were making a setting such as 30x40mm, I would have a lot of difficulty cleanly flatening if I used thiner than about 22 or maybe 24 guage.  Not sure what size you are doing.  Otherwise it seems your setup is ok although I do like that flatener that bentiron mentioned. 
How is your annealing temp?  Black or red marker across metal and heat until just after mark disappears. Works for me when in too much light. 
I'm not much help but, tossing out few ideas that might help.

RG
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milto
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 07:36:53 pm »

practice sawing, the way to go in my opinion.Shears are fine if you like filing.

milto
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Debbie K
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 09:28:18 pm »

My friends laugh at me and think that I'm OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as heck, but I polish all my tools. All my hammer faces have mirror finishes, I polish my pliers and my anvils. They get messed up again, and I polish again. I did the same thing with my wood carving tools, sharpening and polishing. My husband would come home and catch me polishing and would say "OH, NO, not again". The polishing will go on for days and rust and dings are the enemy. BUT ... I don't leave marks on the metal. If you're making dings, you're not hitting the metal with the flat of the hammer, you're catching some of it with the edge. You can reshape the hammer face where it doesn't have the sharp edges and it really helps. Take it down about 5 degrees from the center and see if it helps.

Debbie K
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hulagrub
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 09:31:30 pm »

RG, you anneal first and have used on 20 and up. Charlotte learned this trick in her class at William Holland school. And it works!
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bilquest
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 10:03:20 am »

Thank you all! I've got some new things to try. To answer your questions, I'm not raising a bezel cup, just preparing the backing prior to soldering the bezel wire. I have tried several gauges of metal from 20 to 28... most recently silver-filled 20 gauge (it was a bear to cut with the shears, I think I'll try sawing that next time.) But for the thinner sheets I'll try the anneal/block/sandwich method.
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Bentiron
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 05:24:44 pm »

Debbie K., I'm with you on the polishing thing! All my hammer faces are as my son likes to say "good enough to pop zits in". I kind a cringe when I see folk sinking or raising silver with and unpolished hammer face and then complain that there is so much work left to clean it up. If they would only polish up the hammer, stakes and anvils then most of the work is already done by those tools and all you need to do is wash them with soap and water and a final polish with a silver polishing cloth and your done. I also get a little upset when folks sand something down and get it about half way done and then throw it in a tumbler with steel shot and think that they are done. Then all you have is a bunch of very well polished scratches.
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Debbie K
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 05:38:54 pm »

Bentiron:

Although they make fun of me, they also try to walk away with my hammers! I've had to start engraving them to keep them from disappearing.

Debbie K
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