Making an Air Chased Copper Cuff

Ever wonder what goes into a bit of metalwork?

I started with 6″ of copper pipe:


Then with the help of 4 hammers, 2 mallets, 2 punches, a whole bunch of annealing (heating to soften), I gradually pushed the metal into peaks and divots. This forging technique is known as air chasing, since I’m shaping the metal over air instead of pitch.




With the basic form done, I used a Dremel to trim and smooth the ends, then dipped in pickle (warm acid) to clean, and tumbled to polish. The very last touch was a torched peanut oil patina, which creates a lovely dark brown varnished look.

MakingAirChasedCuff_7_1200x900Air Chased Copper Cuff

This first cuff is in my personal collection, but I have others available to good homes, both in this heavy style and lighter weights.

Edit: A few close-ups

These are of pictures 3-5 (sorry about the resolution), to better show how the hammer is striking. In the first two, I keep the piece flat on the block, but I’m trying to hit ~45 degree angle, pushing the metal in & up toward the peaks, rather than flattening down. In the last you can see I’m starting to go down as I add surface details, but I’m still also doing angle blows up next to the peaks to further define them.




5 Replies to “Making an Air Chased Copper Cuff”

    • No, I can barely hold it secure flat on the bench block. :-)

      Plus if you did, it might crumple the piece across the width, which we don’t want either. Added some more to the post, hope they help!

  1. Artist shows all details of doing her version of these in video, she made a cheap and simple custom “table” to hold the copper for later stages of ‘sideways’ forging as well.

  2. The peanut oil finish is something I’ll like try (thank you for sharing)

    I have -also- chased in the air aluminum pipe bracelets, with a dar patination, not bad but not as beautiful as copper.

    Jorge/ Ars Metalica
    Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico