In 2009, Ian Stewart-Hargreaves a Silversmith based on the Isle Of Lewis contacted Metalcraft with an unusual request regarding the use and adaptation of Metalcraft tools to work with sterling silver. As we enjoy interesting challenges, we met with Ian at our factory in Hull to explore ways we could adapt our tools to help him create silver torcs.
After a few months of development and experimentation, with Ian’s guidance, we helped develop special tooling for our Master Twister tool to produce these torcs. In addition, our XL5+ Power Bender has been employed by Ian to help hand craft the torcs produced into various pieces of silver jewellery. Below are Ian’s comments at the time. Sadly, Ian passed away in August 2011 but his life story is an interesting one as you will see if you visit http://ica-atom.tasglann.org.uk/index.php/hargreaves-ian-stewart-1938-2011-silversmith-and-historian-2;isad
We learnt a lot about silversmithing in our conversations with Ian and we enjoyed the challenges he set us in adapting our tools to make jewellery. This story illustrates how we can work with clients to look at the use of Metalcraft tools in many varied applications. These are Ian’s words:
Uses and Adaptations of Metalcraft tooling.
I can imagine the sense of bafflement, on learning that a silversmith from the Isle of Lewis wanted to visit Hull to look at some of their machinery. My opinion is that metal tooling is metal tooling is metal tooling.
I have long wanted to make torcs, those thousand year old necklaces made by twisting rods of silver together. This meant adapting a pair of chucks to hold four rods and using a Master Twister to create the rope, then an XL5+ Bender to shape the form. The finials? That is another problem.
I accept that few might want to make torcs from steel rods...
The next step was to order chucks with different spacings to make rope candlesticks from 2, 4, 6 and 8 mm rods of silver. With different spacings at each end a holder and a foot is created. Such candlesticks will be expensive but I encourage people to buy tomorrow's heirlooms today. These candlesticks could be made from steel rods.
In my experience, Metalcraft has been most helpful and understanding in developing adaptations of their existing range. They obviously share my opinion that metal tooling is metal tooling is metal tooling and that is their business.