"Metal is a plastic Medium"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Masonite Die forming

A type of metal forming technique that is used in the jewelry industry and is also used to make small sculptural pieces, is Masonite die forming. It is a die made of hard plywood faced with fully hardened -Masonite.
The Masonite-used is the hardest Masonite-on the market There are two types of Masonite, the softer type that is used for the back of clipboards and the fully hardened type. A die faced with the fully hardened Masonite produces a sharper edge than just plain plywood or a die faced with soft Masonite.If a die of plain plywood was used the inside edge of the plywood would become dull and rounded after use, which would create a larger radius on the inside edge of the metal being hammered into the die.
masonite die Masonite Die
The outline of the finished piece is drawn on the Masonite and cut out. The metal is annealed first and then bolted onto the die.

After it is bolted onto the die the metal is hammered into the die. The deeper the metal is pressed into the die the more it should be taken off of the die and annealed, or softened. copper formed using the Masonite die process

There is a split in the copper piece in the above photo. That was caused because I was in too much of a hurry. I didn’t anneal the copper before or during the hammering process. The metal was moved too far and too fast, hence the split in the metal. I also made the mistake of using a metal hammer. When metal meets metal, the metal sheet that your hammering against work hardens quicker. It is ideal to use a hammer that is made from a hard plastic or hard wood