It will be noticed in our illustration of platters and a desk set, that some of the pieces are decorated in repousse work. This is done by beating up from the back of a yielding bed, which may be either of soft pitch or pine wood. The illustrations show only low relief, which can all be done on the pine block.
Trace the design by means of a carbon paper on to the prepared metal. It will be found that the design becomes effaced by the hand repeatedly passing over it, so it is advisable to go over the design with a scratch point, or a dressmaker's pin wheel. The design is brought out by stamping the background. This process raises the design until it presents an embossed appearance known as repousse. The beating can be done by means of a 10penny hammer and a nail which a girl can readily make for herself. File a 10-penny nail straight across the point so as to produce a small square stamp. Then file a 20-penny nail until it is filed above the shaped point. Smooth these nails with emery-paper, so as to get rid of any sharp edges. As the filing of the tools takes out the temper, this must be replaced by heating to a red heat, through the point, and plunging instantly into cold water. Now begin to hammer with these tools, until the whole background is covered, leaving the design which is to be in relief untouched. Care must be taken not to go over the line of the design. Another point to be remembered is to keep the stamping of an even depth throughout. As this repousse is in low relief, it is not necessary to heat the work. High relief necessitates frequent softening of the background by annealing.
Repousse Desk Set.
Photograph Frames In Repousse.
When the background is all stamped, its roughened surface presents a pleasing contrast to the repousse part. This simple process only needs a little practice for the beginner to gain skill and to do beautiful and artistic work. It will be noticed that the platters are of much heavier metal than the stamp boxes and pen tray. Experience is the best teacher as to what gauge of metal to use for each object.
Sheets of brass are sold in several sizes and of various thickness.
Great care should be taken in making the design for repousse work, as any carelessness in drawing cannot, after it is on the brass or copper, be corrected. Extreme care should be taken when tracing the designs on this account. When working on metal, every blow struck leaves an indelible impression which cannot be removed.
It is well for the beginner to buy some waste brass on which to experiment, and a few hours spent in this way will save a good deal of disappointment in supplying good material. When laying sheets of metal on the block, it is most important that they should lie as level as possible. In order to do this the metal must be screwed to the block, the screws being placed outside the margin of the design. The holes for the screws must first be punched with a nail.
Usually a beginner starts in by hammering the metal into deep hollows and furrows on one side. This makes the metal "buckle," so that it is well to go over the pattern with gentle taps. The more the back is worked on, the higher will be the relief of the design. The illustrations show the simplest form of hammered work, made from sheets of copper in many varying thicknesses. Where there are very small curves and corners, the worker must use the smallest nails or "transfers," and it will be found that, with a little experience, all the difficulties will be entirely overcome.
Hook Racks In Repousse.
A Beaten Copper Smoker's Set.