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Fabricating Silver Chopsticks


#1

A friend asked me about fabricating Silver Chopsticks…does anyone
in the group have suggestions as to the best way forward? Here are a
few of my first thoughts:

a) handworking from square stock

b) forging down round ends from square stock

c) joining square stock and round stock, creating a transition
between forms, and

d) casting

As always any help is appreciated.

Randy
Aerospace Engineer imitating a Wannabe Silversmith


#2

Casting something that long and slender will likely be problematic.
And if you got a successful cast the piece itself will be prone to
bending.

I’d vote for shaping it from wire stock. Twist it first so its more
rigid. Once twisted, apply no heat.


#3

Randy-We eat a god bit with chopsticks here. We both like the
slightly rounded square tips. it’s easier to pick up food than with
perfectly round tips. I’m a hammer girl myself, so I’d just forge
them
from square stock. My husband would probably cast them. He’s kinda
funny that way.

Good luck and have lots of fun with this project.

Jo


#4

Why not get a pair of chopsticks and make a mold. then cast!

Good Luck.


#5

In Tim’s book there is an appendix which includes instructions on
making a cone. Some chopsticks are long skinny cones. You can use
sheet to make sort of like making chenier. You can, if you want to
get fancy, pierce the sheet and cap with a bezel set stone. The other
suggestion is to step down the wire into sections, then smooth to the
pattern you want.

BTW, I recommend you find out what kind of chopsticks. There are
subtle differences between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean versions.


#6

I suggest the middle approach:

forging down round ends from square stock 

Because these would be work hardened through forging they can be
fabricated in fine silver (of sufficient dimension) for an attractive
pair of fine white utensils which will not tarnish easily.

Fine silver is a wonderful metal for forging. These would be an
enjoyable project to make, with limitless possibilities for
embellishment and design.

Michael David Sturlin
www.goldcrochet.com
www.michaeldavidsturlin.com


#7
forging down round ends from square stock 

I’d find it easier to make rod into square than the other way round.
Also, the part that you put in your mouth would then be as smooth as
you like. Assuming you are making parallel-sided chopsticks, not the
pointy Japanese ones.

I’d also use fine silver for better hygiene. No real need for an
alloy in this application.

I just remembered, I’ve got some fine sil chopsticks here somewhere
… with a chunky fine sil chain joining the two.

Brian

B r i a n A d a m
e y e g l a s s e s j e w e l l e r y
Titirangi, Waitakere 0604
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#8

Hi Randy:

Just get some heavy square section rod and forge it down. (Or step
roll and planish it if you have access to a rolling mill.) Indian
Jeweler’s Supply has 4ga square sterling barstock that I’ve had good
luck forging hair-sticks and flatware handles out of.

Someone here, (?Jay Whaley?) did a series of posts not too long ago
(? January?) about ‘the square’, and how to produce it with a rolling
mill. You might want to look that up if you have a mill.

Speaking as someone who teaches casting: don’t cast them. They’ll be
a PITA to cast, and they’ll end up dead-soft and very prone to
bending. Sometimes, forging is simply the right way to go.

I should point out that a Korean roommate of mine (who was also a
metalsmith) told me once that asian cultures don’t normally do metal
chopsticks, as they feel it makes the food taste funny. For whatever
that’s worth.

Regards,
Brian Meek.


#9

The weight of solid silver chopsticks is cause for concern.
Chopsticks need to be a certain thickness for comfort in the hand,
yet light and easy to manipulate. The density of bamboo is the
yardstick. To achieve that in silver the chopsticks would need to be
hollow silver tubing.

I would marry sections of round and square silver tube, wall
thickness sufficient to resist denting but light enough to achieve
the correct weight, and the whole completely sealed so that nothing
can get inside and fester.

Regards, Alastair


#10
I just remembered, I've got some fine sil chopsticks here
somewhere ... with a chunky fine sil chain joining the two. 

After reading Belinda’s comments about making hollow sticks (like
spicula?) I was reminded of the downside to my solid sil ones: they
were not well balanced enough to use. Too top-heavy.

So if I were to make chopsticks again I’d try a combination of
hollow tops and solid tips. Not necessarily 50/50 either.

Hollow fine silver would need a good size wall thickness, like
1.5mm, but would still be lighter than solid.

Brian

B r i a n A d a m
e y e g l a s s e s j e w e l l e r y
Titirangi, Waitakere 0604
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#11

I regularly make fine and.985 silver chopsticks and sell them in my
shop. I have made the large Chinese and the smaller Japanese styles.
Around Christmas last I took an order for numerous sets of Japanese
style sticks with rests and little bowls for sushi, all made from
.985 silver. I set birthstones (cabs) in the large ends of the
sticks. I like that alloy (it’s with copper just like sterling only
less) because it will work harden, albeit not as completely as will
sterling, but it hardly tarnishes at all.

I pour my silver into one of those old ingot molds with the two
different width grooves on one side and the bigger long ingot on the
other. I pour into the smaller one for Japanese & the larger for
Chinese. I then run them through the mill to square them up and when
they are suitable, clip them to length with a bolt cutter and make
the round ends round with a dead drop hammer that I’ve polished, on
a section of railroad track drilled and bolted to a large-ish stump.
I just hammer and turn until they’re right. I belt sand the ends and
use bobbing compound to smooth off any rough spots off the ends and
the sticks themselves, Then I use that orange platinum polish to
finish them off, all polishing is done on the big wheel.


#12

i have a set of stainless chop sticks that are korean and they are
not round but rectagular and tapper down to about 2mmX4mm. stainless
are hard to use for beginners, and round wound be even harder even
for some one who is adept at using them. just a thought.

Robert L. Martin
Goldsmith/Platinumsmith
Diamond Setter
since 1976


#13
for an attractive pair of fine white utensils which will not
tarnish easily. 

Also fine silver is known for its antiseptic qualities too so it
sounds ideal for food use. Apparently, ancient Greeks and Romans
kept liquids in silver jars for this reason.

Helen
UK


#14

If you have, or have access to, a rolling mill, then its a trivial
job to roll a stepped, squarish, section on a round rod. You can then
easily smooth it out to arrive at the required shape.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#15

Albert

The friend asking me for the chopsticks is Chinese, so he appears to
know what he wants. As an aside he mentioned an old saying “gold
bowl, silver chopsticks” which relates to nobility…gold bowls
refers to those that can afford them (rich, royalty, etc) and silver
chopsticks ties in with the belief that silver chopsticks would
tarnish if the food was poisoned…there is a message there :-).

Thanks for your feedback

Randy


#16

Hi Doc

I regularly make fine and .985 silver chopsticks and sell them in
my shop. 

Any chance you’d post picts or links? I’d love to see them…

Sc


#17

Randy,

As part of my philosophy for the tableware pieces I make, they must
be very user friendly. Although I consider my work art, it is also to
be used, not just admired.

With that in mind, I want to make the chopsticks (of which I have
made several pairs) light enough to be comfortable in the hands.

How I accomplish that is by starting with a hollow silver tube cut
to the length of about 2" shorter than the finished product. I then
cut a piece of heavy wire the length to finish the total desired
length plus about 3/4". Then I grind the extra length so it fits
nicely inside the tube and solder. This provides a light enough
chopstick to use. Plus the eating end is heavier so the chopstick is
always pointed in the proper direction. I then grind the eating end
to a soft point (my particular favorite shape for eating this way).

The tubing is a great palate for whatever decoration I choose to
create. I also make the eating end a matte finish, usually with
scotch brite, so as the sticks get used, the part in the food that is
liable to get really soiled can easily be cleaned by the collector.

Since I grew up using sterling flatware everyday, I use sterling
silver for the sticks. It has never made me sick.

I have gained so much excellent on this forum. Thank you
for bringing up a topic where I can make a reliable contribution. I
hope this helps.

Megin
Megin Diamond Designs
www.megindiamond.com


#18

I’ve only seen one thing tarnish fine silver chopsticks (although
I’m sure more things will) and that is (drumroll please) soy sauce!

Doc


#19

Eggs tarnish silver! I also had ham tarnish a Silver platter!

RMC


#20
I've only seen one thing tarnish fine silver chopsticks (although
I'm sure more things will) and that is (drumroll please) soy
sauce! 

I know of another one: Sauerkraut and or kimchee (Korean sauerkraut)
do too, all-be-it rather slowly. For it to become really apparent
you’d want to not polish/clean your chop sticks and eat a lot of the
stuff as well… But really any sulphurous food will tarnish
sterling; it’s all just a matter of how long you’re prepared to wait
for the effect to become visible, is all.

Fermented fish paste might be another, although I don’t really know,
it does have all the prerequisites present; acidic, proteins (source
of sulphur), and biological processing (fermentation).

Ok back to the regular programming.

Cheers, Thomas.
Janstrom Designs.