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Creating variable thickness in wire


#1

This thread reminds me of a question I have had – does anyone know
how the Celts formed the tapered wires they used to create those
magnificent braided/twisted bracelets and torcs they made? Were the
individual wires all hammered out into tapers, or perhaps cast as
tapered? Is there any literature on this? Thanks in advance.

Judy Bjorkman


#2
   This thread reminds me of a question I have had -- does anyone
know how the Celts formed the tapered wires they used to create
those magnificent braided/twisted bracelets and torcs they made? 
Were the individual wires all hammered out into tapers, or perhaps
cast as tapered?  Is there any literature on this? 

My recollection is that these items were made before the advent of
the use of drawplates or rolling mills to make wire or sheet.
Everything was made with hammers… Wire could be made by chiselling
out a spiral shape from sheet, which became a crude wire, which then
could be refined with further hammering/forging. If the stuff is
made by forging in the first place, then a taper is no more
additional work.

I make larger size tapers by stepping a piece of wire down in the
square wire mill. the steps can then be roughly forged out, and then
the whole thing refined with a file to remove the residual steps or
forging marks. Goes fairly quickly. Smaller, shorter ones are
quickly made with just a file. Set your bench pin with the angled
side up, and file a grive into it with the corner of a square file,
deepest at the leading edge of the pin, and with the groove angled so
as to hold a wire held in it, from jumping out when filed across the
wire or at an angle to it. The groove feathers out to very shallow
at the top, so a wire held therein, say with a pin vise, can be
simulataneously rotated and filed with a standard hand file, quite
quickly, to produce a taper shape. Each one, with practice, including
following up after the file with an emery stick, only takes a couple
minutes, so doing a longer chain made of such tapers isn’t too out of
line…

Peter


#3

Oh good, one of my specialities!

Most of the torques show forging as the main method of forming.

These items were made from billets, small bars of silver used as
trading pieces. They were hammered into shape, there are also signs
of both abrasion and chip removal on them.

Some of the more complex twists are made from lengths that have been
given regular square tapered cross section.

Some colleagues and I made a few at the John Cass college in 1980’s.
We found them quite quick to make using only and anvil and a hammer.

Tony Konrath
http://www.goldandstone.com


#4
    My recollection is that these items were made before the
advent of the use of drawplates or rolling mills to make wire or
sheet. Everything was made with hammers...  Wire could be made by
chiselling out a spiral shape from sheet, which became a crude
wire, which then could be refined with further hammering/forging. 
If the stuff is made by forging in the first place, then a taper is
no more additional work. 

That pretty much sums up what I’ve seen in a couple of books and
articles on late antique and early medieval brooches. The earliest
real description of a draw plate was from Theophilus’ On Divers
Arts
which dates to around 1100. He describes it in a matter of
fact fashion, so it was likely in regular use for at least a
generation before that.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#5
 That pretty much sums up what I've seen in a couple of books and
articles on late antique and early medieval brooches.  The
earliest real description of a draw plate was from Theophilus' _On
Divers Arts_ which dates to around 1100.  He describes it in a
matter of fact fashion, so it was likely in regular use for at
least a generation before that. 

And one must remember that just because it was in use in one area
doesn’t mean it was in use in others. The Celtic workers were a bit
further behind in getting some of the latest innovations, including
steel tools in general. Iron, for example, was in use by the Romans,
but didn’t make it’s way north for quite some time later… And in
some areas, it was too precious to waste on mere workmans tools,
being reserved for weapons and the like…

Peter