Brent Berry Arts

Repousse Tools
    I am by no means an expert at repoussé, chasing, or hand embossing in general, I'm self taught and have learned everything through trial and error.  However many people ask how I do it so I will share some photos and info of what I do.  My work is amateur compared to many, please see my links on my main repoussé page for more info and resources about repoussé and chasing.

 I use these tools for embossing metal.  Some are common tools that I've modified. Repousse tools can be made from chisels, punches and screwdrivers can be ground into many shapes for different uses and hard wooden tools are helpful for some very thin metal.

  Ancient embossers used a pitch to support the metal as they worked on it.  Pitch is made from different mixtures, when it's hot, it's soft like putty.  You attach one side of the metal to the hot pitch or pour the hot pitch onto the metal.  as it cools, it becomes hard but soft enough to allow the metal to be formed into it with steel tools.  The design is embossed into the metal by hammering shapes into the back side.   When the embossing is done, the pitch is removed by heating it again. The front side is cleaned and then additional tool work and engraving can be done to the design.  

My early repousse was done on very thin metal and I found a way to use a rubber mat for backing instead of pitch.  It's nothing like using pitch but works good for low relief work with detail, very fragile though.

 I'm embossing and chasing with pitch now too but I still have much to learn.  The repoussé work I do using pitch, will be much cruder looking in my early work I did with the thinner metals but it's just as rewarding.   I'll hopefully improve with time and practice.

Repousse tools
I use these tools for repoussé embossing and chasing very thin metal on a rubber mat.

Tools for repoussé embossing with pitch.

I use a convex hammer and a thick rubber block for pre-shaping some projects prior to putting them into pitch for embossing.

I use a crockpot for heating pitch.

I pour pitch onto the backside of some pieces to avoid air pockets in embossed areas,
 then quickly flip it over into the pitch bowl while it's still hot.

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