Coppersmith

Coppersmith

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A coppersmith, also known as a redsmith, is a person who makes artifacts from copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

. The term redsmith comes from the colour of copper.

Examples of objects made by modern coppersmiths include jewellery, sculptures, plates and cookware, jugs, vases, trays, frames, rose bowls, cigarette case
Cigarette case
A cigarette case or cigarette box is a sturdy, most commonly metal container to store small numbers of cigarettes safely from crushing. In modern times they are also made of plastic....

es, tobacco jars, overmantels, fenders, decorative panels, and challenge shields, tea and coffee pots, awnings, light fixtures, fountains, range hoods
Extractor hood
An extractor hood is a device containing a mechanical fan that hangs above the stove or cooktop in the kitchen. It removes airborne grease, combustion products, smoke, odors, heat, and steam from the air by a combination of filtration and evacuation of the air.-Name:The device is known as an...

, cupolas, and still
Still
A still is a permanent apparatus used to distill miscible or immiscible liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor...

s. Famous copper styles in the UK include Newlyn
Newlyn Copper
Newlyn Copper was a class of arts and crafts copperware originating in Newlyn in Cornwall.- History :Late in the 19th century the fishing industry in Cornwall was becoming unreliable as a source of income: bad weather and seasonal fluctuations brought enforced periods of inactivity...

 in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and Keswick
Keswick School of Industrial Art
Keswick School of Industrial Art was founded in 1884 by Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and his wife Edith as an evening class of repoussé‚ metalwork in the Crosthwaite Parish Rooms, just outside Keswick, Cumbria....

 in Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

. Coppersmith work started waning in the late 1970s and early 1980s and those in the sheetmetal trade began doing the coppersmith's work, the practices used being similar to those in the plumbing
Plumber
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum." A person engaged in fixing metaphorical "leaks" may also be...

 trade. Coppermiths in recent years have turned to pipe work, not only in copper but also stainless steel and aluminium, particularly in the aircraft industry. They are one of the few trades that have a mention in the Bible.

Copper is generally considered to be a soft metal, meaning it can be worked without heating. Over a period of working the metal in this way it can 'work harden'. This means that the molecules within the copper are compressed and irregular in their arrangement. This causes stress in the metal and eventually cracking the metal along these stress points. In order for the copper to be worked to any extensive degree it must be annealed
Annealing (metallurgy)
Annealing, in metallurgy and materials science, is a heat treatment wherein a material is altered, causing changes in its properties such as strength and hardness. It is a process that produces conditions by heating to above the recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature, and...

. This process involves heating the metal and then rapidly cooling it in water. The cooling stage is known as quenching. By heating the copper, the molecules in the metal are relaxed, and able to align themselves in a more uniform fashion. This allows for easier shaping of the metal. In order to keep this uniformity within the metal, it is cooled instantly. This prevents the molecules from moving around and causing tension in the structure of the metal. Unlike ferrous metals—which must be cooled slowly to anneal—copper can be cooled slowly in air or quickly by quenching in water.