Uchidashi (loosely translated "hammering down") is a Japanese metalworking technique for creating small 3-dimensional shapes from sheet metal. The technique has been compared to chasing/repousse because of the similarity of the tools used, but really it is quite different. I just returned from England, where I studied this technique with Ford Hallam, a top expert in Japanese metalworking. Here is a visual walk through of my first sample exercise - lots of captions for the detail-oriented. The technique itself was fabulous to learn and I hope to incorporate it into my own work, but even more importantly I learned ancient and effective ways to do finishing work. Rather than file and sandpaper, the finishing here was done with scraper and scotchstone. Big surprise is that I loved these tools! I thought they would feel mind-numbingly slow and I'd be yearning to break out my usual tools, but I wasn't. The scraper feels intuitive to use and adapts to both convex and concave shapes with ease. The scotchstone is meditative and gets into tiny corners more effectively than sandpaper.
Oh and of course you might be wanting to know how I got the red color on the copper. It is just heat-coloring - I've seen tutorials on facebook on how to do this, so the details are out there. (In general, get your copper screaming hot in a slightly reducing atmosphere, then quench immediately in hot water that contains a teaspoon or so of borax. That's it.) There were only subtle differences in technique that Ford added. Mainly, he is damn good and that's why his copper reds come out so well! If you'd like to learn more about uchidashi or Japanese metalwork in general, try Ford's new patreon page.
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Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.