#Metalworks: Press-metal forming: Part 1

Levers: Check!

Analogue Dial: Check!

Heavy with a hint of danger: Check!

No idea what it’s for: Check!

… sounds perfect! Let’s DO IT!



The pressing monster machine

Pressed metal formation is exactly what it says on the tin (as it were!). Metal is laid in a former and then pressed into it to form the shape. Traditionally it’s used in the automotive and jewellery industries but as a luthier I was interested in using it to form tailpieces, and other guitar fitments.


National guitar

with pressed metal tailpiece

For such a simple process the nuances are impressive. There are so many variables in terms of mould size, shape, placement, material thickness etc that the only way to be sure of an outcome is through experimentation.

Formers and pieces.jpg

Press-form moulds

& work in progress


Pressed metal

Test Piece


Copper press 1

Playing with shape and pattern

Early tests are looking promising and think this process will lend itself well to all sorts of interesting instrument parts and designs.

Tom Sands interviews Dorian Bracht: Craftsmanship, You Tube and Japanese Joinery

Tom Sands is one of the most exciting luthiers on the contemporary guitar making scene. Not only a highly talented and innovative maker himself Tom’s also a big advocate of other makers and the world of craft in general, more of which another time! So when I was recently given the opportunity to combine my twin professional passions of writing and craft I jumped at the chance to collaborate on some articles.

The first instalment is about Berlin maker Dorian Bracht…

Here’s a taster…

How did a furniture maker from Berlin become a YouTube sensation cutting Japanese Joinery? Well, in a genre populated by samey DIY instructables Dorian Bracht stands out. His films are put together as beautifully as the joints themselves. In a style that has more in common with arthouse cinema than typical woodworking videos.

The mesmerising YouTube series from Dorian Bracht: Not just for woodworkers!

The mesmerising YouTube series from Dorian Bracht: Not just for woodworkers!

Universally compelling viewing

Each episode of Joint Venture tells the story of a new creation. Whether a Sashiawase Komisen uchi (Pegged bridging) or a Shingiri daimochi tsugi (Dadoed rabbeted square scarf) Dorian takes you on a joinery journey. The craftsmanship is complex and it is very satisfying to watch the pieces of the puzzle come together so beautifully... beginning, middle and end. “ understated, practical and beautifully made. A delicate balance of creative aesthetic and precise craft. Dorian has translated the fine lines and structures of Japanese architecture and Ming furniture into his own craft language.”

Dorian Bracht: Master craftsman, Joinery Sensation and YouTube Star!

Dorian Bracht: Master craftsman, Joinery Sensation and YouTube Star!

Dorian’s Tips for success:  

  • Don’t do what everyone else is doing, do what you enjoy and take it to the max

  • Don’t sell stuff too cheap

  • Always quality...in the aesthetic, the material and the craft

  • Learn from the mistakes and keep adding to your knowledge

Click below to read the full article, the original Tom Sands Guitars Interval episode and lots more interesting links!


Christian Dior: Construction & design

Room after room plunges you into a world of extravagance. A feast of colour, form, texture and beauty. Dresses, coats, hats, shoes, sketches, perfume, Vogue covers, John Galliano.

The fashion house Christian Dior presents a gloriously rich seam of exhibition material. It’s visually stunning. It’s glamorous, surprising, beautiful, transient, timeless… and (whisper it) commercial.

This video gives you a flavour …

An inspired inclusion was the palace of pattern makers. The stark whiteness was a shock after the riot of colour and cloth that came before. But here were the bones… the white prints laid bare. The pre-dress, before silk, beading, ribbons and buttons were let loose. You could imagine any future you wanted. No interference or distraction. Just the rippled shadows thrown by folds, tucks, pleats and hemlines to draw the eye.


The Atelier’s temple

Lessons in construction & form


Fold & Tuck

Similar but different shapes and ideas

Look and Learn. Whether designing a dress or a musical instrument getting those lines right is fundamental to the success of a finished piece. Then the choice of material, be it silk or satinwood, can bring the design forward.

One of the most powerful things art can do is to challenge. Explore, experiment, be brave. Push the boundaries of an idea. Don’t be afraid to throw it away. Start again. Until the form is right…

… and then, maybe, just maybe, you’ll create something that is brilliant.

Dior’s “New Look”

Dior’s “New Look”