NJBA Meet At Spirit Iron, Tim And Rachel Millers Shop
November 2005

The Meet was held on November 12, in the Spirit Iron Shop run by Tim and Rachel Miller. Tim was the first demonstrator. He started his demo by forging a freeform copper bowl. He uses copper buss bar pieces he gets from the scrap yard for the stock.
Starting in the center of the piece he uses the power hammer to work out from the center of the piece. This gives a variation of the edge thicknesses as the piece develops. He has a clamp-on die holder to hold his drawing die for the hammer.

Using a large heavy hammer he works the center into a sinking ring, which he follows by using a smooth faced hammer over a stake. He feels that by using a heavy hammer the hammer is doing most of the work. He then works the edges over a sinusoidal stake to give them the curves he desires.

Tim uses muriatic acid dip as a cleaner for the bowl after working it. It is a weak solution with a small piece of iron bar in it which helps to accelerate the cleaning action. He also uses hot shearing with a lever shear to cut the copper bars.

Tip: When upsetting, straighten it when it bends or you will just continue bending it.

Fullered in from edges

Different size fullers
and anvil horn

Draw out edges

-Quench copper to anneal
-Hammering refines the grain making it smaller and tougher, causing to become work hardened
-Heating copper and then quenching it forms large softer crystals.
-Re-anneal as the piece work hardens
Cutter for
bronze nails

Tim then showed a project he has been working on using forged silicon bronze nails

Recommended book by Tim;
Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths

The next demo was by Tom Ryan, Tom gave the next demonstration, starting with showing shop drawings and describing how they are presented to clients and this led into discussing other business practices.

He then described a basic gate layout for a garden gate.

The layout was traditional and simple.
He demonstrated how the top strap and bearing section on the bar are formed.

Swadge to dish strap so
it flattens when bent

Spring swadge to round
stile for the top journal
and bottom pivot

Tool to keep bottom
strap in shape for the
top journal

Worked into an swadge
to even out journal strap

Tom then showed how he was working out the test pieces for an up coming job by doing them there (Without a previous dry run)


Tool to
Rachel Miller was the next demonstrator.
Tims partner and sister Rachel showed photographs of several pieces and had some on display that had been made recently using large forged leaves. She then demonstrated the forging of the leaves
Her steps were to ;
Chisel veins

Define veins over swadge

Work from the back to
bring out the front
Redefine the leaves

Planish over a ball stake.

Many thanks to Tim, Rachel and Tom for an excellent meet and great demonstrations .

Photos by Larry Brown and Tom Majewski

Tim Miller

Tim Miller

Tim's copper bowls

Tom Ryan

Tom with Tim at the forge

Gate post layout

Tom on the power hammer

Tom on the power hammer

Samples in the shop

Samples in the shop

Samples in the shop

Tom Forging sample part

Tom's layout drawing part

Completed sample part

Rachel Miller veining leaf

Rachel Miller

Rachel working leaf over wood

Rachel with flower