- 1 Related Videos
- 2 Related Web Pages
- 2.1 How to chase and repousse with steel
- 2.2 What chasing & repoussé tools should you start with?
- 2.3 Should a hobbyist consider chasing and repoussé?
- 2.4 I live in India and cannot find a supplier that sells a beginner set of tools for Repoussé, what can I do?
- 2.5 Metal Embossing Versus Chasing & Repousse – why is it so challenging?
- Chasing and Repoussé, part one – C&R, part two – C&R – part three
- Making Chasing and Repousse Tools part one, and part two
Related Web Pages
- Basic Chasing and Repousse
- Making Chasing and Repousse Tools.
- Please see this link at Q&A: Setting Up a Jewelry Studio about beginning Chasing and Repoussé setup.
How to chase and repousse with steel
” I want to start chasing & repoussé on steel. Where do I start?”
I’m going to be taking on class on this topic but, for now, here’s what I know about chasing steel.
- Chasing steel is easiest on mild steel or low-carbon steel (.03% or lower of carbon). It should be annealed.
- Heavier hammers (1 lb) are usually required as are more robust punches and pushers.
- Many use chisels for engraving steel.
- Most repousse the metal during hot work, as it is very difficult to do, when cold working steel.
- The concepts are very similar to standard C&R.
- Some recommend using austenitic stainless steel. Online Metals carries the 300 series.
- Steel can be engraved, punched, carved, chiseled etc.
- I recommend a blacksmithing book as well as Nancy Megan Corwin’s: Chasing and Repoussé: Methods Ancient and Modern.
What chasing & repoussé tools should you start with?
“What starter tools should I make/purchase? What are the most useful for a beginner?”
I’ve put together some images and sizes of my favorite, most used tools.
Should a hobbyist consider chasing and repoussé?
“I’m just a hobbyist when it comes to making jewelry but I’m considering trying out chasing, but I’m a little overwhelmed. Is it a method you’d recommend for a hobbyist like myself or something best left to someone who has more tools and set-up like your studio? I have a set of 1/8” chasing tools, basic things like a liner, curved liner, round, oval, etc. but that’s it for tools, no dapping punches even. I bought a pitch bowl and pitch, but I only have one. I don’t know that I’d be able to make any tools myself since all I have is a little butane torch and one of those propane torches you use for camping or something like that, not a proper propane setup or acetylene. I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on tools or anything so I’d like to know if it’s possible to chase and repoussé with just what I’ve got since I’ve spend more money on tools and such than I should in the first place.”
Hi Katy, there is no reason you can’t be chasing and repousse-ing all day long. You have plenty of tools to start with. First, use what you have and when you find that your tools aren’t letting you fulfill your vision, THEN purchase what you need. Many people, myself included, buy too many tools and then sit and stare at them. I’ve bought tools that I didn’t even know what they were for. So, buy what you need, when you need it!
Speaking of buying tools: Harbor Freight has an inexpensive dapping set that could help, down the road (wow, the price has gone way up – it used to be about 25.00!!!). Rio Grande offers one for $45.00. So, if you decide you need the dapping set for the punching part of repoussé, then purchase it then. You can always make punches by rounding the tips of various sized dowels, for now. They don’t last forever but, what a cheap alternative!
I would just go for it. You’ve nothing to lose! Anneal some thinnish copper – 26g – 24g, draw or scratch on a design and get going! Don’t expect miracles or perfection just play. Later, down the road, if you feel like this is a good fit for you, you might think about investing in a hotter torch for tool making BUT, for now, what you have is fine. I know people who use hair dryers to soften pitch and I tend to use my heat gun. The torch is great for cleaning the metal, after it has been in the pitch (you need excellent ventilation for this) and for annealing. You’re set!
I started out as a “hobbyist” and look what happened to me (whatever that is?). Don’t underestimate your love of craft – it is a powerful and amazing tool. You just need to let it go and watch the magic happen! Have fun.
BTW, you only need one pitch bowl! I still only use one, I just happen to have two after I tried out the red pitch for the video.
I live in India and cannot find a supplier that sells a beginner set of tools for Repoussé, what can I do?
“Namaste, I am Sculptor Nilesh Dhere, from India, I am interested in Repousse´ work and want to purchase a beginner set of tools, I referred to your website and find it very useful.”
“The company you have mentioned in your website “Perfect Line, India”, they don’t have these tools, can you recommend any other suppliers from India?”
The problem is, I don’t know of many suppliers in India. I’ve been asking my viewers for more information but, I have not received any responses. I did find that Amazon is in India and found several books on the subject but, no chasing tools on Amazon. Sunrise Exports has jewelry tools, perhaps you could contact them. Tools Impex, Eagle Industries also has jewelry tools. I’ve added several more jewelry suppliers in India to my Indian Suppliers list. Check there, for more links.
It is difficult to search for non-USA products while in the USA as most of the links are for the USA. Have you searched the internet? IF you do find any links, please let me know. I know from another Indian correspondent, that many of the Craftspeople who do chasing and repousse´, don’t want to share their knowledge. But, perhaps you could ask an artisan where they buy their tools or have them teach you to make them? Sorry, wish I had more information. I’ve emailed another jeweler about suppliers of chasing and repousse´ tools and when/if I hear back from her, I will let you know (if she offers any new information).
Have you thought of making your own? Did you see my videos and web page on making your own tools? Part one of making chasing tools, part two and my web page. They are pretty easy to make – I can do it. You only need simple tools too and a torch.
Metal Embossing Versus Chasing & Repousse – why is it so challenging?
With C&R, you are always creating differently shaped tools. I had to make a honeycomb-shaped tool for a wasps nest pendant, as an example. If you can’t make something work, think about making a new tool.
You didn’t specify what problems you were having. Is it that your work isn’t as good as you think it should be? Are you not able to create what you want? Are you having difficulty with repousse, lining or planishing.? Let me know what, specifically, you need help with and I will attempt to assist you.
Try working with copper – it’s a much softer material or fine silver. I put down my lines, with my liner and then anneal. I flip it over and do my repousse. Anneal. Flip again – back to the liner. Over and over again. The annealing makes the work easier and it keeps the metal from becoming overly stressed and tearing.
I love this technique and can spend all my time on it – if allowed. But, alas… Keep pushing forward, you’ll get it! Metal embossing IS much easier – that’s why more people do it!