October 3rd and 4th David Tuthill will be teaching Hot and Cold Forging for Jewelry at Danaca Design. This class aims to initiate students into the hot and cold manipulation of non-ferrous and ferrous metals for jewelry and other small scale objects. Using brass, copper and steel students will employ a variety of hammers and other tools to forge squares, tapers, spoons and utensils, twists, fullers, decorative rivet heads and other ornamental details.
But what is the difference between hot forging and cold forging? And what sort of jewelry can you make by forging?
Forging is one of the oldest known metalworking processes dating to at least 4000 BC and most likely earlier. Metals such as bronze and iron where forged into hand tools and weapons, but the earliest recorded metal used seems to be gold. Traditionally forging was done by a Smith using metal heated in a forge and formed with hammers on an anvil.
The industrial revolution replaced traditional forging techniques by developing some of the first electric powered hammers. Today most industrial forging is done with computer-controlled hydraulic and air hammers. But there are still blacksmiths that use traditional techniques when making one of kind items such as decorative gates and forged jewelry is made much the same way as it was millenniums ago.
Difference between hot and cold forging
Forging is the process of shaping metal by using localized compressive forces. The blows are delivered with a hammer or a die.
Cold forging is when the metal is hammered or formed at room temperature (or cold) and annealed periodically to soften the metal. Metals such as silver, brass, and copper can all be cold forged fairly easily.
Hot forging is when the metal is hammered or formed while the metal is hot normally just after being removed from a forge. Most steel and iron needs to be hot forged.
Many types of jewelry can be made in whole or part by forging. Forged rings and bracelets are very commonly seen but you can also forge pendants, belt buckles, earrings and more. You can use the technique to make very industrial jewelry out of steel or fine and delicate jewelry from silver or gold. Forging has unlimited potential only limited your imagination.