Metalworking Techniques

The techniques of metalworking follow the same principles, whether the scale of design is industrial or sculptural, or even at the tiny scale of a ring or a pair of earrings. Furthermore, many of the basic techniques also relate to work in other media. Engraved plates, for example are used in printing, and ideas such as applique and repousee can be used in media as different as textiles and ceramics. If you would like to see examples of metal arts by contemporary craftsman, try this link. For more large scale examples, try this link .

Alloy A mixture of metals having different properties (color, melting point, malleability) from the component pure metals. Common alloys include the following: Brass (copper and zinc); Bronze (90% copper and 10% tin); Pewter (90% tin, 10: copper); and Sterling (silver and copper).

Annealing The process of heating work-hardened metal in order to restore its malleability.

Applique The technique of creating a design by soldering or granulating cut-out shapes of sheet metal to another metal surface.

Casting The process of shaping a molten metal by means of a mold.

Chasing A technique for surface embellishing of metal accomplished by driving pointed tools into the metal.

Enameling The fusing of a glassy substance onto metal. Enamels are combinations of flux and metal oxides (for color). Cloisonne is one of the better known enamel techniques.

Forging Hammering metal on an anvil or form in order to shape, thin, or stretch it.

Granulation A type of surface treatment in which small metal beads or wires are fused onto a metal foundation, or to one another. Can be done in gold or silver.

Malleability The degree to which a metal is capable of being extended or shaped by forging or stretching, without cracking or breaking.

Piercing Sawing lines or designs into sheet metal.

Raising Forging sheet metal so as to shape it into 3-dimensional objects.

Repousee A technique of pushing metal out from its reverse side using hammers and punches in order to create a low relief design on the front.

Reticulation The fusing or melting of a metal surface to create texture.

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