Friday, February 3, 2017

SBC 9 - Days 3 and 4

I've been working too hard on the bowl to take many pictures and have been too tired at the end of the day to post about it. So this is a catch-up post before I start today's work.

Day 3

I spent a little time working out how to chase in the flutes. The bowl will have 12 and they should be as even as possible. Since I'm not familiar with how this is done and my skills aren't great for repetitive motifs, I worried about putting them in consecutively. Errors might creep in and accumulate from one flute to the next. So I'm going to lay them out and then chase them lightly in an order that scatters them around the surface. Sort of like tightening the nuts on a car wheel. A drawing would show it best but the order will be: 1,8,3,10,5,12,7,2,9,4,11,6. Each one is offset by 7 from the previous one. That should keep errors from accumulating and as the flute deepen I can work to even them up. That's the plan anyway.

Layout will be done using a circle grade that I have laminated up. Put the bowl top down on the grid, center it, and mark the points with a sharpie. Then I can use a piece of wire formed with the profile as a conforming straight edge to line up and mark from edge mark to kernel. Then mark the top of the flutes, the bottom of them, and the widest point level when they start to pull in at the top. That gets done with dividers. I also want a center line for each flute since that's what I'll be following with the tracing tool. That should give me all the guidelines I need. I'll number the flutes in sequence of hammering so I don't get confused.

Layout seemed so easy when I wrote that out. Nope. Almost nothing I had planned for worked. I was always getting uneven divisions of the circle. I ended up doing it an entirely different way, tracing around the bowl rim, using a compass to divide the rim into 12 segments, and using a thread to guide my marks on the metal. Eventually the layout got drawn on.

Then I started preparing my large pitch bowl for fixturing. That at least went well and works much better than anything I could have devised. Thank you, Liza Nechamkin, for the video that showed me how to do it.
Layout done. Fixed in the pitch bowl and ready to chase.

By the time all of that got done it was 3pm and I could only get started on the chasing. I did follow my plan of staggering the order in which I chased the flutes and was able to get them all roughed in evenly.

Day 4

Today was all about chasing flutes. They got deeper, evened up, the ridges in between got sharpened and straightened. When I started, the bottoms of the flutes didn't match where they come into the foot. Now they do. In the middle of the day I had to melt out the red sculptors wax that I use for this, anneal the bowl, and refill it. That was a PITA.

The pitch bowl fixturing worked well, but I was hammering very hard at times and the bowl would loosen up making it hard to control. I ended up resetting it twice. Each time I got better at it and it lasted longer before loosening up. Finally I called it done, melted out the wax and cleaned it all up.

Day 5 - beginning.

So, the flutes are chased in, it's empty and polished (sort of), and now it's time to prepare for etching. It's also time to take stock of the piece, consider the time I have left, and see what I can do to finish it. Listen to the metal and find out where the piece is going. It's brass, not copper. If I solder on a copper rim it will look different from the rest of the bowl. It will take patina differently. If I plate the whole thing with copper before patinating it will all look the same but then I'm not taking advantage of the brass. There may not be time to gold leaf the interior.

What if I skip the rim and gold leaf and put on handles? Make it a drinking cup or libation bowl? In brass, it would actually be usable. I might still put a patina on - with brass handles it would all match. I'll need to experiment with how to attach the handles. But first I have to lay out the design for etching and get it etched.

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