Plant-Inspired Serving Flatware
Learn how to make your own serving fork with this project.
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Project by Kristen Alexandra from Boston, Mass.
Kristen thinks that serving pieces should be given as much thought and attention as the ingredients that go into making a recipe. In this project, she makes a beautiful serving fork.
Materials and Tools:
polished steel hammer
soldering iron and solder
metal hand tools
1. Design each utensil keeping in mind how it should sit in the hand and what food it will serve. Work up sketches until you feel you have gotten the initial shape resolved. Then make a paper template to use as a guide.
2. Evaluate the proper thickness and size of metal to start with. It is important to remember you can always make things thinner, but you can not make them thicker than the original starting size. Use rectangular billets and rods of metal. Hand-forge the metal through a process of repeatedly striking the metal with a polished steel hammer on an anvil. Forging gradually stretches, elongates, and hardens the metal until it is too hard to work. The metal must be annealed (heated) in order to continue forging. After several rounds of forging and annealing, the metal will be formed to the desired shape.
3. Work up the stalk of the flower (the handle of the fork) as one piece, the flower head (the fork tines) as another piece, and the leaves as two separate pieces.
4. Use a small hand saw and files to shape the details that hammers can not.
5. Grind and engrave with a flexible shaft (this tool is similar to a dentist drill) the veins on the leaves and the ridges in the flower petals.
6. Once all of the components are formed, shaped, and engraved, fit them to be soldered together. Solder each piece, one at a time, using different grades of solder. Start with the largest connection (the stalk to the flower head) and work your way down to the leaves. Use a lower temperature melt solder each time to avoid flowing your previous solder points. All of the pieces need to have very tight fittings. Note: Solder does not fill gaps, it just flows thinly between two pieces.
7. After the fork is done soldering, it must be soaked in a cleaner. Once it is clean, use hand tools and the flexible shaft to remove any visible solder.
8. The fork is ready for surface finishing. Put a satin finish on the fork and then polish the edges to make them catch the light.
Web site: www.kristenalexandra.com