[Source] Repousse tools

Hi Victoria,

I wasn’t going to jump in here, because frankly, I almost agree with
you: most work probably can be done with a dozen tools or so.

On the other hand, when I was doing a lot of repousse, I had a
large- size coffee mug full of punches I’d made myself, all of them
slightly different, and intended for slightly different things.
(Which later got nicked when I took it in to school to show, much to
my annoyance!) There were probably 30-40 punches in there, and none
of them were redundant. When I was doing a lot of repousse, I was
doing very volumetric sorts of things, which aren’t at all what I’ve
later come to see as “normal” repousse. They needed a lot of special
little surfaces, and specialized little planishing punches.
Sometimes, it’s more about the nature of the work, than the worker.
(Or, knowing myself as a tool geek, perhaps not…) (If you look at
the metals portfolio on alberic.net, I’ve got a couple of the pieces
visible there: Emerald Lies and Vigil… come to mind.)

Cheers-
Brian.

Kevin,

I think you misunderstood me. I have 25 different types of repousse
punches, but essentially I only use 8 or so to do 95% of my work. What
I meant with that 8 punch statement is that there is no need to have
large quantities of tools to make jewellery.

For example, at this point I have 56 different files on my bench,
including needle files.( I just counted them) I use 10 of those every
day for my normal work. The other 46 is to feed my tool junkie habit I
could quite happily make everything I blog about without those
files. I have 14 different triblets, but I use a round one 99% of the
time… The rest are used once in a blue moon. and quite frankly, most
were bought when I was a beginner, and I had not yet learnt that to
make an oval bezel, you don’t HAVE to have a oval triblet, The problem
with tools is that you first have to buy them before you realize that
you don’t really need it. Or do, for that matter. That did not stop
me buying a square conning block a few months ago, knowing full well
that I will only use it maybe once a year. It’s just that it’s so
danged pretty…

But telling me that my “extrapolation from your personal experience
is way over the top.” is rather extreme.

Rather, my extrapolation from my experience in totally correct.

So let me put it to you another way, Kevin,

I need less tools now to complete the same job than when I started
making jewellery.

Cheers, Hans
http://www.meevis.com

Dear Victoria et al.,

Everybody doing chasing and repoussage has their own idea of what it
is they want to create.

Victoria has her own vision, Valentin Yotkov has his vision, Megan
Corwin has her own vision amongst others of equal talent. Victoria
and her teaching lineage create what they want with a minimal amount
of tools. Others create their vision with more tools in their
container.

Is either better than the other? No. It is definitely a case of each
to his/her own taste.

Kay Allen
DragonsFyre Workshop

Victoria has her own vision, Valentin Yotkov has his vision, Megan
Corwin has her own vision amongst others of equal talent. Victoria
and her teaching lineage create what they want with a minimal
amount of tools. Others create their vision with more tools in
their container. 

Nothing like an attempt to make everybody happy. Now we can all go
home singing songs.

Victoria is 100% correct. You do not need many tools for repousse. If
someone wants to argue that point, please include the description of
how these tools that you need so many are used.

Before you start making your argument, take time to understand the
difference between repousse and chasing. Chasing does require many
many punches, but chasing punches are absolutely useless for repousse
work.

Leonid Surpin

If I may I would like to make a contribution to this discussion. I am
a professional chaser/repousse artist and have been working at this
discipline for the last fifty years. To do the work both my collogues
and myself have done down the years using only 8 punches would have
been impossible and nothing short of miraculous. Down the years I
have worked with a good number of professional chaser/repousse
craftsmen and not one of them had less than a couple of hundred
punches. Examples of my work can be seen below.

I say make your own, as you need them.

Sam Patania

To do the work both my collogues and myself have done down the
years using only 8 punches would have been impossible and nothing
short of miraculous. Down the years I have worked with a good
number of professional chaser/repousse craftsmen and not one of
them had less than a couple of hundred punches. 

To be clear, I never said “8 punches.” I said 8 tools. I use 2 line
tools, 3 push tools, and 3 planishing tools. I primarily use the the
line tools to delineate on the front the areas of relief, the push
tools to create the high relief from the back, and the planishing
tools to shape and refine the front. I have quite a few texturing
tools and stamps that I use to make patterns, but they don’t create
the high relief.

I promise it’s not at all miraculous. :slight_smile: You can watch me do it on
BenchTube.

Victoria
Victoria Lansford

I repeat for those who may not know Ten Speed Press: “The Complete
Modern Blacksmith”. Tool making and much more.

KPK

Victoria…Better they watch your DVD/Video…It is EXCELLENT !!!

Tom Stringfellow

Hi Leonid

but chasing punches are absolutely useless for repousse work.

This is simply not true the punches used by a chaser/repousse worker
are interchangeable.I will try again to give link to where examples
of my work can be seen.This is the link to my facebook page,the
photos are available for anyone to look

To be clear, I never said "8 punches." I said 8 tools. I use 2
line tools, 3 push tools, and 3 planishing tools. I primarily use
the the line tools to delineate on the front the areas of relief,
the push tools to create the high relief from the back, and the
planishing tools to shape and refine the front. I have quite a few
texturing tools and stamps that I use to make patterns, but they
don't create the high relief. 

That’s fine Victoria I never said you did or mean to imply that you
did, it was Han’s

Meevis’s post that caught my eye and he used the word punch. One way
or the other is it such a big deal… punch or tool? I actually think
we both agree on some jobs you might use 8 tools on others you might
use more as I gather from the fact that you have quite a few
texturing tools and stamps. I may be mistaken.

And to be fair I was only talking about the experience of myself and
my workmates.

Congratulations and best of luck with your DVD.

Cheers
Aidan Breen

This is simply not true the punches used by a chaser/repousse
worker are interchangeable.I will try again to give link to where
examples of my work can be seen.

It is always difficult to argue with someone, who claim experience
as large as you, but repousse happen to be my college thesis. Not
that it mean much, since I always prefer actual experience to
academic credentials.

Never the less, I strongly disagree with your statement. The problem
that I am having is that repousse tools designed to stretch metal,
while chasing tools designed to compress metal. Two different
functions, two different designs.

Repousse tools are only in contact with metal at one point only,
while chasing tools are engaging metal with the full footprint. In
some limited circumstances it is possible to use repousse tools for
chasing, but results are mediocre at best. Under no circumstances
chasing tools should be used for repousse, or the metal will be torn.

If you using pitch to support your work, some will argue that you
simply doing chasing on both sides. I cannot claim experience as
large as yours, but I have done my share of ringing from 0.1 mm
copper to 2 mm aluminum without any support whatsoever. The best
surface for repousse is 3 mm rubber for thin metal, and regular
styrofoam for thick metal. That is where tool differences become
apparent.

Leonid Surpin

Leonid, you are the only person I’ve heard separate chasing from
repousse or repousse from chasing. Are you working as a ‘chaser’’?
It seems that you are arguing from an ideological point of view,
rather than a working position.

KPK

The best surface for repousse is 3 mm rubber for thin metal, and
regular styrofoam for thick metal. 

So Leonid, are you saying you don’t use pitch, but use the rubber or
styrofoam instead? I’m intrigued… what thickness of styrofoam? I
would love to not have to mess with the pitch - it is the only part
of repousse’ I really don’t like…

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

Never the less, I strongly disagree with your statement. The
problem that I am having is that repousse tools designed to stretch
metal, while chasing tools designed to compress metal. Two
different functions, two different designs.

Leonid I don’t look at it like that. I see the punches as tools to
manipulate the metal and model it, whether from the back or the
front. I genuinely use the same punches on the back or the front
depending on the circumstances and what I have in my mind is not so
much to stretch as to move the metal. I’d love to show you but you
are 3 thousand miles away. Regards.

Aidan Breen
Dublin
Ireland

Hi Leonid,

I think the confusion here is a language issue. Leonid, I get the
sense you were Russian trained, yes?

For Americans, (and some Brits) “ChasingAndRepusse” might as well be
one word, talking about one technique. “Chasing” means “Working from
the front” (in whatever manner) and “Repousse” means “Working from
the back” (in whatever manner). So if you do anything from the
back, it’s repousse, and anything done to the front is “Chasing”,
regardless of the actual nature of what’s happening to the metal.

It sounds like you’re coming from a more continental viewpoint, where
repousse tends to mean “the process of creating large(ish) volumetric
forms from the back of the metal, usually using rounded punches”,
while chasing tends to mean “the process of making sharp incised
lines on the front of the metal”. You can chase to refine repoussed
forms, as well, but you can’t “chase” to create large forms. Does
that sound more like what you think of by chasing and repousse?

Those two sets of definitions for the terms are not entirely
compatible. Which is why you’re having trouble talking past each
other.

Before anybody resorts to dictionaries, I can come up with entire
books on the subject to support either point of view. (Steines &
Corwin, to name two.) So rather than waste time arguing about who’s
right, it would be more productive to keep in mind what the “other
team” probably means when they’re talking about what they can/can’t,
should/shouldn’t do with their favorite punches. Keeping that in
mind, we can proceed talk about the hows and whys of working metal
with these tools, which is the whole point of us all being here.

Regards,
Brian.

Leonid, you are the only person I've heard separate chasing from
repousse or repousse from chasing. Are you working as a 'chaser''?
It seems that you are arguing from an ideological point of view,
rather than a working position. 

My pet pieve is that some people always starting making argument by
citing one’s resume. I always try to keep argument pure, but in this
case the man locker room contest cannot be avoided, so here it is:

In my formative years as an artist, my medium was large scale
sgraffto with repousse. Be large scale I mean walls of the hi-rise
buildings and some stand alone projects. I believe, some of them
still standing in Russia, but one never knows. I also did quite a few
for the inside environment and some icon cladding restoration. But
it is the outside projects which really teach repousse.

Outside project does not allow for any tearing of metal, because even
a smallest crack gets filled with water, which freezes in cold
weather and expands the crack. During the day, sun warms up metal and
water melts, but crack gets larger and so on. Pretty soon you work is
split in pieces with all the consequences. So this is my repousse
background.

I also worked as a chaser. There was a bronze foundry in Brooklyn,
New York. The name was Excalibur. I am not sure if they are still
around. They specialized in antique bronze reproductions, and they
also worked with contemporary artists. The place was run by Bill
Gold. He was quite good. A lot of beginning sculptors could not
afford full service casting, so he only charged them for bronze, just
a few dollars a pound, and allowed them to use the shop to finish the
work themselves, but that is besides the point.

I worked there on antique side of things. He bought an original
bronze composition called “Stampede” by Lancerey. The original was
purchase from auction for around 20 thousand, I do not remember
exactly. We cast a reproduction and I did the chasing on the piece. I
was not following the original, I did it as I believed it should be
done. My reproduction, which was offered as legitimate reproduction,
was sold from auction for 72 thousand. That is my chasing background.

I think that it entitles me to my own opinion on subjects of
repousse and chasing.

Leonid Surpin

So Leonid, are you saying you don't use pitch, but use the rubber
or styrofoam instead? I'm intrigued.... what thickness of
styrofoam? I would love to not have to mess with the pitch - it is
the only part of repousse' I really don't like.... 

No pitch is unnecessary and like you said, it takes much longer and
messy.

Styrofoam is used on large projects with thick metal, for jewellery
scale rubber is better. Repousse utilizes the difference between work
hardening of different parts of metal.

I start on plywood backing for tracing the design. Turn work around
and with flat tracer on rubber, trace design on the inside. The only
metal that will be stretched is which is softer. The tracings are been
work hardened. So you have your primary volume. From then the process
repeats. You define you secondary volume by tracing it on the face and
reinforce it on the inside.

You will flatten you previous volume, but it is easily restored on
reverse tracing. And so on. When all the volumes defined, then you
finish by chasing it on the face. Even then pitch is not required if
metal is properly work hardened.

The difference in tools is due to this constant flexing of volume
borders. If tool is allowed to actually penetrate surface of the
metal even slightly, it will form a crack sooner or later, so
repousse tools are made with this in mind. Chasing phase is about
definition, no more flexing takes place, so it is desirable to have
some sharp angles.

Victoria mentioned the name of her teacher, and that tells me she was
trained in Georgia (Russia). That is how they do it. Pitch is used
very infrequently and as the last resort. I do not know if she
demonstrate this technique in her DVD. If she doesn’t, may be she will
make another DVD concentrating on this particular technique.

Leonid Surpin

Just to add to the discussion.

Repousse in russian pronounced as “chekanka”

I searched google images for the word and there are some hits. There
are some good out there. Most of the text is in Russian
which is not much use for most. I did not play with online
translators, so I do not know how well it is going to work. But
images are there, so it may of some use.

Leonid Surpin

One more addition.

Search on “georgian repousse” in google images. A lot of results in
english

Leonid Surpin