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My First Attempt At An Anticlastic Bangle!

I've been wanting to try anticlastic forming for such a long time now and I've had some of the tools I need to do it for over a year {oops!} Anyway I finally got round to it a couple of weeks ago.

{The simplest definition of an anticlastic form is something that curves in opposite ways in two directions. Think of the shape of a saddle where the part that fits the horse curves in one direction and the part you sit on curves in another direction.}

Just after Christmas I treated myself to a Durston bangle forming die set...

It came with a mallet too but more about that later. Having this spurred me on to having a go so I cut a strip of copper, soldered it and formed it into a round shape. I marked the solder join with a Sharpie as a starting point reference and drew guide lines around the bangle to help guide the mallet strikes.

The die set is very easy to use. You secure the steel bar in a vice then slide the die onto the bar. I threaded a broken burr into the holes at the end of the bar as the die tended to move along the bar as I hammered the copper.
* I'll apologize now for the blurred photos - the light was poor that day and it slowed down the shutter speed on my camera allowing plenty of time for wobbles!

I used a Fretz hammer with nylon inserts to hammer the bangle as I didn't want any marks on the copper. Using a metal hammer would leave marks on the copper and stretch it which I didn't want to happen. I'm planning on making etched and embossed bangles so using a nylon mallet/hammer is the way to go.

Taking the solder join as the start point I hammered one side of the bangle using the line as a guide, striking the die in the same spot each time and turning the bangle as I hammered. I then turned the bangle round and hammered along the other side. After one pass {hammering all the way round} on each side of the bangle this is the resulting curve.

This is the curve on the bangle after two passes on each side on the larger die.

I then turned the die around and used the narrower side. By now I'd also added two bits of slightly grubby Blu-Tack to the ends of the burr to stop it falling out of the hole! I then decided a bit of bent wire would be a better idea :D

The bangle was a little bit wide for that size die but I concentrated on the middle to increase the curve then hammered more towards the edges on both sides to curve the metal and to start to smooth out any ripples along the edges. I'll make sure the die is big enough for the width of the bangle next time!

The bangle did go out of shape a couple of times as I was hammering it on the die but a few taps on the bracelet mandrel with the nylon hammer soon sorted that out.

This is a Eid Longhi stake that I bought over a year ago and haven't really used yet. I think it's a small size {can't remember!} and will be good to use for anticlastic and synclastic earrings. As it's smaller the curve is more pronounced compared to the Durston dies.

I will try this stake with thinner widths of metal and report back soon :D

As I was forming the bangle I managed to "damage" the nylon inserts on the Fretz hammer. Accidently hammering on the edge of the bangle left marks in the nylon.

I soon got rid of them with a file and sandpaper but will try to avoid doing that next time.

About the mallet that came with the Durston bangle forming die set......
This is the finish on the part of the mallet that would be in contact with the metal. Lumpy and rough and guaranteed to add that special textured look to your metal whether you wanted it or not! The other side was just as bad. Considering the price of the bangle die set I was really surprised and disappointed with the quality of the finish of the mallet supplied with it. I took one look at it and decided it wasn't going anywhere near my metal until I'd sorted it out.

A good half an hour's filing and sanding later and both sides of the mallet are now fit to do the job they are designed for. It's unfortunate that there is a join line in the plastic right down the middle of the mallet face but hopefully it won't leave a noticeable mark on the metal.

And here's another photo of the finished practice bangle.

Not too bad for a first go and there's more to come very soon :D

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  1. Your bangle has turned out beautifully, I cant believe that it is a practice bangle at all. I love these domed/dapped bangles but I always used to wonder how they were made (I didnt even know that they were called anticlastic and synclastic shapes). Thank you so much for this information and sharing the entire process

    1. I love these shapes too. I'd like to try a synclastic bangle - where the face of the bangle has a convex (domed) surface.

  2. Well, good job! I am also on this metalsmithing journey, so I very much your honest play by play. I am not as far down the road as you, but your posts have been similar to my experiences once I get to those techniques. Keep on Going! You are doing great! My next big investment will be that cool hydrogen torch system sold be Rio grande, amoung others. Very excited and also a little scared. Wish me luck! Let the soldering begin!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I'm glad my posts are of some use. Have fun with your metalsmithing :D

  3. Awesome job Tracy! That hammer looks fun to use!

  4. Great for a first try!! I would like to try this one day too, especially for earrings. :)

  5. Lovely - I've had my bracelet sinusoidal stake tools for years and never used yet - I even know where they are? and a nylon hammer ! You did a great job - I always envy your torching seams - they are always so clean - cant wait to see your etched bracelets

    1. Thanks Deborah, you should dig out your stake and mallet and have a go too! I didn't bother with the seam on the practice bangle but I normally file and sand my solder seams so they don't look too noticeable on copper.


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