take you to the start of this project, I had a customer come to the shop
to pick up some ironwork that I had completed for them.
In the conversation, I was asked if I could make a weather vane.
Before gathering details, my reply was yes.
As the conversation continued, I learned that the customer wanted
a weather vane with a copper bull on top of it.
This meant the process that I needed to use to produce the bull
was Repousse, defined in the
dictionary as "the shaping or decorating with patterns in relief
formed by hammering and pressing on the reverse side."
the above in mind, it was time to gather the tooling to do the job.
With the help of Index of the Anvil’s Ring back issues,
compiled by William Hightower and the Anvil’s Ring, I was able
to read, study, and learn from others.
Some of the tools I already had, some were bought and some I
click to enlarge photo
Sheet metal backing tray
with wet newspaper
one item that I did not have or could come up with was a good backing up
material. Some people were using lead, tree pitch, commercial roofing
tar, shot bags and other backing mediums.
To solve my dilemma, I broke a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal to
form a 48” x 32” x 2” deep tray. I then placed layers of newspaper
in the tray about 1.5 inches thick.
After the newspaper was placed in the tray, I then added water to
it. I found out this method
works best when the newspaper is completely wet and there is no standing
water in the tray.
you use the backing medium and it becomes distorted, all you need to do
is add a few more layers of newspaper to the cavity you want to fill and
add a little more water.
the tray was made and the tools gathered, it was time to start.
The bull pattern was then traced on the sheet copper (16oz. -
.022” thick) and placed in the tray of wet newspapers.
using different hammers and other tools to create the shoulders, legs,
neck, head, ears, eyes, and other details, the Bull was raised.
That is one side. The
same process is used to form the other side, but keep in mind it is a
mirror image of the first side.
the sides were formed, the 3-D tail was created.
Remember to leave extra material around outline of the pattern to
use to join the two half’s together.
the two halves are placed together, the tube and internal frame work
needs to be added. The tube needs to have a ball welded into one end and the
frame needs to be formed to fit the weather vane, and welded to the
tube. Attach the tube and
internal frame to one side of the weather vane.
This was done by using copper clips and soldering them to the
weather vane. To add extra
strength I also used copper rivets.
The tube is what fits down over the supporting shaft and ball in
the end of the tube will serve as the bearing.
the frame installed you can now solder the two halves together.
This takes time and patience.
that the bull has been completed, the North, South, East and West will
be created. The shaft that will support the weather vane, and the
mounting hardware was made and finish is applied.
click to enlarge photo
by Bob Elliott
A special thank you
goes out to my sister, Gladys Antulov, who worked with me on this
Article and photos
by Robert W. "Bob" Elliott
a quarterly publication of ABANA
This article originally appeared in the September
2001 issue of the ABA Newsletter