[Ansteorra] Fw: Re: Pirece work

David J. Hughes davidjhughes.tx at netzero.com
Mon Jul 23 20:46:08 PDT 2012

---------- Original Message ----------
From: "willowdewisp at juno.com" <willowdewisp at juno.com>
To: ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: [Ansteorra] Pirece work
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2012 21:22:57 GMT

Everyone here a wonderful articule on Pirece Work as done in the early medieval period. 
I am going to try it with copper because I afford gold. It seems to be the perfect hot weather project. Does anyone have any idea as to the tools.
"The method by which these designs were executed, the tools used, their shape, and the exact sequence of
the steps-has been reconstructed from microscopic examination of the tool marks and replication in silver
blanks of the technique by the author. In several instances, the individual steps described here parallel
those postulated in earlier studies. For example, the separate elements of sheet gold were fixed to a yielding
layer of waxlike material rolled out over a more solid support.  The design was then scribed lightly into
the gold using both a rule and a compass. Indeed, the marks of the compass are still apparent in the center
of the whorls along each side of the top plate. Traces of the scribed lines are visible in scattered locations on all
the panels (Figure 5). Following this procedure, an awl, a round-sectioned tool tapering to a point, was
used both to mark each of the spots where the design would pierce the sheet and to initiate the perforation
of the gold.  The very fine taper of these holes suggests the awl was struck with a mallet, since hand pressure
alone would rock the tool slightly, broadening the circumference of the hole. A tapered, triangular sectioned
tool-a graver, such as that described by Ogden and Schmidt in their replication experiments articulated
the incised lines radiating out from the perimeter of the punched holes.  The graver was held at an acute angle to the surface and
pushed across the lip of the punched hole. The natural resistance of the gold to the cutting action of the
graver was reduced substantially by the apogee of the cut occurring within the void of the punched hole.  
The curls of metal, pushed up in front of the tool, were released as the point of the graver passed over the edge
of the punched hole. The substantial negative space in the openwork design in the triangular plate (enclosing
the end of the foot away from the bow) and around the pendant Greek letters on the cross on the top plate
required successive cuts to enlarge the initial opening.  However, the more systematic, less
complex designs on the side panels and the top may have been executed with a single pass of the graver."
Looks pretty straight forward, standard engraving tools such as can be found here:
Working in copper, you could make most of the gravers from broken sewing machine needles mounted into
hardwood handles with the tips reshaped with a Dremel tool.  The metal of the needle is more than hard enough to
grave copper without heat treating the tool.
David Gallowglass

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list