Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Chasing tools and tree stump

I have been doing a little bit of reading up on chasing and repousse
and think it might be the best way to make a piece a friend has
asked for. I have never done this before, nor seen it done. I
don’t have any chasing punches. I had a look in a jeweller’s
catalogue and saw that they have a set for sale but they don’t list
prices in that catalogue so I can only assume they probably cost a
fair bit. I saw instructions in one of the books on how to make
your own punches and I think I should be able to do that okay… so
it is probably my best option. The only thing I’m wondering is to
start out how many punches and of what shapes will I want? I know
it probably comes down to personal taste but for the moment I have
no taste as I’ve not done any of this work yet - is there maybe a
handful of important and universally used punch shapes?

Also, I am thinking about ways to minimise the noise of hammering in
my studio - mainly for the sake of my neighbours who are only
separated from me by internal plaster walls. My studio is in an old
building with a timber floor and I am on the third floor. I was
thinking of getting a tree stump and placing it in my room on the
floor where I can tell the support beam runs directly underneath - I
was thinking that by putting it over the support beam there
shouldn’t be too much reverberation. The only thing is, I know tree
stumps are quite heavy - would there be any danger of damaging the
floor? I could easily put a cloth underneath it to stop it from
scratching or staining the floor but I’m not sure that it wouldn’t
put undue strain on the floor - is this a dumb thought? The floor
in this building is heritage listed so I really can’t afford to
damage it.

Thanks all!
R.R. Jackson

Hello… In my experience with chasing and repouse I have always used
pitch along with a few standard chasing tools. To start I use a flat
thin rectangular ended tool to outline the design with the piece in
the pitch from the front. Then I work from the back (repouse) with a
more circular ended chasing tool and begin to push the shape forward.
Repeating these steps over and over until the desired height and
recess is achieved. I find that the flat rectangular ended tools are
easy to use for outline, and for flattening the area around the
design to keep it even. There are all different sizes of tools, it
just depends on the shape of your design which ones are more
suitable. Hope this helps. Oh and as far as the noise issue in your
apartment… this may sound odd, but carpet on your walls is a great
sound barrier and can actually look aesthetically pleasing.

Kristen

... I was thinking of getting a tree stump and placing it in my
room on the floor .... 

Hello RR,

I too have a stump in an old (150+ yrs) wood-floored building and
have neighbours that I need to keep happy.

My approach thus far (2 yrs now) has been to put my stump on a short
stack of folded carpets and blankets when I’m pounding away on it. I
figure if I can’t feel vibrations through the floor then there won’t
be much sound travelling through there either so … I work
bare-footed! Not all the time, just when I’m working at the stump.

The bare-feet-on-the-wooden-floor thing really puts you in touch with
how much vibration is making it through the blankets. With 8 or
twelve layers of carpeting/blankets/etc not much gets through. I
really have to pound the hell out of something in order to feel even
a ripple in the floor boards. And so far no complaints.

Of course the blankies under the stump doesn’t do much for the
airborne sound but that’s magnitudes less likely to irritate someone
than the floor boards vibrating like I’m running a pile-driver in
here. When I’m working on my big anvil or stakes I wrap the base of
them in a folded blanket too. That really cuts down on the ringing
and is only a minor inconvenience.

FWIW I was able to buy a 4-pack of used packing blankets like movers
use for under $20. They ain’t pretty but they are nice and thick.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light

 I am thinking about ways to minimise the noise of hammering in my
studio - mainly for the sake of my neighbours who are only
separated from me by internal plaster walls. 

Someone asked how to keep the noise down when hammering. One thing
one of the art centers around here does – and it helps a lot – is
this:

They’ve taken old jeans, cut them off below the knees, filled them
with sand. Then you put your steel block on top of that, and hammer
away.

It’s terrific! Might not help enough if you’re in a condo., but
works great at the art center.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Gene Olsen at Mettleworks.com

has been making sets of these and selling them -look at :
http://www.chriswilsonstudios.com/thestore.html

He has what would be considered a basic set. They are not hard to
make and can be cheap to make.

also see:

http://www.chasingmetal.com
http://www.valentinyotkov.com

for the RIGHT pitch see:

http://www.northwestpitchworks.com

You really should take at least a minimal class.

jesse

A tree stump is excellent for damping the sound of hammering. Marcia
Lewis wrote a good book abut ten years ago. The best pitch in my
opinion is from Seattle Pitch Works. It’s not petroleum based and is
a lot easier to clean up.

marilyn smith

Since nobody else has yet addressed this part of your question:

I think it is unlikely that your tree stump would be too heavy for
your floor. It is not really any heavier for its “footprint” than a
person, is it? If a large person giving someone a piggy-back ride
wouldn’t harm your floor, a stump sure won’t!

Since the stump, unlike a person, will stay in one spot, you could
both spread out the weight a little and address the hammering/noise
concern by following a suggestion that I think was posted here some
while back-- make/find a shallow wooden or other sturdy sand-tight
box, put a couple of inches of sand in it, and set your stump on
that.

–noel

.... you could both spread out the weight a little and address the
hammering/noise concern by following a suggestion that I think was
posted here some while back-- make/find a shallow wooden or other
sturdy sand-tight box, put a couple of inches of sand in it, and
set your stump on that. 

Not to be contrary but I’ve found that the sand trick helps but does
not solve the shock absorption problem. Unfortunately the sand gets
packed down and as it does so more and more of the force is
transferred through it into the floor below. Of course there may
still be enough of a deadening effect that it solves the problem in
that person’s particular case.

FWIW the hands-down best solution I’ve ever seen for this was a stump
sitting on a 6 inch slab of concrete that in turn sat on a 10 inch
layer of packing “popcorn” and the whole lot of it sat in a custom
made barrel-like enclosure. The concrete provided wonderful solidity
and stability for the stump. And the popcorn absorbed so much of the
shock that you could put a glass of water on the edge of the
enclosure and no matter how hard you hit the stump you’d barely get a
ripple on the glass of water. I’ve never felt quite this industrious
but it did allow the metal sculptor who built it work in an artist’s
studio building that had strict rules about such things.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light

Elaine - the jeans legs are a great idea. Thought I’d tell of another
idea along the same lines that we use at our Art Center studio here
in Florida. We bought cheap water bottles (rubbery) at a flea market
and filled with sand. Of course, you can buy leather sand bags, too -
just costs a lot more. We still have a problem with noise when using
the anvil on a stand. The best we’ve been able to do is is place
scrap carpeting under the stand. It isn’t the best solution, but
does help a little. Hope this helps someone or stimulates other
ideas.

Gini in sunny Florida where the temp is going to 80 degrees today!

We still have a problem with noise when using the anvil on a
stand. The best we've been able to do is is place scrap carpeting
under the stand.  It isn't the best solution, but does help a
little.

Gini, with my anvil I made a base from 3/4 inch plywood, basically a
box with a larger base than the top. It looks like a truncated
pyramid. I then sealed the seams with chaulking compound and filled
it with sand. The sand really deadens the ring of the anvil. Just
make sure you place the box at its resting place otherwise it is very
heavy to move.

Michael
@Michael_Knott

I have been following this a little and I am trying to figure out
why you want or need a tree stump. If all you are doing is chasing
and repouse’ you can get buy with a sturdy kitchen table. A nice
wooden one will work fine. I do not know what you plan on using for
the pitch and pitch bowl but the cast iron ones that you can buy
have a rubber ring the bowl sits on. The ring will help dampen most
of the noise, if any transmitted through the pitch. For a larger
bowl a piece of carpet or layers of cardboard will work. Heck your
hammer you will use is very light and all you will make is a lot of
tap tap tap noise. Now if you are going to mount a stake in the
stump and do some raising then you will have a noise factor. I would
worry more about how I am going to anneal and pickle the metal in
between the rounds of chasing, which I figure will be more of a
challenge in an apartment.

Warren Townsend


Trenton, MI 48183

I have been following this thread also regarding dampening the sound
for chasing and repousse. Pardon me but my chasing and repousse do
not make alot of noise. I do use a tree stump for raising and sinking
silver for holloware.

For repousse I use plasticene to hammer into and for repousse I use
a pitch pot with german (red) pitch sitting on a sand bag. Not very
much noise.

Jennifer Friedman
enamelist, jewelry artisan, ceremonial silver

I would worry more about how I am going to anneal and pickle the
metal in between the rounds of chasing, which I figure will be more
of a challenge in an apartment. 

Got a gas stove? If your piece isn’t too big, it will anneal just
fine in the burner flame. You can also melt little balls on the
ends of up to 16 gauge wire in that heat. An electric burner might
anneal small things, but I’ve never tried it.

Judy Bjorkman