| I use these tools for most of my embossing of thin metal. Some are common tools that I've modified. Chisels, punches and screwdrivers can be ground into many shapes for different uses and wooden tools are helpful too. I sometimes use steel ball bearings or other metal objects to form shapes into the metal. Ancient embossers used a substance called pitch to support the metal as they worked on it. Most of my earlier repousse was done on thin metal and I used rubber for backing instead of pitch. It is very different from working with pitch and the process is different too. I work from both sides of the metal over and over until the desired results were achieved. Unfortunately arthritis in my wrist has gotten worse over the years and I am unable to do much work with the thin metal anymore because it took extreme hand pressure to press the designs into the metal with tools. My wrist just couldn't handle it anymore. Now I can only work with the heavier metal using hammers for pressure instead of my hands.
Different stages of forming the shapes into the design
These photos show some different stages of repousse work. I sketch the design on the metal and then carefully start bending and shaping the metal from the front side and then from the back side using wooden and Steel tools that I made as needed. Early repousse work was done by embossing the metal from the backside into a special pitch, then worked or chased from the front. I had no instructions when I started doing this, I started experimenting and found that I could use a thick piece of rubber as the working surface. I work the metal from both sides until I'm happy with the design and then use volcanic pumice and acid to treat the surface. Some of them are polished of given patina.