| || || || Completed teapot|| |
| || || || My initial plan was to "raise" the body of the teapot by beating copper sheet with mallets. |
Then it was pointed out to me that the College had a hydraulic press, pictured, which held out the promise of being able to create a lovely smooth surface in a twinkling of an eye - or at least, that's what I conjectured.
It struck me that I could use the same setup to create other teapots - the lead one I had in mind and possibly another tea one.
With the tea one, I knew the Chinese used to compress tea-leaves into "bricks" to store it so I thought a 60 ton hydraulic press might enable me to make a teapot from tea-leaves that was almost ceramic in nature.
| || ||The flip-side of using a lot of force is that the moulds have to be ultra-strong. |
I devised quite a complicated way of making the moulds starting with welding some steel boxes (pictured) and then filling them with reinforced concrete lined with about 20-mm of "Epoxacast", an expoxy resin containing aluminium powder, designed for this kind of use. (It was expensive - hence my use of concrete).
| || || ||Making the moulds was laborious (it took about a month) and expensive (about £200) but this was the end result - a 2 part mould for each half of the teapot. || |
| || || ||I experimented with 1.5-mm-thick copper sheet with the result pictured, after several cycles of annealing, beating wrinkles flat and further pressing. |
As a consequence, I decided to use thinner copper, 0.75-mm, and make the handle separately.
| || || ||Another consequence was the (6-mm-thick) top plate of the mould buckled ...|| |
| || || ||... so I made much stronger replacements. || |
| || || ||I used a strip of metal and the bottom mould to make the 2 halves of the handle, using a manual hydraulic press. || |
| || || ||Pressing needs quite a few cycles of annealing and trimming of excess material. It also pays to increase the force slowly so the metal can "flow" internally; quite a few of my attempts tore the copper sheet.|| |
| || || ||I bent a strip of metal to go inside the handle so that I could use wire rivets to hold the 2 halves together. |
I wanted the teapot to look like an old-fashioned boiler with butted joints and double rows of closely spaced wire rivets.
| || || ||I cut strips of copper so that I could create the same effect where I
joined the 2 halves of the body of the teapot, this time using copper
pop rivets. || |
| || || ||Going clockwise from the top left:|
- This is a ring for around
the top opening of the teapot, for the lid to fit into. It's a ring
beaten into the mould and soldered to strip.
- The lid, formed
using another epoxy mould in the manual hydraulic press. This also has a
strip soldered to its underside so that it fits in the above ring.
created the 2 little cups above the lid with a doming tool and then
soldered them together to make a ball that I pop-riveted to the lid.
- 2 collars to fix the handle to the teapot body.