From sculpting to jewelry making, copper forming tools take sheets of raw copper and transform them into attractive, often useful, forms. Copper fabrication tools include tools that cut, pound and smooth copper. Whether you're crafting a set of earrings or sculpting a vessel, learn about the types of metalworking tools used to form copper, and choose the right ones for your project.
Snips, the scissors of the metalworking world, shear through thin sheets and pieces of copper material. Snips feature a set of wedge-shaped heads attached to the end of straight handles. The sharpened, interior edges of snips' heads are lined with serrations that grip and tear through metal materials. Many snips' feature an internal linkage to increase leverage and allow a metalworker to easily cut through tough materials. Prior to shaping, snips cut copper material to size and create both straight and curvilinear incisions.
Electric shears automate the function of snips. This power tool appears both corded and battery operated. Like manually-operated snips, electric shears slice through thin copper materials with a scissor-like motion.
Sometimes called a "planishing" hammer, this tool pounds copper material to alter its shape or smooth its surface. Hammers suitable for copper forming often feature a rounded striking face, such as the ball-pein hammer. While metal-headed hammers perform rough shaping of thick materials, soft-headed hammers, such as rubber or plastic, are well-suited to the forming of soft metals, such as copper. Alternatively, metalworkers use soft-headed mallets to create large strikes across copper surfaces.
The familiar blacksmith's anvil provides a recognizable example of a metal forming stake. Copper materials rest upon a stake's surface during the pounding and forming process. Commonly made of metal, forming stakes appear not only as cubes but also as spheres, cylinders and more. The shaped, metal portion of a stake typically attaches to a stationary base, allowing a metalworker to place and hold material in place over the stake with one hand and wield a hammer with the other. Once placed upon the stake, a metalworker pounds the material with a hammer or mallet and allows the copper to assume the general shape of the stake. Metal forming stakes appear in copper working applications which range from jewelry to sculpture.
The shot bag offers a flexible, gently yielding alternative to the metal-forming stake. Basically a pouch filled with metal or synthetic beads, a shot bag offers the metal worker a soft surface upon which to perform free-form shaping. As with the stake, copper material rests upon the shot bag while pounded with a mallet or hammer.
- Photo Credit copper gong image by ZoltÃ¡n Pataki from Fotolia.com
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