Ham­mer­ing tools

The Shed - - Silversmith -

sculp­tural pieces as well as do­ing any gold-plat­ing.

Given the in­trin­sic value of the metal and time-con­sum­ing process, sil­ver pieces are ex­pen­sive and most of Nicola’s works are com­mis­sioned. Her goal is to pro­duce ex­quis­ite pieces that far out­weigh the worth of the raw ma­te­rial and will be trea­sured for cen­turies to come.

“People ad­mire things that are old, but my works will be an­tiques in 100 or 200 years too,” she says. “We need to have people mak­ing things that last more than five min­utes.”  Nicola has built up an ar­se­nal of shap­ing tools over the years, many of them home­made or re­pur­posed from un­ex­pected sources. Along­side more con­ven­tional smithing tools are stain­less-steel hip-re­place­ment joints and heavy nails picked up when cy­cling the Otago Cen­tral Rail Trail. “I filed off the rust and pol­ished them up,” says Nicola, who ad­mits that they made for a heavy bike-load.

“It’s not high-tech. You need a range of hooks, knobs, and domes for get­ting the sub­tleties of shape, and the weight­ing of ham­mers is im­por­tant.”

All the ham­mers and shap­ing tools are highly pol­ished. “You have to keep ev­ery­thing very clean, as the tini­est bit of grit will mark the sil­ver,” she ex­plains.

Nicola is con­sci­en­tious about wear­ing ear­muffs and also an elas­tic wrist strap to avoid dam­age from repet­i­tive ham­mer­ing.

A range of ham­mers

Dif­fer­ent shaped tools for plan­ish­ing and form­ing, with those for an­ti­clas­tic rais­ing on the mid­dle shelf

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