Sunday, March 9, 2014

- Rain chain (revised)

Note: This post was moved to a new URL on August 26, 2015

I fell in love with a copper rain chain that I saw at an ceramic artist's house, but the price was too dear.  So I started looking at all the silverplate flatware we've inherited over the years and decided to repurpose it (after checking to be sure I wasn't ruining something valuable).  The end result has been more decorative than functional, but then again, it doesn't rain all that much in our neck of the Texas Hill Country.

Addendum (March 9, 2014)
With apologies for not responding sooner, here's how the rain chain was made. After doing some Googling for ideas on how to bend silver, I used pliers while holding the silverware in chamois cloth in order to twist the fork tines into interesting shapes ... it would have been much easier with sterling silver, but there's no way I would use sterling for this project.

Then I bent the handles of the forks and spoons, once again using heavy pliers for leverage and the chamois to protect the silver (I wore gloves, too) ... this definitely took some experimenting to figure out the ideal flex points and I broke several pieces. Once I had a pile of bent forks and spoons, I played around with how best to arrange them before putting the whole thing together.

The top of the rain chain is a copper funnel I found at our local antique store (By the Bridge in Wimberley, Texas). I punched a couple of holes in the funnel with a hammer and nail, then ran a crab pick through the holes (with fond memories blue crab picking on the Eastern Seaboard). The first piece of silverware hooked over the crab pick. After that it was a simple matter of hanging one piece of silverware after the other. Gravity is the only thing holding the chain together and except for the bottom piece or two it has yet to come apart, even on the windiest days.

I'm not a metal-smith and had never done a project like this before (or since), so there may be other/better/safer ways of doing it. If you like what you see, I encourage you to experiment, carefully. Please note that the chain has since weathered to the color of dark copper pennies ... there's no practical way to keep it silvery that I can think of. However, since I'm very much into natural patinas, it suits me.