Familiarize Yourself with Some Tools and Techniques Used by Silversmiths…
Silversmithing techniques,silversmithing ancient techniques,manual of techniques & tools
Like any other tradesman, silversmiths also utilize a variety of tools and
techniques to craft beautiful articles of silver. Knowing every single one
of them would be necessary only for someone who is planning to enter the
trade. But for you, as a collector of antiques, a few terms might come in
(1) Our banking system has originated because of SILVERSMITHS who fashioned
the first coins to be used by the general public. They are responsible
for crafting silver artifacts and even flatware (flat tableware and silverware).
(2) Serving dishes (hollowware) and eating utensils (flatware) are generally
fashioned from STERLING SILVER. This is an alloy of 92.5% of fine silver
and 7.5% of copper. Pure silver is too soft for these large functional
items, and therefore stronger Sterling silver is utilized in its place.
As a matter of fact, this proportion in Sterling silver has been decided
by U.S. law.
(3) FIRESCALE is a purple stain that is produced on Sterling silver when
soldering is attempted at high temperatures. Despite a silversmith doing
his/her best to prevent this from occurring, he/she may not always be
successful. Thus, you can see this stain on antiques from Colonial times,
even after several polishes.
(4) When a sheet of metal is hammered to form the outline of an object,
it is known as DIE FORMING. This process also comes in useful to make
(5) REPOUSSE helps in embossing a metal object from the inside or the
(6) While Die Forming does the rough hammering, PLANISHING provides the
final smooth touches to the metallic surface. After all, this sheet is
going to be used for crafting decorative and functional pieces. Silversmiths
have to ensure that no dust is retained on the metal.
(7) Once a rough outline has been created on the metal sheet, the grooves
have to be deepened slightly. This is known as ENGRAVING. There is hand
engraving, and there is machine engraving.
(8) To provide the necessary gloss to the metal object after soldering,
we have a long-spindled arbor with wire wheels. This is the SCRATCH BRUSH.
The wheels move at slow speed with the aid of a motor.
(9) In contrast to the scratch brush is the POLISHING WHEEL. This is
also a long-spindled arbor with wheels, but they move at high speed. This
is also motorized. Based on the type of finish that is required, abrasive
compounds are applied on the polishing wheels—rouge, matte, etc.
(10) And finally, we have the purest form of silversmithing, which is
known as RAISING. It is a labor-intensive technique that results in hollowing
out metals. It is possible to achieve this effect by flattening a sheet
of metal over a cast-iron T-stake or head.