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December 10, 2018, 09:19:20 am
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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)
Helene
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 08:53:06 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.


Dave I'm with you.  That's my method also.  It has two functions.  A perfectly flat sheet of metal and the added bonus, I get to smack something.    saved2
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Bentiron
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« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2013, 02:45:16 pm »

That was one of the things that first attracted me to metalsmithing, blacksmithing in particular, I got to beat the crap out of something without getting into trouble. bricks
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hulagrub
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« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2013, 06:51:56 pm »

Yes, getting to wham on something is cool!
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Dave, a certified Rockaholic

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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2013, 12:12:02 am »

Time to resurrect this old thread, because I have an answer that never got provided last spring.

How do you flatten the backing sheet before soldering on the bezel?  You don't.

If you are making a bezel cup, say, 10 x 12 mm, you cut a rectangular sheet for the backing, say 12 x 14 mm. Because the sheet was cut rectangular, all the cuts are straight, and the sheet does not curl except a very slight amount at the corners, which do not matter.



This is the very same rectangle of sheet, and you can see that the bezel sits flush all the way around the perimeter, even though the corners are slightly curled.



 Next, you solder on the bezel. If there is a slight curl in the sheet, it normally goes away quickly as you heat the sheet and bezel with your torch, annealing the sheet in the process. Often you can watch the sheet "settle" onto the soldering block as you heat it.  When your solder runs between the sheet and bezel by capillary action, it sucks the soft sheet up to the back of the bezel wire, and all is flat as the piece cools. From here, I throw the bezel cup, complete with the rectangular sheet soldered to the bezel, into the pickle.

When I pull it out of the pickle and rinse it, I then use shears to trim the sheet from around the bezel wire, being careful not to mar the bezel wire in the process. In this photo you can see the bezel and sheet before soldering, another (with a twisted wire around this bezel cup) being trimmed with the shears, a third cup showing the slight edges of sheet still protruding after trimming, and a fourth cup (upside down) after filing. When you are comfortable with your shears and files, this trimming and filing process takes literally seconds.



That's the method my mentor used for quick production. I've repeated it thousands of times. The only slightly tricky part is holding the shears at just the right angle as you trim the waste sheet from around the bezel, to avoid biting into the bezel (or the twisted wire) as well as the sheet. When you do it right, it leaves a very slight edge on the sheet standing proud of the bezel, as shown in the photo above. A few seconds with a medium file makes quick work of that edge.

After the trimming, you are left with a scrap of silver "waste." I collect these trimmings and later melt them in to silver balls for decorating my pieces, or use them for casting.

By the time you have a bucket of trimmings like this, you will be quick and totally comfortable with your tools!



Never fear. Every scrap of those trimmings gets recycled into silver balls or cast ingots for making fresh sheet with a rolling mill.



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Goldsmithy
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2013, 05:39:32 am »

No one has mentioned using binding wire to secure the bezel and backing cup. Many times, especially with lighter gauges, you will never be able to get it flat enough to solder. All of the methods mentioned will flatten sheet to some degree, but not flat enough to solder. There should be no gaps at the joint  of the two.  Use binding wire to wire the two together, especially larger, lighter gauge pieces. Many times, without binding wire, the backing plate will flex when heated , making soldering impossible.

I use 20ga. stainless steel wire that I get at my local welding supply store. I have gone from the soldering pad to the pickle without removing the wire and my pickle doesn't get corrupted. I do not leave the item in the pickle with the binding wire attached. I will dunk the piece in the pickle, take it out and remove the biding wire, then the piece goes back into the pickle until all oxides have been removed (or at least as much as possible.
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Debbie K
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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2013, 07:01:11 am »

It's funny that you mentioned the stainless steel wire; I just got some a week ago and tried it this week. My understanding is that it doesn't solder to the piece the way iron binding wire does.

I learned a really useful trick years ago from an old guy who has been soldering since he was 12 years old. He takes regular straight pins, cuts the heads off of them, bends the top of them at almost 45 degrees then uses pliers to force them into fire bricks to hold things together. For example, he would press the pin in around the edge of the example Cowboy showed, pulling the bezel wire down to the sheet metal. It works wonderfully, and because they're so far away from the solder filet, I have yet to solder a pin to a piece.

I have found that it's better to spend 10 to 15 minutes setting up a piece to be soldered; pins, wires, cotter pins or whatever, than to have to do it over and over again. Maybe I'm just a really slow learner, but soldering has always been the thing that causes me the most trouble. Yellow ochre has also been my friend to keep solder from flowing places where it shouldn't.

Debbie K
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Goldsmithy
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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2013, 09:05:07 am »

Debbie...I have used that trick, except I am lazy. I went to a sewing store and bought a box of them :). Using this trick saved my butt quite a few times, especially when a customer was coming in the next day to pick up the item. 
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hulagrub
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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2013, 09:50:53 am »

The t-pins, were what was taught at William Holland, when my wife went to silversmithing school there. I prefer simplicity and just wham the sheet between the steel blocks, instant flat!
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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2013, 09:54:06 am »

I use a wrist pin from an old H-D 80" Shovel and a block of steel to roll the corners flat..................... hide
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2013, 07:17:51 pm »

Damn, if only I could fill a coffee bucket with silver shavings... what is that, like ten thousand dollars in spot silver?
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Isotelus
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« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2013, 05:52:41 pm »

Anneal the back plate well. Put it on an old steel surface plate work it with a clean flat faced rawhide mallet. I keep one of my raw hides just for this task it is a loaded type. Works for me anyways.
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Bryan
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« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2013, 04:52:14 pm »

After the horde of dogs ate my rawhide mallets I have switched to the newer plastic mallets, they work pretty well at this job too. I bought an inexpensive dead blow mallet and it really work great at flattening a small sheet as does the old fashioned set hammer that blacksmith use. I got out one of them, ground and polished it up to a mirror shine and it's just like having the two blocks of steel or wood except it has a handle and if my top blow is a little of course I never hit my fingers. Lots of ways to get a piece of silver flat again I've found. 
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helens
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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2013, 05:47:55 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

OK!!! THIS is what I want to know! HOW do you polish your tools to a mirror finish:)? Exact steps please:).
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helens
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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2013, 05:51:18 pm »

You guys are just a wealth of knowledge! Not that I intend to try silversmithing again anytime soon, but it's so neat to see how it can be done:).
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Debbie K
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« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2013, 06:38:22 pm »

Helen:

I file things first (if they need it, rusty tools for example often need to be filed, and I rescue a lot of garage sale finds), then sand with usually 100, 200, and 400 grit. At that point I usually polish with bobbing compound (which has a fair amount of abrasive), then white diamond and then red rouge. If a tool is really badly abused, it may take 2-3 cleanings to get it rust free. I always have a drawer of things in process that get sanded and polished in the next binge.

Anvils are the hardest things to work on, I find. I use a belt sander to get the dings out and then the steps listed above, using a hand sander with the finer grits since I can't find fine belts. Like I said in an earlier post, folks do make fun of me, but they also try to walk away with my tools. All of them are engraved with my initials just in case there's any dispute at a group activity about whose tool is who's. Living in humid east Texas and seeing so many tools rust and fall apart (my Dad and granddad were horrible about maintaining tools) I have come to see rust as the ever-present enemy. I try to protect things with a light wiping of oil and keep them looking as good or better than when they were new.

So few of my tools are new and I've restored most of my equipment myself. It astounds me that people take such poor care of things that they end up in such appalling condition; and these things were expensive when they were new. I wipe out my rock grinder every time I use it, and clean the bowl of my faceting machine and all the laps that I use. I just don't ever seem to straighten anything up; my studio always seems like a tornado hit it.

Debbie K
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