Author Topic: Exposé of Repoussé for The Beginning Blacksmith  (Read 3046 times)

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Exposé of Repoussé for The Beginning Blacksmith
« on: February 06, 2009, 11:24:36 AM »
Exposé of Repoussé for The Beginning Blacksmith
Robert M Heath
copyright© 1999
Self published

Right off the bat let me say this isn't a source for repoussé information. And the only "Expose", is the authors lack of knowledge about it. As this quote from the last page of text,"That is about it on beginning Repoussé and actually more than I really know." In the current use of the word and processes. Being done at least 18 years ago. With the lack of correct information then in print and the old works some that went off in all directions other then the right one.

Part of the problem, is that down through history, the metal working crafts have tended to be jumbled in its lexicon of descriptions. Part of this is the lack of good translations to the English words from say German, "Treiben" means moving or driving metal from either the front or back. Has nothing to do with anything other than that the metal is worked.

In this book the author gets a little carried away with lumping some 20 techniques (definitions in with) repoussé. Which granted they are used in the creation of the work but are also used in the everyday processes the smith or metal worker uses.

He also moves from the current subject he is discussing to some tangent about history,museums,trips with father, and how the Greeks displayed the spoils of war etc. While interesting in themselves, they aren't Why I purchased the book!

The little that covers repoussé, is the hold in your hand and worked against the lead block or ingot, or wood block, pipe made die and other die making bits and pieces that are more of the general smiths stock in trade.
Most will find it difficult to reproduce even the simplest examples given in the book. And the only mention of pitch, is an after thought of a page with half a paragraph on an old formula for pitch which uses fine dirt in it. Instead of an inorganic mineral material brick dust or marble or plaster dust which will not rot or decompose as most dirt which is organic by definition.

Now on to the great stuff in the book. there is a section on some 16th Century Spanish bells that were found in a Mississippi farm field. And how they were reproduced for an exhibit. Jingle type bells would be the modern example. Now the author considers this to be repoussé work even though they are formed with chisels, punches, dies and wood block formers. and lead cast die punches. (this was before the lead hazards)
copper was used as the metal for the bells.

There is also a slap and dash mention, of the plywood cut out silhouette method of forming a fast and easy shaped simple relief 1/2 sided for weather vanes. Which would fall into more the raising or sink style along with log stump former.

The short section on the discussion of armor and some of the ways it is made. Is also interesting, but with forging hammers,punches, sinking devises,fullers etc can hardly be called repoussé.

It then jumps to manufacturing of some of the artifacts with a trip story and then, bounces to using a home made hydraulic press. This also short section does have a couple of formula's that would prove useful for somebody wanting to build an H style press.

He does bemoan the fact that, the re-enactment area seems to revolve around the medieval type of and aged armor. His preference is the Trojan wars/Greek and the like.

Since the original was down pre computer, it was also done on a low dollar offset printer with no to bad resolution of black and white photos.
The drawings are good they are uncluttered, so the fast and dirty style is still readable. And they give more info than the text some times.

For the cost around $10.00, and being 62 pages in length. If one is interested in metal working techniques. As long as one remembers it isn't really for beginners, and has little useful repoussé information.
It will provide some interesting reading.
It is item# BK192
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