Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Copper Fold Forming

I love books.
I especially love books that teach me something new about designing and fabricating jewelry.
Go to any bookstore (if you're lucky to still have one nearby) or search online, and you will find a plethora of really wonderful jewelry books that provide technical and design guidance.  Many of them have helped me to develop my skills and to narrow my areas of interest.
I've been making jewelry and buying jewelry-themed books long enough that it's become challenging for me to find new books that provide me with the kind of inspiration that I'm searching for.
But......I found that inspiration in 'Foldforming' by Charles Lewton-Brain.
I've actually had this book for a while, and I frequently pull it out for some late night reading.
If you like working with and manipulating metal, I strongly recommend it.
After months of mulling over the techniques and the beautiful images, I decided to put information into action.
I cut a 6 1/2" x 1 1/2" strip of 22 gauge copper, filed and sanded all edges before annealing with an acetylene torch.
I then made a series of folds, some using a vise-grip and some just using the hammer on a steel bench block.
Between each step of folding, I annealed and quenched.
When I started, I had an idea of where I wanted to go.
That is not where I ended up.
I found that with my central fold that runs the length of the copper, I could not open it all of the way up, even after annealing.
The solution?.....I told myself to embrace the problem.
I laid the copper on a bench block and hammered away.
Once that lateral fold was flattened, I added 3 vertical folds.
After the final annealing and quenching, I again filed and sanded all edges before shaping the strip into a cuff with a steel bracelet mandrel.
How fun and satisfying to be able to make this with a strip of copper, a minimal amount of tools and brute force.


  1. Really lovely. I've been thinking it's about time I got some fold forming done, I am hoping to have a go in the coming weeks

  2. You've been thinking about it?..... you will almost certainly love fold forming. If you make some pieces and post photos, please post the link!