This is a tutorial on how to make a Fold Formed brass cuff along with short videos and images with descriptions.
Date(s): April 2012. Album by Dinah Taylor. Photos by Dinah Taylor. 1 - 42 of 42 Total. 1677 Visits.
enlarge 52KB, 720x405 1 These are cuffs I made this month. I decided to create some videos and add images for you to see how they are made.
The videos are 'private' on YouTube, and if you are interested in seeing the actual progression with details and me explaining, I will send you the links. They are no longer than 3 min., and there are 9 of them.
If you have QuickTime, I can upload them and send a link so you can play it in QT, because there are some people who do not use YouTube.
enlarge 40KB, 720x405 2 Annealing a 2" folded piece of rectangular brass to soften it so I can work it. The length is 6".
enlarge 36KB, 720x405 3 When you get a green flame, the piece is softening and then you carefully remove it with the copper tongs, and plunge it in a bucket of cold water.
enlarge 55KB, 720x405 4 Here is the folded softened blank. I'm holding it on the open edge to show the folded edge is flat against the block.
enlarge 55KB, 720x405 5 I'm going to open up the folded piece with a stainless steel polished tool to keep the marks to a minimum.
enlarge 53KB, 720x405 6 Opening it up like a clam shell.
enlarge 53KB, 720x405 7 Here it is opened up. I will now anneal it again to make it easier to form, and to make sure the heat of the torch gets to all surfaces of the brass.
enlarge 55KB, 720x405 8 I've trimmed the two ends of the folded shape with snips.
enlarge 39KB, 720x405 9 More opening up takes place with the brass on the block on top of a folded towel to keep marks on the down side to a minimum.
enlarge 50KB, 720x405 10 I flatten it again before marking with a rawhide mallet just on the area beyond the fold. You don't want to mark the fold here.
enlarge 54KB, 720x405 11 I'm holding the fold and with a hammer with a polished face that resembles a little rounded rectangle. I work the edges of the open ends keeping the face of the hammer perpendicular to the edge and drawing the hammer away from the fold (about 1/4") all the way down one side, flipping it over and doing the other side.
enlarge 54KB, 720x405 12 By hammering on the edges, and moving the metal, it has now created a lift in the outside and a curve on the fold of about 1/4".
enlarge 53KB, 720x405 13 After another annealing with the torch, I'm hammering the edges again to make the fold lift even more.
enlarge 56KB, 720x405 14 The lift has gone from 1/4" to 1/2". I leave it at this point.
enlarge 53KB, 720x405 15 I open it carefully with the rawhide mallet on the towel, tapping it all along the two sides, staying away from the fold.
enlarge 54KB, 720x405 16 Showing the fold is still there, but it is flattened out.
enlarge 39KB, 720x405 17 I anneal it again, to get a green flame, and making it easier to work.
enlarge 40KB, 720x405 18 Annealing both sides is important. Front and back.
enlarge 50KB, 720x405 19 I'm forming over the rawhide cover on the horn of my anvil with the rawhide mallet.
enlarge 53KB, 720x405 20 Here is the basic form for the cuff from the end.
enlarge 50KB, 720x405 21 Here is the front. Notice the center fold is now a depression through the center of the cuff.
enlarge 51KB, 720x405 22 Another view of the ends.
enlarge 43KB, 720x405 23 I have filed the edges to even out, and have created the waves by hitting an area on the edge many times in the same place every 1/2" or so, making the unhammered areas rise, because I've pushed down the adjacent area with the hammer.
enlarge 39KB, 720x405 24 I put the blank into a pickle pot (old crock pot), for about 20 min. Remember how dark it is.
enlarge 41KB, 720x405 25 Here it is out of the pickle pot, rinsed. I have just rinsed it in the quench bucket to remove the pickle solution. The color and finish does not change in other words, if you didn't rinse it off from the bath, it would still look the same.
You don't want to forget to rinse off chemicals, because they are toxic, among other things.
enlarge 38KB, 720x405 26 Underside of the blank. Nice sheen, sugary which I like. I'll sand this many times starting with 400grit sand paper, down to 1500 grit in preparation for buffing.
enlarge 44KB, 720x405 27 I've charged the buffing wheel with compound, and am carefully allowing the high revolutions of the buffing wheel to polish the cuff. I have left it basically unformed so that it is easier to buff.
The wheels can catch the edge of the cuff so quickly you can have the cuff mangled, thrown at you, or catch one of your fingers. You don't press the metal into the wheel or it will create fine scratches in the metal.
Let the buffer and the compound do the work.
enlarge 48KB, 720x405 28 Buffing the edges. I use one glove to hold, as the metal will get very hot. I guide with my other hand to make sure no edges can catch, and I keep my hips lined up with my feet in a balanced posture.
enlarge 52KB, 720x405 29 Always start with one end facing down and work your way up along the top down to the other end.
Working with the face and curve towards you will result in the wheel grabbing your cuff and throwing it. Keep all edges from connecting in a perpendicular way to the wheel.
enlarge 40KB, 720x405 30 Here I am forming over the rawhide covered horn of my anvil with my rawhide mallet.
enlarge 44KB, 720x405 31 Showing the cuff so far. The edges have to be rolled over yet.
enlarge 45KB, 720x405 32 These edges are straight out and they will be gently moved over facing out.
enlarge 41KB, 720x405 33 If the cuff edges are thick, you could leave it alone at this point. All edges and surfaces have to be very very smooth, like satin, so they do not cut the skin.
Since this is a slightly thin gauge now, it would be appropriate to roll the edge just to make sure. Whenever you put hammer to metal, you are displacing the metal and thinning it, making it subject to being very sharp, and possibly splitting.
enlarge 43KB, 720x405 34 I put the cuff edges up and start to push and move the metal over to the outside. If you do this on a thick mat (stall mat 1" thick) only one side will turn over. If you have this on a metal surface, both top and bottom will turn over.
enlarge 49KB, 720x405 35 This is just before I start to turn over the edges.
enlarge 56KB, 720x405 36 Here I have tapped each side once, and the turn over curve is starting to show.
enlarge 48KB, 720x405 37 Hammering with the hammer, drawing the metal away. Because this is a hard metal, using the hammer used for the marking, makes it easier. If you used the rawhide mallet, it would be very difficult.
With copper it's easier to use the rawhide mallet, because copper is much softer and more malleable.
enlarge 51KB, 720x405 38 This shows the edges starting to curve out.
enlarge 49KB, 720x405 39 This shows the curving edge all the way around.
enlarge 52KB, 720x405 40 More hammering of the edge, turning the cuff over after each pass will make it even so that you don't have one curve wider than the other.
If you turn over too much, you can take the cuff back to the horn on the anvil, and tap it back straight with the rawhide mallet. If this happens, you must anneal this before or you could split the metal edges.
enlarge 50KB, 720x405 41 Showing the other edge.
enlarge 42KB, 720x405 42 Finished cuff. I'm seldom every really satisfied with something until I work it more, but have learned to temper that enthusiasm so that I don't overwork a design, but that at the end of the day, it is structurally sound and completely finished so that you cannot find any surfaces that are not totally silky.