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The Making of The Claddagh

Stage 1

The rough silver is melted in the crucible

When the silver is in liquid form it can be poured into the ingot.

 

When the silver has cooled it can be taken out of the ingot.

We now have the bar form.

 

The bar is put through the rollers to get the shape right.

The metal is gradually brought down to the right thickness.

 

The strip of metal is hammered round.

The centre guideline is carved into the round piece.

 

Finally, the claddagh pattern is drawn onto the metal.

The pattern is then carefully cut out by a saw.

 

A sawblade of only 1.2mm is used for better accuracy with this delicate work.

The hands & crown are shaped better before the heart can be inserted. This is done using a safetyback needle file.

 

The heart is now shaped from rough metal using a saw and file.

The master craftsman gets the heart exactly correct.

 

The heart is gently hammered into place.

Only when he is absolutely certain that everything is perfect does he solder the heart permantly into the ring.

 

A variety of different shaped tools called scorpers are used.

At this point the last of the detail is carved into the ring.

 

Each area is painstakingly detailed.

Every detail must be perfect to ensure that later copies are up to standard.

Stage 2

Stage 1 is complete and now the piece is taken to the polishing shop where a series of processes are used to get the item looking its best.

The sides of the piece are mopped to remove marks from the felt.

 

The front is mopped to remove emery marks.

The bristle brush is ideal for hard to reach areas...
The Polisher changes to less abrasive mops called "rough mops". this is how the piece gets its mirror finish.

Stage 3

Finally, the claddagh is blasted by a pressurised jet of steam. 

With Stage 2 of the process complete, the master pattern is now ready to be moulded. Strips of rubber are cut in the size of the frame.

 

The impression of the master is made....

...and then cut from the rubber.

 

The cut outs are used to fill in the area around the piece until it is covered.

The piece is inside layers of rubber and placed in the frame.

 

The mould has been forced under great pressure for 20 hours.

The mould maker can now begin to cut out the master pattern.

 

Great care has to be taken not to deface the impression left in the mould...

...carefully the sides are cut...and finally....

 

...the master pattern emerges and the perfect impression is made in the mould.