Rolling mill techniques

Does anyone know of a good reference book or article on rolling mill
techniques? Also any specific interesting textures that can be

gotten by rolling?

One interesting technique for patterning thin sheet is to pass it on
an angle through the wire side of the roller, gives a sort of corduroy effect.

Hi, Ellie-

I like to roll silver with handmade japanese or thai paper (the kind
with lots of lumber, coarse fiber, etc.) You can also take a piece of
cardboard, strip the paper from one side to reveal the corrugated
stuff, and run that through the rolling mill for interesting results.
I keep copper sheet next to my rolling mill so I can try out new
textures on something cheap before I commit to using silver or gold.


Hi Ellie,

   Does anyone know of a good reference book or article on rolling
mill techniques?  Also any specific interesting textures that can be
gotten by rolling?

I’ve not seen any books on using a rolling mill. If there’re any out
there, I’d check with Brain Press (, they’d
probably have them. However, the answer to your 2nd question isn’t
that difficult.

Just about anything that is a more or less uniform thickness that can
be sandwiched between the metal to be embossed & another sheet of
metal can be used for patterning metal. The metal to be patterned
should be annealed, pickled & dry before being put through the mill.

Some of the things I’ve seen used aRe: paper towels, window screen,
clothes drier lint, manila folders with designs cut in them, ribbon,
cloth, mesh onion bags, wire formed in different shapes & sand paper
of different grits. The sky’s the limit, if it’ll fit through the mill
it probably can be used to texture metal. Just be sure to anneal the
metal 1st. Adding a ‘pusher’ between the metal to be patterned & the
mill roll helps. The ‘pusher’ is made by folding a paper towel so it’s
4 thicknesses.


Dave, You have piqued my curiosity. I have patterned metal many times
as you described but I do not understand your “pusher” idea. I have
always made a three layer sandwich of the metal to be patterned, the
item that will give the design and another metal…say a sheet of
brass. Is your idea to place the “pusher” on the OTHER side of the
piece being patterned, opposite the side next to the design item?
That would then make a 4 layer sandwich right? Cheers, Don in cold
South Florida (a front just passed through!)

Another wonderful material for imprinting onto metal via rolling
mills can be found in thrift stores is crochet doillies or lace. A
real elegant pattern. Teresa

If you’ve ever seen one of Charles Lewton-Brain’s workshops, you’d
know that he uses the rolling mill extensively in his "fold forming"
technology and related texturing systems. I’d ask Charles here on
the forum if he has any recommendations. By all means, if you can,
attend one of his workshops; they’re really a blast.

David L. Huffman

Hello Hufmann,

I would love to subscripe for any workshop but getting over there
from Europe only for a class is a kind of expensive considering
hospitality,food,wife and kids and whatever.This is one of the
reasons why I like America,they like to share knowledge as here in
Europe they are not that generous whit secrets of craftmenship.The
tendency here in Europe is to know and to keep it for yourself.for
some reason -which I still don’t understand- people do not realize
that two people know more then one and can realize more then a single
person. for an example,I wrote an e-mail to someone (offline by the
way)who I found by this forum to share whatever he would like to
share and quess what … he never answered or contribute to this
forum again.

So,yes and again,America is a nice place to get updated and to learn
from professionals like Charles Lewton Brain,Alan Revere and other
fine respectable people on this forum.

Just something I needed to mention .

Regards Pedro

Probably the easiest way to describe it is as follows. 1. Make up a
sandwich; backer plate, material for pattern (let’s use hardware
cloth with 1/4" openings in the example), metal to be patterned, 4
layers of paper towel. 2. Make a dead pass through the mill. 3. Close
the mill enough to cause the metal to be embossed (on my mill about
1/2 turn). 4. Roll the sandwich through the mill.

When the sandwich is opened, the pattern will have been pressed more
deeply into the metal than if the ‘pusher’ were not used. I haven’t
seen any scientific proof of what happens, but here’s my guess.

The ‘pusher’ is soft enough to be displaced where the pattern
material is. However, in areas where the metal isn’t supported by the
pattern material, the metal being patterned is depressed a little
more, (somewhat less than the 4 thickness’ of ‘pusher’).

The effect of the ‘pusher’ is a more defined pattern. An interesting
experiment might be to make up a sandwich about 6" long. Leave the 1st
3" without the ‘pusher’, then add the ‘pusher’ to the last 3" before
putting the whole thing through the mill. If you do the experiment
give us a report.

Hope this helps.


Hello Pedro; I’m sorry, I forgot to mention, in my message, that you
can access Charles Lewton-Brains web site from the Ganoksin site. He
has several books on his different areas of expertise, but the one
likely to have rolling mill techniques is “Forming Usig Metal
Characteristics: Fold Forming”. It costs only $15.50 US and there is
a video tape for $23.50 US (these are the prices listed in Rio
Grande’s catalog, I don’t know what you’d pay buying from Charles’
web site. All his books are excellent additions to one’s library and
very affordable for the wealth of they contain.


Looking through the files on my computer I found this article on the
Net on using Roller Mills. I thought it well done and worth a look.

Hope it helps. I saved it to my hard drive some time ago.


Pedro, you stated that you have encountered difficulties in getting
on how to do something. In my opinion, I don’t usually
ask, I try to duplicate whatever it is that I really like, not the
design, but the method I try to figure out HOW it was done, and then
I Learn HOW it was done. If I tell you exact instructions, step by
step, there is no process of learning, then I’m just making you
repeat what I do. Maybe you’re expecting TOO MUCH “instruction?”

I’ve learned making jewelry on my own and with help from books
…and most of all … I learned to not expect anything in
this tread !If you follow this forum dailly,you should know that I
pass more (good or not?)and spend a lot of my free time
for answering question and research in order to help where I
can,instead of asking for my own benefit. I take the
freedom of making the statement that I’m NOT expecting “toomuch”
conserning gathering

Regards Pedro