by Michael Page

 It was autumn at Touchstone Center for  Crafts. The fall Demo weekend was taking place and the pickings were getting kind of thin for  “Iron in the Hat”, but then my number was called.  “It” had been overlooked by everyone and almost by myself, so I grabbed a 17 inch 2 inch diameter piece of round stock, not really sure what I would use it for, but I had my prize. I was a winner! So there it sat collecting dust and a little rust, and it moved to Wisconsin with me.

Then the idea hit me, “Whoa,  there it was all this time, a perfect stake for making small copper vases”.

I had some 2 inch copper pipe and I placed it on the stake. It was a tight fit-no problem, taking a grinder I took some stock off, and the fit was ok.  So I had a > 2 inch diameter stake and 2 inch diameter copper pipe, planishing hammer and a post vise to hold the stake (a pipe vise works also), and I started to lay down the line.

First, I anneal the copper pipe then pickle, hit with either Scotchbrite or steel wool lightly, (this allows you to see your hammering better). By hammering from one end of the copper pipe to the other end you can see how straight your hammered lines are , if it’s not straight, again no problem, the next line can camouflage a crooked line to some degree.  Hammering a straight line does take some practice. The hammering can be either vertical or horizontal in reference to the pipe. 

To break the visual lines, I place the now copper vase on the horn of the anvil. With a mallet lightly hit about a ½ inch down the vase while holding the piece up a bit on the horn, this will flare the ends of the vase. Next is a

bottom. I take flat sheet copper that is a bit larger than the base of the vase, making sure that the bottom of the vase is square to the copper sheet with no visible gaps. Placing base on a piece of sand paper, in a figure 8 motion, knock off the high spots.. Now you’re ready to silver solder the bottom … make sure that it is a tight fit … no gaps. Then trim the excess sheet off and carefully grind off copper.

 Now you’re ready for Patina.

  A 12 inch X 2 inch diameter, cut piece of stock goes for around $30. 

(Right) - Completed vase is 2 inches in diameter by 5 inches tall