The best silver to use when forming a silver cup is sterling silver. The qualities of the sterling allow for malleability when hammering the form. The cup form is shaped by hammering it on an anvil or a mushroom stake anvil pin, or placing a flat disc inside a die and hammering it to the desired shape. A homemade cup die is created by carving the desired shape of the cup into the end of a hardwood log, such as oak, cherry or walnut.
Things You’ll Need:
Walnut, oak or cherry log
14 to 20 gauge sterling silver sheet
Bench pin with V-pin
Metal scribe (optional)
5-inches, 4 gauge round sterling silver wire
Silver solder (Medium and Hard)
1 1/2-inch black pipe
Fire resistant surface
Sparax (Jeweler’s Pickle)
Glass container with lid
Step 1 – Carve a curved indentation into the flat surface of a walnut, oak or cherry log using carving tools. Make the curved die 2 1/2-inches wide. The depth of the die indentation can be from 2 to 4 inches. Make sure that the die shape is domed and does not have any angles in the formation. Sand the inside of the die when carving is completed.
Step 2 – Draw both a perfect 3-inch and 4-inch circle on a piece of paper. Cut out the paper circles. Coat one side of the paper circles with rubber cement and place them along the edge of the sterling silver sheet. Press the paper into place. Let the glue dry for three minutes. Alternately, you can scribe the surface of the sterling silver sheet with a perfect 3-inch and 4-inch circle using a metal scribe and compass.
Step 3 – Cut the circles from the sterling silver sheet with a jeweler’s saw. Place the sheet of sterling silver on a bench pin with a V-pin. The bench pin allows for easy access for cutting and a way to stabilize the silver sheet during the cutting process. The V-pin provides an area for saw blade placement for cutting a stabilized piece of metal.
Step 4 – File and sand the edges of the sterling silver discs to remove any waves or nicks. Remove the paper from the surface of the circles.
Step 5 – Place the 4-inch disc inside the die. Begin hammering the sterling silver to form the cup shape approximately 1/2-inch below the outside edge. Hammer all the way around the circumference of the disc. Continue the process of hammering the metal by moving the hammer slightly toward the center of the disc. Note: The metal will need to be annealed, heated, every five minutes to prevent the metal from cracking during the hammering process.
Step 6 – Remove the disc from the die and place it between the iron tongs. Light the acetylene torch with a striker and heat the disc until it begins to turn orange. This is annealing the metal. Turn off the torch.
Step 7 – Place the heated disc into the die. Continue hammering the metal to the shaped die in the wood log. Work from the outside toward the center in a ringed fashion. Repeat the annealing/heating process and hammering process until the cup shape is perfectly formed.
Step 8 – Hammer the 5-inch piece of 4-gauge round silver wire around the outside of a 1 1/2-inch black pipe. Create a ring from the round silver wire.
Step 9 – File and sand the seam of the ring so it fits flush.
Step 10 – Flux the two ends of the ring. Place two pieces of hard silver solder between the ring seam and solder them together.
Step 11 – Mix the Sparex according to the instructions on the container. Use a glass container with a lid for the Sparex mixture.
Step 12 – Place the ring in the Sparex for five minutes. Remove from the Sparex, rinse with water and dry the ring.
Step 13 – Brush flux over the bottom of the cup. Sit the brim of the cup on a fire-resistant surface so that the bottom is facing up.
Step 14 – Brush flux over the entire surface of the ring.
Step 15 – Sit the ring on the bottom of the cup so it is centered. Lift the ring up slightly and place medium silver solder every 1/4-inch. Carefully set the ring on the solder.
Step 16 – Solder the ring to the bottom of the cup.
Step 17 – Place the soldered cup in Sparex for five minutes. Remove the cup from the Sparex and rinse with water. Dry the piece. Sand off any remaining oxidation and scratches. Tips:
Use a mushroom pin in a bench vise to create the cup shape. Lay the disc on top of the mushroom pin and begin hammering the metal around the pin. Heat the metal to increase malleability. Continue the process until the cup form is shaped.
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