[Harp-L] Burnishing v Embossing

Joseph Leone 3n037@xxxxx
Sat Jan 21 09:03:17 EST 2017

> On Jan 21, 2017, at 4:29 AM, Eric Nielsen <ericbarnak at xxxxx> wrote:
> Techniques learned from working with one metal can certainly crossover to
> other metals. I worked a couple years in a shipyard as a fitter/welder so I
> am familiar with working steel.

I also worked in a shipyard. We only made towboats and barges. But during the war LSTs, etc. 

> I later studied jewelry design in college
> and later worked at a jewelry factory. I still think burnishing is the more
> apt term to use for reed slot shaping.

I feel that the term qualifies. :)
> Burnishing in jewelry-making refers to using a hard smooth tool (mostly
> steel) to shape and polish softer metal such as silver, gold, copper,
> pewter, etc. You could even use a burnisher made from stone. Working copper
> alloys is similar to working silver alloys.

Correct. They have similar atomic similarities. 

>  Here are a few links to
> jewelers using a burnisher:
> http://jewelrymonk.com/2016/03/14/how-to-use-a-burnishing-tool-to-polish/
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuHKP-D_xC4
> Eric
Ok, the English dictionary is a dichotomy in and of itself. Full of simantics and nomenclature. Too many words meaning similar things. Too many spelled the same 
meaning entirely different things. The queen’s English can be found in a book that can sit on your coffee table and easily reach 9.2” in height, and weigh upwards 
of 1 stone 1 1/2, (15.5 lbs…7.017 Kg.)

I would like to start out with this disclaimer: I have no problem accepting any term adopted by Rick Epping. My reasoning? He’s Rick Epping and I’m not.
I also have no problem accepting any term adopted by Brendan ‘Tower of Power’. Same deal. He’s Brendan and I’m not. Both are first call when anyone
wanting to do a harmonica story or documentary needs input. 

My particular reference to ‘Swageing’ comes from my many years working on something called “Wildcats”. These are cartridges that are customized from other
cartridges and bullets. The R.C.B.S. company (aka Rock Chucker Bullet Swageing), provides dies to facilitate 1..squeezing, 2..forcing, 3..smearing, molecules of metal 
from one profile into another. It’s done gently and with pressure. 

So, basically, it all comes down to semantics. Here’s an experiment: Take a slab of wax or modeling clay. Cut a hole in the center with a cookie cutter type device/tool.
Now work the edges of the hole in towards the center. You could use a ‘burnisher’ (hence my qualification). You are actually ‘smearing/forcing/manipulating/squeezing’
the molecules of the material. Hence my usage of ‘swageing’. Another qualifier.

Now take a knife, come straight down on the slab and cut the slab in half right across the hole. Turn one half sideways and notice that you have actually raised a profile
IN the hole when viewed in cross section. Therefore ‘embossing’ also qualifies. SO..what do we have here? We have a semantics combination of terms. Oh, and BTW, 
you will also note that when the knife bit into the slab, you ALSO swaged/smeared/rounded  the top edges of the knife cut…just like most cheese cuts. 

In conclusion. I’m a simple man. I do things as simply as possible. I’m so simple in fact, that I make things out of almost nothing at all. I am also negotiable. And as long
as people are spending at least some of their time actually playing this instrument, I have absolutely no problem accepting whatever terms people wish to use. As long
as they are not totally way out in left field and make no sense. 

Oooh, I almost forgot. One person’s use of a term doesn’t make it so. Back in 1960 I raised the #5 reed on a diatonic UP one sharp. (I was mainly a chromatic player
at the time), and I wasn’t happy with the ‘missing’ note. I was able to do tunes like (for example) with 2 harps..instead of 4..such as used by Charlie McCoy on London
derry Aire. I called it doo-wop tuning. But I never bothered to tell anyone. Many years later Hohner came out with ‘country tuning’. Ha ha ha. jokes on me, have a good time.


> On Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 10:38 PM, Joseph Leone <3n037 at xxxxx> wrote:
>> I looked up all three terms in 3 dictionaries. NONE of the terms matched.
>> Not exactly. The one (embossing) comes closest as it refers to RAISING a
>> ridge. Ok, so if you look upon the INSIDE of the reed slot and set it on
>> the VERTICAL. yes, you ARE actually raising a ridge. Except that it is on
>> the INSIDE of the reed slot..and it is aimed INWARD and not up and
>> down..which is how I think most people are visualizing it.
>> smo-joe (Btw, swaging CAN be done gently..it doesn’t have to occur via a
>> drop hammer.. lolol. You are basically moving molecules of metal via
>> pressure). But I’ll buy whatever you guys are selling.
>>> On Jan 20, 2017, at 9:28 PM, Dennis Fischette <dmfischette at xxxxx>
>> wrote:
>>> I would call it squeezing the crap out of it !!
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> On Jan 20, 2017, at 7:31 PM, John Goodwin <australia.goodwin at xxxxx>
>> wrote:
>>>> Swaging isn't the correct term. Swaging infers stamping or punching
>> along
>>>> with dies and less subtle hammers and presses. It is generally an
>> extreme
>>>> form of material manipulation.
>>>> Burnishing is correct. You burnish the edge of a wood scaper to raise a
>>>> cutting edge. The extruded cutting edge is merely the useful result of
>> the
>>>> burnishing the same as what's done when you burnish the edge of a reed
>>>> slot. Burnishing is much much more finessed than swaging.
>>>> Though like so much of our bastardised English language, I can't see the
>>>> term embossing being changed anytime soon.
>>>> I did my time as a toolmaker working on press tools, dies and punches.
>>>>> On 20 January 2017 at 22:31, Aongus Mac Cana <amaccana at xxxxx>
>> wrote:
>>>>> At the risk of being pedantic, I suggest that neither Burnishing nor
>>>>> Embossing is the correct term for spreading reed plates to reduce the
>> gap
>>>>> to
>>>>> the reeds.
>>>>> When I went to engineering school this engineering operation was called
>>>>> Swaging and was employed by Blacksmiths, Boilermakers and
>>>>> Sheetmetalworkers.
>>>>> Car body repairmen might have had occasion to use the technique as well
>>>>> from
>>>>> time to time, but I never anticipated that there would be occasion to
>> apply
>>>>> it to the delicate field of harmonica maintenance. Maybe I should have
>>>>> spent
>>>>> a few weeks in a Jewelery workshop after two years in the cruder
>>>>> environment
>>>>> of a railway maintenance works.
>>>>> As far as tools for this operation on a reed plate are concerned I have
>>>>> heard recommendations for coins, the ball end of a tuning fork, and
>> small
>>>>> automobile socket spanners. I have not got around to trying any of them
>>>>> yet.
>>>>> At the Willie Clancy Summer Music School the specialty tools of Richard
>>>>> Sleigh have been suggested as the weapons of choice for those who wish
>> to
>>>>> seriously attack their harmonicas with extreme prejudice.
>>>>> Beannachtai
>>>>> Aongus Mac Cana

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