The Process

Visitors to Hand & Hammer's workshop often remark on the number of steps required to make a piece. Here are some of the steps and processes we go through to make a silver ornament like our new silver reindeer. The original design starts as a sketch on paper. The process of transforming the two-dimensional design into three-dimensional silver starts with carving the design in wax.

P.D.'s talent for interpreting the original drawings brings them to life in silver. The detail and expression she can create in her carvings are amazing. The wax model is transformed into silver by the lost wax casting technique.

The wax is invested in a plaster mold which is fired in a 1300 degree furnace, vaporizing the wax. Molten silver is poured into the mold's cavity. The silver, when cool, perfectly reproduces the hand carved wax. Molds are then made from this silver model to make multiple editions of the ornament.

Our silver castings faithfully reproduce the original model but require a lot of hand work to become pretty. The mirror finish we associate with sterling silver is the result of much labor.The real superstars at Hand & Hammer are the men and women who grind, file and polish each piece to produce the sheen of which only silver is capable.

First - A drawing by Chip
Then - the model sculpted by P.D. Crowe
Next - Casting by Mark Moretti
Finally - Finishing in our shop