Workshop and processes

Chris has a holistic approach to work and workshops. The shops form a part of his life. Implements are situated in his dining room and share space in his potting shed. The purpose of this page is to show how he makes flutes . This page is an ongoing process and will be added to as more material becomes available.

Key Making

Chris makes all of his keys by hand in his own workshop. He uses the silver scrap from making rings topped up with other silver in various forms usually casting grains. These are the processes that he goes through when making a key....

Firstly, a pattern of the key is made, around a third shorter than when finished but much thicker to allow for forging. This pattern can be made from anything easily carvable. Chris now uses block modelling resin. This pattern is the pressed into casting sand using a two part casting frame.

This picture shows the imprint of the key pattern pressed into half of the mould.  Chris has made a number of two part casting frames out of oak. These have lasted for years!

This picture shows the two halfs of the casting box assembled with the pouring sprue and vent holes in place.

An approximate amount of silver is put into the crucible and heated up until it reaches the correct temperature. The molten Silver is then quickly poured into the mould which is usually on top of the furnace for a few minutes to pre heat it

Rough casting as it came out of the mould.

The sprue, and the worst of the casting irregularities are quickly filed off. The work of forging the key, that is carefully hammering the silver to extend its length all over by around a third and also to change its grain structure begins. This is done on an anvil, being careful to anneal the silver whenever it becomes too hard, Eventually the key starts to take shape.

This 4o ton press is used to extrude and form a more complete cup for the key..

A half finished key. The cup has been pressed and the key is about the right length. The key is then finished filed, then a rivet is  Silver soldered to the underside.

This is the finished key prior to its final polish

This process may seem long winded to some, but Chris after having previously used the quicker lost wax process up to about twenty years ago, now far prefers this method. It gives he believes, a far stronger, better looking and longer lasting key.