Fold forming was invented by Charles Lewton-Brain about 25 years ago. Metalsmithing is field where many of the techniques are bascially unchanged for hundreds of years. A few years ago Rio Grande did a catalog cover where they snuck pictures of really old tools into the cover shot, and guess what? Nobody noticed!

To me, the most exciting new developments in metalsmithing in the last, oh, 30 years, are fold forming and the hydraulic press.

It’s kind of funny that prolific author Charles Lewton-Brain has written so many books, yet this one, on the technique he invented, has taken until now to come into being. (Yes, there is a smaller book, first published in 1985, but it is shorter and has black and white drawings.)

One of those instant classics that every metalsmith must own. Tim McCreight writes in the foreword:

“You hold in your hands a book that I predict you will return to often, always seeing a new detail in the photos or reading a tip that you’d missed before. And if you’re like me, your copy will acquire the bent pages and coffee ring stains of a well-used resource.”

Edited by Tim McCreight and Abby Johnston.

Check out Charles’s site here.

An interview with him on Robyn Hawk’s blog here.

And check out Ganoksin.com, which he co-founded, to read tons of free excerpts from his books, as well as additional articles.

Now it’s common to have tons of free and low priced information online. Charles was way ahead of the rest of us, creating inexpensive books in the early days of “desktop publishing” on a macintosh computer.

In a field that has historically been hesitant to share techniques, Charles has shared, innovated and given away generously for years. I am inspired both by his writing and his generosity.

I own many of his books and CDs and plan to own more in the future. If you don’t already have them, check out The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report, the Polishing Report, Cheap Thrills in the Tool Shop and the Bench Tricks CD, just a few of my favorites.

Here’s the picture and description of the Polishing Report, a new one I hadn’t heard about, but information that is sorely needed and not really out there anywhere else!

Polishing Report Book Image

“This Paper proposes a system for polishing jewelry successfully. It was a cooperative project with Allcraft Tools in New York City. It is about a core Polishing Set of tools, the basic buffs and more for a working jeweler. The stages of polishing are broken into four major steps: large cutting, small cutting, large bright coloring and small bright coloring. Full of tips and tricks the Polishing Report tells you how to polish, remove fire scale, create sharp inside right angles and avoid overpolishing. Sections include holding items, cleaning polishing compound, alternative polishing wheels and more. 31 pages, A number of colour pictures.”

Click here to buy the book at Lulu.com.

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