Google+ House Revivals: How to Flatten Silverware for Up-Cycling Projects!

Friday, January 16, 2015

How to Flatten Silverware for Up-Cycling Projects!

Over the years, I seem to have accumulated quite a bit of silverplate!  I'm not sure how it happens... a piece here, then a piece there. We used to be able to find silverplate in thrift stores for about a quarter a piece -- fifty cents, at the most. Now days, you can usually find it for about a dollar a piece.

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It's so hard to resist all the pretty vintage patterns! Some vintage silverware is quite worn and not great for eating from and not nice enough for up-cycled jewelry, but it is charming nonetheless,  and can be fashioned into plant stakes and cheese markers, and key chains, and so on.
If you are like me, and have drawers full of lovely old vintage silverware, you may be looking for fun up-cycling ideas. Here is how I flatten worn, imperfect forks into flat silverware "blanks", perfect for up-cycling projects.

First of all, invest in the right tools. Using the proper tools will save you time, frustration, and wear and tear on your body.  You will need a metal bench block -- I use the Beadaholique Solid Metal Bench Block Wire Hardening and Wire Wrapping Tool.

You will also want a rubber bench block  -- I use the ImpressArt Crystal Rivet Setting Mat, 4-Inch x 4-Inch. Next, you will need a one-pound brass ball peen hammer -- I use the ImpressArt Stamping Hammer, 1-Pound, Brass Metal. You can use a heavier hammer, but you may find it is hard on the wrist after a while. Why risk a repetitive stress injury? The ImpressArt hammer fits the hand really nicely, and is very easy to control.

You will also want to work at a sturdy work bench or work counter. Don't work at your expensive granite or quartz counter -- you do not want to risk cracking or chipping your counter top. Some people prefer to work on a sidewalk or concrete patio. In nice weather, I will take my supplies outside and work on top of a concrete retaining wall.

The rubber bench block, layered underneath the steel bench block, will help absorb much of the noise and impact from the hammer, but if you are sensitive to pounding, you may want to wear earplugs, such as these Hearos Ear Plugs - Xtreme Protection Series, 14 pr.

If you are concerned with scratching your silverware, place some pieces of low tack tape along the edges of your block.  Now, place your fork, upside down, on the block. Using the flat side of your brass hammer, give the heel of the fork four to eight good whacks. Most fork heels will flatten in about four whacks, but occasionally you find a stubborn one that need six or eight whacks.

Next, turn your fork over and flatten the arch. You may want to place and old thick cloth over the fork handle to prevent marring the surface. Be aware that this will eventually shred your cloth, so use something old. Four to six good whacks is probably all you will need for this step.

Now the heel and the arch of the fork should be nice and flat.

Turn the fork over again, if necessary, to "fine tune" things -- sometimes when you flatten one side, a slight curve will develop on the other side.

It's so easy!

I have tried hammering silverware on boards, between boards, using the wrong hammer, hammering directly on concrete, and so on, and found all of those methods frustrating. Those methods also left my wrist and elbow throbbing -- sooooo not worth it.

With this method, and a little practice you will be able to flatten forks in twelve to twenty-four firm whacks. Pretty soon, you will have dozens of silverware blanks, ready for your creative projects!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, and would like to see more, please check out my side-bar for lots of ways to subscribe to House Revivals!  Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates on projects. Please feel free to use the buttons at the bottom of this post to share this project on your favorite social media sites. Thanks for visiting!

Don't miss the upcoming tutorial on how to make these pretty plant stakes using your silverware blanks!