Late Anglo-Saxon Disk-Brooches. Part 6. (Enamelling Tools)

Figures A to J.
Goldsmithing and Enameling Tools: Iron Hoods / Muffles and Trays.

This is Part 6 of my series of blog posts related to my Late Anglo-Saxon Enamel Disk-Brooch Project on the historical tools used in Goldsmithing and Enameling from approximately the 2nd-century BCE until the middle of the 2nd-millennium CE. 



I was inspired by the hood/muffle sets that two fellow Enamelers each fabricated and based on Theophilus' description from, 'On Diverse Arts'. A couple of years ago I saw the set made by THL Alys Treeby, my Apprentice Belt-Sister, she's had multiple successful enamel firings on a Blacksmith's charcoal heated forge. Recently Sir Ælfwyn Langanwuda sent me photographs of the set she fabricated. This past weekend she was able to use it with great success on her period bead kiln that she's repurposed, previously she used a blacksmith's forge as a heat source. Both of their hoods are appropriately 3-inches in diameter.


In May of this year, Doug Colin Guyton fabricated for me a perforated, domed hood/muffle and tray (see Figure M.) based on my research of Theophilus' Treatise, ‘On Diverse Arts’. Both the domed extant and reproduction pieces have handles though shaped differently. Theophilus' description is of a flat tray similar to a pizza paddle, and the domed Georgian extant tray is concave, similar to a frying pan.
Figures K and L.


Over the next year I plan to experiment with my muffle set using a charcoal forge to solder, enamel and fuse. I hope to fabricate another domed muffle/hood as well as conical shaped ones, based on the extant finds of the “Iron hood, Vani, second half of the 2nd century B.C.”.


The hood/muffle and its tray are used on a charcoal forge (see Figures B and O) or with a furnace, both are smaller than what Blacksmiths use(d). They are placed on top of heated charcoal and other heated pieces of charcoal are piled a couple of inches high around the hood. Since the holes in the hood/muffle were punched from the interior outwards, the sharp edges of the cut and stretched metal point outwards, much like a cheese grater, and help reduce how much ash and particles can enter. The charcoal quickly heats the metal and interior space. Once the needed temperature range and time have been reached then the charcoal can be carefully brushed away from the sides and the entire hood/muffle and tray can be removed from the forge or furnace. 


"A copy of the Colchian cloisonné hood was made and tested, which showed that the Colchian “hood" is a goldsmith's tool – an iron muffle. If placed underneath a pile of burning coals as described by Theophilus, high temperatures are achieved inside the muffle and a highly skilled jeweler can perform work on glass, gold or silver." (Ermile Maghradze, Nature, June 2014)


I am researching the writings of three other historical figures in hopes of finding more information on the tools and techniques of pre-Renaissance soldering, fusing, and enameling techniques. I will continue to write blog posts of my experiments and findings over the coming year.



Figures M to P.
Figure A. 
Ermile Maghradze fabricating a Gold Cloisonné enameled medallion based on an extant find. 

Figure B. 
One style of “Colchian hood” being used for Georgian style enameling on a charcoal forge. The one shown above is a reproduction based on an extant find (Figure K and L). 


Figure C. 
Ermile Maghradze placing Gold cloisons on the backplate. 

Figure D. 
The perforated, domed hood looks like Theophilus’ description in his Treatise, ‘On Diverse Arts’, though this extant Georgian base is concave, similar to a frying pan, instead of flat like a pizza paddle, as in his description. 


Figures E & F. 
“Iron hood, Vani, second half of the 2nd century B.C.”, a conical style of perforated muffle / hood and its base, displayed in the Georgian National Museum. 

Figures G to J. 
A variety of Georgian Cloisonné enameled pieces.

Figure K.
The various tools used for fabricating Georgian enamelled pieces, several are extant finds (both hoods), others are modern recreations based on finds and research. 


This conical hood is very similar to the “Iron hood, Vani, second half of the 2nd century B.C.” from page 57 of the article. 


The perforated, domed hood looks like Theophilus’ description in his Treatise, ‘On Diverse Arts’, though this Georgian base is concave, similar to a frying pan, instead of flat as in his description.

Figure L.
"One very important archaeological discovery in Western Georgia was a perforated, cone-shaped iron “hood” and a tray discovered in 1966 in the remains of a city near Vani in the historical region of Colchis. We made a link between this artifact and a type of “hood” used to mount enamel, which had been described by Theophilus. In the chapter of the treatise that explains firing gold plate with mounted enamel, Theophilus describes a “hood” with a tray that a smith has to use to complete the firing. It is apparently very important that Theophilus is describing one of the types of muffles (a clay or iron box inserted into a furnace in order to fire an article) that was widespread in the medieval goldsmith workshops."
- from, Ermile Maghradze (2014) 'The Discovery of the “Colchian hood”, a tool that shaped the art of Medieval Cloisonné Enamel Technology', Museum. Georgian National Museum, N1, June 2014, 54-57.


Figure M.
This perforated, domed hood was fabricated by Doug Colin Guyton based on my research of Theophilus’ description from his Treatise, ‘On Diverse Arts’. 


The base of the domed Georgian extant set is concave, similar to a frying pan, instead of flat like a pizza paddle, as the version that Theophilus was familiar with.

Figures O and P. 
The conical hood is similar to the “Iron hood, Vani, second half of the 2nd century B.C.” from page 57 of the article in Nature. Its base does not have a handle like the domed hood.

Figure P.
The perforated, domed hood looks like Theophilus’ description in his Treatise, ‘On Diverse Arts’, though this Georgian base is concave, similar to a frying pan, instead of flat as above in our Theophilus reproduction.


Figures A thru J, N, O, and several quotes are from: 
Ermile Maghradze (2014) 'The Discovery of the “Colchian hood”, a tool that shaped the art of Medieval Cloisonné Enamel Technology', Museum. Georgian National Museum, N1, June, 54-57.


Figure M.
Photograph by Gaeira Aggadottir.


Figures K, L, and P.  
These images are from the Georgian National Museum’s website.

Etching...Uncovering the Hidden Image. Part 4

Figure 1. Chemical ‘Wet’ Etching,
Undercutting, and Resist Lifting
This is Part 4 of my series of blog posts on how to chemically Etch Copper Alloys using Toner Transfer Paper (TTP) or Press-n-Peel Blue (PnP, or PnP Blue) sheets as the main Resist. Please see Part 1 of this blog post series for general information and additional tips, several points are not repeated here.

This blog post adds details related to Part 3's figure, "The Process of Chemically Etching Copper Alloys", please see it for further details that are not repeated here.

[IMAGE]
Chemical ‘Wet’ Etching, Undercutting, and Resist Lifting

1. The Depth of the Etch is determined by: length of time, types of Metal and Etchants, as well as the strength / age / temperature of the Etchant. 

2. Narrower lines are shallower and thinner than (3.) Wider lines

4. Undercutting: The Metal is left in the Etchant for too long or it is too strong or new and it begins to erode away just under the resist’s edges causing an inconsistent and rough outer edge.

5. Resist Lifting: The Resist did not bond well enough to the surface, it either flakes or lifts off, the Etchant flows under and etches the new areas.


TO GO TO PART 1
TO GO TO PART 2
TO GO TO PART 3

Resource: My Video Tutorials and Demos on Vimeo

Gaeira's Anvil...Videos
You can now find my Video Tutorials and Demos on my Vimeo page, Gaeira's Anvil...Videos

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Please leave constructive criticism so I can improve my future video sessions. The 4 current ones, which were previously posted on FB, will most likely be replaced at some point with updated versions as I improve my video making skills.

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Late Anglo-Saxon Disk-Brooches. Part 5 (Display 1)

Figure 1. Close up.
This is Part 5 of my series of blog posts related to my Late Anglo-Saxon Disk-Brooch research and fabrication Project. Part 1 is a general history of the disk-brooches that my research and fabrication project centers around.
On Sunday, August 4, 2019 I participated for the first time in the 22nd Annual Known World Arts & Sciences Display at Pennsic 48 with phase 1 of my La
te Anglo-Saxon Enamel Brooch Project. From 1pm to 5pm I was one among a few dozen artisans displaying their projects from across the SCA Known World. 


The 9 glass bottles on the right half of the display are of my White Paste experiments which I'll be writing a blog post about in the near future. 

The colorfully filled glass bottles on the left half of the table are the enamels that I made from hand grinding several soft glass 
Lampworking rods of CoE 104 glass. [See Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this blog series for more details.] The back row are the first 5 colors of glass rods that I ground. They were unfortunately contaminated from the marble mortar and pestle I used when I started this project. The front row of 6 enamels were entirely hand ground using a Stainless Steel mortar and pestle and fired beautifully as enamels. I switched to Stainless Stell once I read a passage from Cellini's Treatise in which he mentions using Steel, this made a great difference.

Figure 2. Full display.

It was far too windy to put out either the small Sterling Silver bezels I enameled, the glass beads I set with White Paste in bezel settings, and sample pieces of the 
glass rods. I will need to attach them to a sturdy backing before St. Eligius Arts & Sciences Competition in mid November, hosted by the Barony of Dragonship Haven, so they can be seen without risking their loss to wind or by getting tipped over.

These are 3 of the 4 currently printed out binders of my research sources. I've found other papers that I need to print out.

The two cutting chisels and Muffle set were made by Doug Colin Guyton. The overall muffle design is based on my research of both Theophilus and Cellini's Treatises. The muffle top is also very similar to one of the extant finds of Georgian enameling muffle covers in the Georgian National Museum.



Etching...Uncovering the Hidden Image. Part 3

Figure 1. The Process of Chemically Etching Copper Alloys
This is Part 3 of my series of blog posts on how to chemically Etch Copper Alloys using Toner Transfer Paper (TTP) or Press-n-Peel Blue (PnP, or PnP Blue) sheets as the main Resist. Please see Part 1 of this blog post series for general information and additional tips, several points are not repeated here.

This blog post expands on the description in Part 1's figure, "5. Piece in Etching Solution; areas unprotected by Resist will be etched away, the metal being removed is Orange", please see it for further details that are not repeated here.

[IMAGE]
The Process of Chemically Etching Copper Alloys

1. Etchant / Etching Solution
2. Floater of Styroform
3. Tape, etc. attaches metal to Floater
4. Metal with Resist
5. Particles etched away
6. Heat Source
7. Vibration / Agitation


Dark Yellow = Etchant Solution.  Ferric Chloride => Copper Alloys;   Ferric Nitrate => Silver Alloys.

Dark Grey = Resist, is Toner, a Plastic not an Ink, from a HP Laser B&W Printer.

Purple = Added Resist (Nail Polish, Tape, etc.), to protect surfaces from Etchant.

Light Grey = Mounting or other Tape, Glue, etc., to attach Metal to the Floater.

Medium Grey = Floater to keep the Resist covered Metal suspended in Etchant.

Yellow = Metal being Etched, must first be cleaned properly.

Orange = Metal that is removed by the Etchant.


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TO GO TO PART 2

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