A Demonstration By T. G. Gawthorp

(See the Design for a Hot-water Jug, Supplement A.)

When instruction in so many of the art crafts has been imparted in this magazine by means of the practical demonstration lesson, one could not ignore the requests of many readers for some demonstrations on repousse metal work. Such being the case, to whom was it more natural to turn for such expert instruction than to those clever craftsmen, the Messrs. Gawthorp, to whose enterprise, mainly, the art was first brought practically to the notice of amateurs in England. They readily fell in with the idea, and Mr. T. G. Gawthorp, having designed for our purpose the attractive little hot-water jug shown in one of our supplements, arranged for us a series of demonstrations in the course of which he will describe, while working on the object, every feature of its development, from the strip of sheet copper from which the band of decoration will be beaten out, to the finished jug, ready for use. There will be three articles, each illustrated by special photographs, taken during the progress of the work, to accompany Mr. Gawthorp's running comments. He said:

"Our first lesson will be on the treatment of the front of the metal; the second, on the treatment from the back; and the third, on the finishing, when the work is again on the front.

"I have chosen copper for our jug, although my remarks will apply equally to brass - that is, unless occasion should arise for something to be said to the contrary. There is not much to choose between the two metals. Copper is the more valuable, and, being the more ductile, should be used of a thicker gauge. It seems to call for a higher polish than brass. The sheet we have here is wire gauge 22. If I were using brass for our jug, I would probably choose 25, which, of course, is thinner. That would be stout enough for the relief that this will call for. If the work were to be more elaborate, calling for particularly high relief, the metal would have to be thick enough to stand a good deal of hammering and occasional annealings without cracking. You know, I dare say, how the annealing is usually done. The metal is made red hot and then plunged into water, but I don't advise that way of annealing for worked pieces, for you run the risk of cracking the metal. A safer way is, after making the metal red hot, to place it in the ashes and let it cool gradually. Afterwards the metal should be carefully flattened by gently planishing it with a mallet on a flat wood block. If you're not careful you may make the plate more uneven than it was at first. You should do it this way."

Mr. Gawthorp began in the centre of the copper and worked out to the edges, trying to avoid striking twice on the same spot.

The piece of copper, under Mr. Gawthorp's deft manipulation, had now assumed an even enough appearance. With a circular motion he proceeded next to scour it thoroughly, first with coarse emery cloth and sweet oil, and then with finer cloth, until the surface seemed closely grained, and he wiped off the oil with a rag moistened with turpentine.

"There! that's better for repousse work than any 'buffing ' or ' sanding,' " he said. " The surface is just dull enough now to show up the pattern when we scratch it on. When you come next, we will have the design all ready traced on the copper, and I will show you how to fix the plate upon the pitch block and get to work."

(To be continued.)