Fun with Fold Forming

I still didn’t know what I felt like doing Monday afternoon, so I decided to ask about fold forming.  A couple weeks ago, I found an interesting strip of copper in the scrap bin and saved it, because I wanted to know how it was done.  Turns out, it’s pretty easy.  Wind it around a mandrel diagonally, smash it in a vise, anneal it, and unfold it.


Sorry about the silly new-age catalog background.  I mean, it was right there on the table and I thought, why not?

Perhaps I can refine these a bit to make wearable bracelets; perhaps not.  I should have filed the edges first if I was going to do that.  Also, I’ll need to hammer the individual sections with a mallet against something like a dowel to work-harden yet keep the shape. Good practice, either way.

I also played around with making “leaves” (lower left) and T folds.


Leaves are also simple; fold your thin metal in half, whack the edges with a cross-peen, anneal, and open.  (Annealing, by the way, is important and probably has to be done a lot if you’re making something complicated with much folding and unfolding and hammering, because all that makes the metal too hard to work with otherwise.) T folds are just a matter of bending metal in half–but NOT folding–and clamping the ends in a vise. The remaining bump on top can be hammered in various ways; in the upper left, I just whanged it down flat (and then did some other folding and hammering after I annealed and opened it; I don’t remember exactly what).  The lower right involved making a “pillow,” in which you only hammer down the ends of the bump, leaving a, well, pillow.  That can be manipulated various ways; I just did some hammering here and there and, again, did random hammering experiments afterward.  I think these pieces are going to go into a garden ornament soon.  That will also make good use of my giant glass beads.

I checked out a book* on fold forming from the library afterward, and will probably spend the week imitating various techniques with paper.

Two other things I did recently–finished up the pine cone earrings:


and rescued the moonstone from my failed pendant, just to see if I could.  I didn’t even scratch it once!  Here I placed it on top of the silver so you can see what a moonstone would look like without the pitch backing:

????????cloudsandmoonI could sell what’s left for scrap, but I think I will use some of the smaller bits to melt down into little silver balls (easy:  just torch a bit of sterling and a bit of fine silver together over a charcoal block with a round impression in it) and challenge myself to find a use for some of the stamped part.

*Update:  I should have mentioned that if you’re interested in foldforming, Charles Lewton-Brain’s Foldforming is the book to look for. I had the idea that the techniques in it are classic, but for the most part these are contemporary design ideas generated over the past couple decades; in fact quite a few folds were developed by Lewton-Brain and his contemporaries.  Many of the newer jewelry craft books I’ve been seeing have pieces made with these techniques, so if you want to get deeper into them, look no further.


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