A Metalsmith’s Drafting Tools

notebooksYes, I know that I’ve said in the past that I don’t sketch out every idea that I have. But I do have some that need to be sketched, at least in part. Especially when I’m working on larger formed pieces I need something to figure out what size disk to start with and an angle comparison to use while raising it.

So what sort of tools would a metalsmith need to sketch with (besides notebooks) ?

Don't forget something to write/draw with.
Don’t forget something to write/draw with.

It’s similar to other types of drafting. I’m sure that you could use CAD or some other type of 3D drafting software to do this. But I like to use pencil and paper because that’s what I’m comfortable with.

Usually I’ll just freeform it, but there are times where I need to be more specific. So I use rulers, a compass, maybe a french curve to get the exact size and shape that I want. Many times I refer to my circle divider from Tim McCreight’s Complete Metalsmith (or I make one myself) in order to keep things evenly spaced in a bowl. Then, of course, there are all my paper templates too.

Compass set (from my 2D design class in college), protractor, dividers, and paper circle dividers
Compass set (from my 2D design class in college), protractor, dividers, and paper circle dividers
Ruler, T-square (also from college), calipers, and measuring tape
Ruler, T-square (also from college), calipers, and measuring tape
French Curves (Obviously I'm a fan of Staedtler)
French Curves (Obviously I’m a fan of Staedtler)

4 thoughts on “A Metalsmith’s Drafting Tools

  1. Interesting to see how you go about drafting. I have the Complete Metalsmith too, it’s the least fancy looking of my handbooks, but I have to say the most informative, a great source. Didn’t know they are called French Curves in English (interesting name…), looks like a great set!

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      1. To be honest, I didn’t know what they are called in Swedish either, so I did some googling: it’s something like “curve template” (very dry name indeed!). Apparently, this particular set of three that you show here is known as “Burmester curves”. And in French it’s simply called “pistolet” (also means “pistol”) or “perroquet” (also means “parrot”). Loved this google session, and can’t wait until I have my own Burmester in house! 😉

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