Hammered Copper Spoon With Simple Tools and Materials

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Introduction: Hammered Copper Spoon With Simple Tools and Materials

About: I love getting my hands dirty on a project. Anything from working on my forge to picking and drying wild herbs for tea and cooking to making boxes and furniture out of wood to pulling apart motorcycle pieces f…

Metal is truly fascinating. It comes in so many forms and is used in so many capacities that the possibilities are literally endless. I’ve been working and playing with various types of metal for about eighteen years now. It really started when I was twelve or so and a friend of mine discovered that we could take copper pipes, hammer them down to make crude blades, and then swing them at each other in the backyard. As a boy, this discovery was, perhaps, the pinnacle of excitement and it led to many an afternoon spent ruining my dad’s tools as I dreamed of slaying goblins and looked for bigger and better ways to implement this new technology.

This project is, admittedly, very different from the crude orc swords I made when I was young, but those early experiments ignited in me a fascination with all kinds of metal and that fascination carries on to this day. Copper remains one of my favorite materials even now. Its golden-orange color, unique malleability, and wide range of uses and applications make it a great medium for all kinds of projects.

This specific instructable details how to make a simple copper spoon using a piece of pipe and hand tools. Making spoons is a great introduction to dishing techniques and this is a really fun, fairly quick project.

Supplies

Tools:
- A hacksaw
- Metal snips
- Pliers (two pairs are helpful but not completely necessary)
- Ball peen hammer
- Dishing tool (this is the only specialty tool in the project. If you don’t have one, you can make one by heating a piece of steel stock and using the ball end of your hammer to make a deep divot in the surface. Any sturdy surface with an indentation will technically work)
- Marker
- File
- Steel wool

Optional Tools:
- Anvil (you don’t technically need this but you do need a solid surface for hammering on)
- Vice (again, not necessary, but it makes things easier for the initial cutting)

Materials:
- A length of copper pipe. The longer your piece of pipe, the longer your spoon handle will be.

That’s it! Let’s get started.

Step 1: Make a Copper Plate

The first thing we need to do is get our copper pipe to become a copper plate. To do this, use your hacksaw to cut a piece of pipe to the length that you would like your spoon to be. Once you have it cut, use your metal snips to cut along the pipe lengthwise. After you have managed to split the pipe, use your pliers to pull the edges of the cut apart. Hammer the piece flat with your hammer and, voila: a flat copper plate.

Step 2: Begin Dishing

Now the fun begins. Set up your dishing tool and lay your copper sheet over it. Beginning from an inch or two back from the end, start hammering a rough, round shape. Use the ball side of your ball peen hammer to force the material down into the dishing tool It’s helpful to rotate the piece and sort of roll it as you go to make sure the spoon comes out even on all sides. Once you have a rough spoon shape, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 3: Cut Off the Excess

Use your marker to mark out a rough spoon shape on your dished plate. Take your metal snips and use them to remove the excess material from around where you marked. You’re looking to get a nice, clean spoon shape so cut your handle to the width you want and then cut out the dished part of the spoon. A little roughness here is fine, you just want to make sure to get close, or you’ll have a ton of shape refining to do in the next step.

Step 4: Refine the Shape

Use your hammer and dishing tool to work out any kinks you see. Roll the spoon around the dishing tool as you hammer and work the spoon toward the shape you want.

Use your file to grind away the rough and irregular edges on your spoon. Run it down the handle to clean up rough edges and across the top of the dished portion of your spoon to bring everything into a nice, clean, uniform shape.

Once you’re happy with the overall shape of your spoon, you may want to do a little hammering on the handle. I like to work down both sides of the handle with the ball side of my hammer to give the whole piece a nice hammered finish.

When you’re happy with the look of the handle, bend it by hand to establish the curve.

Step 5: Cleanup and Polish

Use your steel wool to shine and smooth the spoon. Make sure to it smooth out all the rough edges to avoid slicing your hands or lips when you go to use the spoon. Polish until you’re happy with the shine and then you’re all done!

Step 6: Final Comments

This project is really simple and a ton of fun! Making something by hand is always it’s own special kind of reward and there’s something incredible about joining in an ancient craft like metalworking. These little spoons have all kinds of uses. From reenactment utensils to sugar and tea spoons, they function well and look great! Thanks for following along. I hope you enjoyed this project and I hope you enjoy your spoon!

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    24 Comments

    0
    LeslieGeee
    LeslieGeee

    1 year ago

    Very very lovely and well done. I am thinking the dishing tool could also be made and carved from a piece of hardwood? Thank you for sharing your process :)

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 12 months ago

    Hello! Yes! I’ve seen people who make dishing tools out of wood before. Sometimes people even make blocks with different sizes all on the same tool.

    0
    LeslieGeee
    LeslieGeee

    Reply 12 months ago

    👍 Thank you

    0
    maxman
    maxman

    1 year ago

    It's genius how you split the tube to make the stock. This would be good to stir coffee with in the early morning because copper is softer than stainless and it wouldn't "ting" so loudly in your mug and wake other people in la casa.

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks! That was born a bit out of necessity. I make just about everything out of junk so I needed a way to get a sheet without breaking the bank. Voila: copper tube-sheet.

    0
    spark master
    spark master

    1 year ago

    Very lovely, I made Bezels for jewelery (sadly I never kept one for me), I used Copper Washers I used a ball peen hammer to make the shape and then set glass/fake Gems in them, (hey I was 14 and never once had shop class ever, so sad)

    I love this you could make my bezels and silver solder on a gem at the end of the handle!

    I carve spoons on occasion, and use measured salt to attain a specific volume, then you could make a set for dry measure , if the thing has flavor, using for dry should be fine. All my water pipes are copper, (no PVC in the house), I don't ever taste copper.


    Fantastic job, could be good projects for the second wave of covid.

    A++ project, I wish I knew this when I was a lad.

    Please sir may we have another? (project)

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 12 months ago

    Thanks for the kind words! You sound like me when I was younger. I loved making anything I could think to make, even if the result wasn’t always awesome. I’ll definitely be back with another project eventually, I just need to figure out what exactly.

    0
    spark master
    spark master

    Question 1 year ago

    To anneal copper does one heat to cherry red then allow slow cool, or does one quench, then, how to harden?

    Copper pipe is not pure copper, so I think this is why it can be hardened. Copper is way soft, to get it harder they add zinc and/or other metals to the mix.

    thanks

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Answer 12 months ago

    To anneal, take it up to a cherry red color and then let it cool on its own. Copper work hardens which means the more you move the material, the harder it will get. These spoons get fairly stiff by the end, but I have yet to crack one while working on it.

    0
    PrzemyslawC1
    PrzemyslawC1

    1 year ago

    I used to make dishes for candles on candle holders. As dishing tools I would use short pieces of steel tubes of different diameters. Believe me, these worked even with steel 2 mm thick

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 12 months ago

    That’s a great tip! I’ve been looking for a way to make some bigger discoing tools for bowls and such. I’ll have to give this a try.

    0
    ve3bqw
    ve3bqw

    1 year ago

    Jusr remember that copper is the one metal that work hardens and not work softens. If worked too much it will have to be anealed to make it soft again for further shaping.

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 12 months ago

    This is true, although it doesn’t really work harden enough to be a problem through this process. I’ve made dozens of these with no issues so far. Thanks for reading!

    0
    laurendvincent1024

    Doesn't copper leave a nasty taste in your mouth if you use it for eating?

    0
    nuclearnco
    nuclearnco

    Reply 1 year ago

    I’ve pounded out copper flatware —sporks before: same thing as here, take your flat sheet, trace your pattern, cut pattern, pound bowl shape, cut 4 short tines, polish and file smooth.. copper has a unique flavor perse but if it’s clean, you don’t notice it, especially if you have Cu water supply pipes. This Ible reminded me of days past and is greatly appreciated. I’ve been meaning to make a copper gas tank for my motorcycle build and now I’m raven more motivated after reading this. Thanks.

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Reply 1 year ago

    Maybe a little bit, but I don’t really notice it. It might vary depending on how sensitive you are to the taste.

    0
    NEW PEW
    NEW PEW

    1 year ago

    Congrats with being a finalist in the Hand tools only challenge!

    0
    NEW PEW
    NEW PEW

    1 year ago

    Nice work! Great handtools only entry

    0
    Lucas Nam
    Lucas Nam

    Question 1 year ago

    will anealling the copper make it easier to do this?

    0
    joleothetall
    joleothetall

    Answer 1 year ago

    Yes it will, but copper pipe is so soft to begin with that it isn’t really necessary. If you get to the point where the material is hard and isn’t moving very easily, though, you can heat it up to a cherry red heat and let it cool and then it’ll be soft again.