hmmm...possibly these three pictures should have been reversed. Oh well, its all good.
After about four hours of repousse work, the surface of the lead button stake is pretty scarred up. I am not really worried about that though....it will be pretty easy to just melt it all over again into another bowl.
And above are the tools of this job. The bronze faced hammer which sticks to the punches without glancing off, the sharpies to do the lay out, and the blunt chisel to incise the lines. The orange punch is a drift which I sort of modified a little, to have a sharp edge. And the single stake on the right is for getting into the corners.
These tools, when properly employed, can be used to incise lines, and "quilt" the spaces in between. I have done a little of this in steel before, and a lot more in leather. I find that except for having to hit the tool a little harder, the same techniques which you use to tool leather work just fine to tool steel.
Okay, you have to hit it a LOT harder....to sink the workpiece into that lead!
Next week, I will try this same technique but I will use jeweler's pitch instead of the lead. I understand if you use pitch (which is essentially a form of tar) you can work the steel without it sliding all over the place. That alone should be worth the mess.
Oh, and I have been asked about using lead. I am a little funny about lead...I know it is dangerous, and the fumes are toxic and cumulative, but I DID use ventilation. Its not so much the lead which is dangerous but rather the lead oxide formed as the stuff rusts. I have a fair amount of lead around which I use from time to time and I always spray it with lacquer after it is formed into a bar, stake, or hammer head. Simple precaution...no oxide. The stake in the above picture has been sprayed with lacquer for instance...which doesn't seem to have affected its ability to back up a chisel any.