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Fold Form Copper Bracelet Project
This is an easy fold form cuff project. The folds and curves created in the process result in a beautiful piece of wearable art. This project will help you gain experience with the annealing and quenching process. You will see how the metal hardens as you work with the copper. As the last step of the project you may want to apply a patina or simply buff the copper.
Flattening the piece in the vise is the most difficult step of the process. After you unfold the piece you come to the most exciting step, hammering the metal flat. The flatness of the metal when in the vise is up to the artist. Beginners may want to stop before the piece is completely flat. Hence, making it easier to unfold.
22 to 24 gauge copper
Vise with wood attached to the inside of the jaws
A hand held torch
Glass or Metal Container of Water for quenching
Planishing Hammer and Nylon, Rawhide or Rubber Mallet
Unfolding tool such as a butter knife or letter opener
Heavy cloth scrap or leather pieces
A wire brush on a rotary wheel.
Liver of Sulphur
1. Draw a rectangle pattern onto the copper to the desired size of your cuff. The size that fits most female wrists is 6 inches by 1 ½ inches.
2. File the edges and round the corners until all edges are smooth.
3. Anneal the copper until it is a bright cherry red and quench in water.
4. Roll the copper lengthwise into a circular shape. You can do this with your hands or use a bracelet mandrel or similar shaping tool. The ends should overlap slightly, forming a circle.
5. Place your circle piece of copper in your vise and tighten until the edges are against the vise jaws.
6. Continue tightening the vise as the copper flattens and folds in on itself. When the copper begins hardening, anneal and quench as in step three.
7. Place cuff in vise and continue to tighten vise until the copper is almost flat. You may have to anneal, and quench a few more times before achieving the desired flatness.
8. Once you decide the metal is flat enough it must be annealed, quenched, and pickled in order to pull the copper apart.
9. Carefully begin prying the metal open at the folds. You may want to use a piece of cloth or leather over the prying tool to avoid scratches.
10. The copper will continue to harden as you attempt to pry it apart. As it hardens you will want to continue annealing and quenching.
11. Once the metal is unfolded, pull it lengthwise with your hands to prepare to flatten.
12. Place the copper on your anvil and using a nylon or rubber mallet hammer the piece flat. You will see the curves and folds take on unique patterns as the piece is hammered down.
13. After annealing and quenching again, use your nylon mallet to shape the cuff on a bracelet mandrel. After the cuff is shaped continue gently tapping all over the copper. This will harden the metal and help the cuff maintain its shape.
14. File any remaining sharp edges and run a wire brush or preferable wire wheel to smooth out the edges.
15. You may apply your Patina at this point. You can use Liver of Sulphur, Renaissance Wax, or simply buff the entire piece out and let it patina naturally.
It is the unique result you achieve that makes this such an exciting piece to make. Every fold form piece you create will have a different pattern than your previous piece. Truly a unique piece of art.
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