• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

COULD WE LEARN FROM THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS ?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Pipster

Established Member
Joined
22 Nov 2011
Messages
20
Reaction score
0
Location
newton le willows
Well I'm aware that a lot of you experienced members will be aware of the properties of different tool metals so dont take offence at what Im about to write !

I happen to know that brass and copper can me ground and honed very easily into incredibly sharp edges. And before you say it , I KNOW they wont last long but they can be sharpened again very quickly...

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians chisled out stones for the pyramids using copper chisels as well as carving temple pillars and the Sphinx and all the relief carvings with the same tools made of copper. The way they did it was this .

each mason/ sculpter/ craftsman etc had two baskets... One full of sharp chisels and another basket to put his blunt ones in..
A labourer would go along the production line collecting the blunt ones and replenish the sharp ones.
the blunt ones were delivered to a team of sharpeners and picked up more sharp ones constantly leeping the supply going...BRILLIANT!

Well I havent got a workforce like that but i recon if I bought a few copper conducting rods and chopped them into about half a dozen chisel lengths and then ground them into finishing tools i could make that work !
a bit of a grinding session (which i find very threapeutic ) for an hour one afternoon would give me a box of ultra sharp chisels to finish off the fine detail or final finish on any job !
 

Paul Hannaby

Established Member
Joined
1 Sep 2011
Messages
844
Reaction score
63
Location
Gloucestershire UK
Copper wheels are also used to cut and engrave glass but this is done by using the copper as a carrier for an abrasive grit. Perhaps the copper chisels used by the egyptians also inadvertently used the same technique to some extent?
I think if you tried cutting wood with copper tools you would soon give up on that idea. I have fashioned the occasional cutter from unhardened steel just for a single one off job in the past and even for that, the steel doesn't hold it's edge for long so I can imagine copper would be a real ordeal.
One other point - copper and other soft metals shouldn't be ground on a grinding wheel because they will clog and overheat the stone, causing it to overheat, which might be catastrophic.
 

Robbo3

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2012
Messages
2,181
Reaction score
310
Location
Oxfordshire
If I were attempting this I'd just use multiple cheap ordinary carbon steel tools rather than resort to copper or other soft metals.

In fact a lot of pro turners have a second sharp tool just for the finishing cuts.
 

Jamesc

Established Member
Joined
8 Feb 2009
Messages
703
Reaction score
34
Location
southampton, UK
As the other posters I think that you will find copper too soft. If you would like to try it I suggest you harden the copper first.

Copper work hardens so to harden it you want to hit it with a hammer, I would have thaought that tapping the working end all over 10 to 20 times would produce noticable results.

Incidentally the ancient Egyptians would have beed using work hardend copper as the tools were constantly pounded.

Give it a go - I for one would be interested in the results

James
 

bugbear

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2004
Messages
13,074
Reaction score
1
Location
North Suffolk
Pipster":14k22pq3 said:
I happen to know that brass and copper can be ground and honed very easily into incredibly sharp edges.
I find that surprising, certainly for copper. IME soft/malleable metals tend to form huge burrs that flop about, rather than grinding away cleanly to create the required arris.

BugBear
 

Neil O

Member
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
With the price of copper as it is at the moment I would have thought it was cheaper to buy a nice new gouge!! :)
 

Terryjb

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2011
Messages
25
Reaction score
0
Location
Cheshire
Mostly the Egyptians were using bronze, pure copper is rare and expensive. Cost and availability were the main reasons for the historically significant move from copper alloys to iron. Bronzes. now often referred to simply as copper alloys, are of many different compositions and are often harder than wrought iron. The Egyptians were using bronze tools from as early as 2700 BC. Yes they were refreshed by hammering, which changes the structure and hardens the metal. The stone working technique relied on chipping waste away, not cutting. Working of stone with stone had preceded it for millennia, but they had more patience then than we have.
I think I prefer my scary sharp tools to anything they had to work with. But the quality of ancient Egyptian woodworking still astounds me.
 

TheTiddles

Established Member
Joined
14 Oct 2007
Messages
2,560
Reaction score
530
Location
Wiltshire
The Egyptians were slaughtered by the Hyksos carrying superior steel weapons, good job there wasn't another tribe with stainless...

Aidan
 
Top