Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: Metal Forming tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    13

    Default Metal Forming tools

    Hello Everybody! I have been preparing to buy some metal forming tools and need help in choosing the most versatile ones. I did a two short courses at a college where most tools were available therefore I have some idea what I need. However since they were short I don't know how much usage they will actually see. I know that in terms of ring forming and bangle forming I will need the mandrels and they would be used often. But when it comes to shaping a more organic pieces I will need different shapes and forms. I am considering getting the following and would appreciate commenting of how useful they are.

    Blacksmith anvil - Can't seem to find a polished large anvil anywhere on the internet. If this is not possible, has anyone got experience of polishing a rough one? Do you use this tool often? I remember liking it a lot when I was making rivets on a really long horn bangle. Would stakes be more useful?

    Mini Anvil - are they used at all? They are all over the internet yet I haven't seen one bench actually having one.

    Round Draw Plate - There are some very expensive Italian ones and cheaper Indian made, how and if they are world apart?

    Rolling Mill - a very useful tool but boy is it expensive, any tip on buying a used one? (I found one but it's quite rusty - can this be cleaned?)Or perhaps there is an affordable one that is below 300 pounds? (wayy below)

    Doming Punch and Block set - a specific tool, but can this variety of doming shapes be achieved by another more versatile tool? Also price range is huge I found one that costs 33 pounds (steel, 25 pieces, punches and block) and there are some with similar number of punches that costs over hundreds pounds. Is there a difference in steel that I would need to look out for?

    I have read and agree with fellow members saying to buy tools when you start a specific project. This is that time for me since I want to experiment with shapes and generally learn how metal behaves. Apologies for this rather long enquiry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    5,095

    Default

    Not sure why the system stuck your post in the moderation queue; sorted now.

    Anvil - not generally needed for jewellery scale projects. They're the size they are for taking some serious abuse when hammering out hot steel; unless you're going to be forging out chunks of silver in the style of Brett Payne, it's probably overkill. Unless you can get one really cheaply, of course. Cleaning of a rusty anvil is usually done by forging steel - takes it right off, but won't leave a mirror finish. You can clean an anvil with a flap disk in an angle grinder, but it's not generally worthwhile. Alternatives run from a simple bench block through to a silversmith's (or tinsmith's) stake - some of the larger flat stakes do fine, but will need mounting in a stump (or a vice in a pinch, but a cheap cast iron vice won't stand up to much and a leg vice is going to be quite bulky).

    I have a couple of the dinky anvils somewhere. They see very, very little use. The cheap ones are usually cast iron and not worth the trouble for anything more than riveting. The little sparrowhawk anvils are more useful - the horns on them can be used for shaping bezels & ring shanks.

    Drawplates: Indian-made tools are usually poorly made & finished IME. Accuracy, resulting finish on the wire you've drawn and ease of use should be higher with the better quality drawplates.

    Rolling mills we've pretty much done to death here; I know some people are happy with inexpensive ones, but I prefer the Durstons. Rolls can be cleaned or - providing they're not too far gone - reground by an engineering company with the kit to do so. Given the pressure they exert on metal, they have to be strongly built. Doing so costs.

    As with other tools, doming blocks vary wildly on quality of materials & finishing. My main doming block wasn't hugely expensive, but it's had a lot of work put in to radius the edges of the domes (to reduce marking), polishing inside the domes etc. etc. A fair few hours - which is part of the increased cost in better ones. You could use punches with a lead block, but for something simple like domes I'd stick with the doming block.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,902

    Default

    Peter has covered most of your questions, but may I add a thought that you may like to buy some shaped hammers, you mention making organic shapes, well I have made a lot of flowers in my time and I mostly do the shaping using shaped hammers and lead or wooden blocks to hammer onto. In the past I have purchased relatively cheap standard ball pein and cross pein hammers, then reshaped their faces on a grinder to suit various shaping jobs.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	31a Leaf sheet A low res.jpg 
Views:	33 
Size:	64.4 KB 
ID:	10847 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	32a Leaf sheet A  low res.jpg 
Views:	31 
Size:	66.2 KB 
ID:	10848 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	14a Jim's reshaped hammers.jpg 
Views:	32 
Size:	68.1 KB 
ID:	10850

    James
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 14d Jim's reshaped hammers.jpg   20 Lead block sheet.jpg  
    Last edited by Goldsmith; 22-01-2018 at 09:07 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,441

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Molek View Post
    I have read and agree with fellow members saying to buy tools when you start a specific project. This is that time for me since I want to experiment with shapes and generally learn how metal behaves.
    If that is the stage you're at, it would be much cheaper to continue with courses (for instance a one term beginners course) in a well equipped workshop.

    First to get a better idea of the scale of work you will be interested in, and secondly to complete a set project, so that you use equipment in context.

    Until you have made something to wear or use, you will be wasting your money buying equipment which can quickly add up to thousands of pounds and still leave you lacking. Dennis.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    3,148

    Default

    I'd just like to add that all of the equipment you've mentioned is rather specialised and expensive to start off your workshop. That's the thing about being in a college environment, every tool is to hand and you don't think about improvising. It was years before stakes and rolling mills were on my list, you can do a great deal of forming with rolling pins, darning mushrooms and other household items you might find or going after cheap tool boxes at auctions.
    I wish I could find the wooden doming punches that were available, I still find myself going back to the top of a dolly peg for a gentler finish, I maybe need to but myself a new set of steels!

    I agree that longer courses would enable you to use the equipment available and stretch your capabilities without buying the equipment, you often find that you move on to something else then you have expensive tools gathering dust and only used rarely
    Do you have a basic set of tools to begin with, that was my starting point

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    2,068

    Default

    I generally think that whether or not you buy high end or cheap tools of this kind tends to depend on how much you are going to use them.
    I have a cheap rolling mill from Cooksons which I bought about 2 years ago and it serves me fine but I don't use it all that much and take the metal down slowly.
    On the other hand I bought an expensive Durston ring stretcher/reducer because I use that all the time and make some heavy rings.
    I still don't have a draw plate, haven't yet found I needed one as you can buy wire in a fair variety of sizes.
    For me personally I tend to decide exactly what I want to do then if I need a tool I buy it.
    I know you say you want to do forming but have you decided *exactly* what you want to make and what tools that will need?
    You may find you buy the tools on your list but actually need totally different tools like anticlastic stakes/doming stakes etc and the tools you bought don't get used.
    I have a lead block following James advice which I find really useful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    5,095

    Default

    It'll be no surprise that I own several drawplates but, as you say, wire is available in a multitude of sizes. Unless, of course, you're drawing down to sizes generally unavailable (0.25mm), or working with mokume gane, or recovering gold from old pieces. Similarly, I use my mill for reducing mokume sheet - not something that an inexpensive mill will handle gracefully (or at all, or in the sizes I need).

    As for anticlastic stakes - strangely, I have quite a few of them. It's probably time I made up some more large ones though, they seem to sell faster than the small ones.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    892

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ57 View Post
    I'd just like to add that all of the equipment you've mentioned is rather specialised and expensive to start off your workshop. That's the thing about being in a college environment, every tool is to hand and you don't think about improvising. It was years before stakes and rolling mills were on my list, you can do a great deal of forming with rolling pins, darning mushrooms and other household items you might find or going after cheap tool boxes at auctions.
    I wish I could find the wooden doming punches that were available, I still find myself going back to the top of a dolly peg for a gentler finish, I maybe need to but myself a new set of steels!

    I agree that longer courses would enable you to use the equipment available and stretch your capabilities without buying the equipment, you often find that you move on to something else then you have expensive tools gathering dust and only used rarely
    Do you have a basic set of tools to begin with, that was my starting point
    Found your use of darning mushrooms and dolly pegs interesting. Going to put these on my list as i don't want to buy a doming block at the moment. Thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    2,068

    Default

    Thats what I mean Peter, it really depends on precisely the work you do.
    Although I am on the verge of buying a drawplate actually as I need 0.3mm wire in white and red gold but it seems rather a large expense just for that so Im still undecided..... Incidentally, do you know if anybody makes a draw plate for making small rectangular wire ? Ive only found square so far.
    I have no anticlastic stakes at all
    The thing is there are so many routes you can take in jewellery making and each one requires its own set of tools it easily gets extremely time consuming and expensive, I still have several techniques on my to do list...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,642

    Default

    The only rectangular draw plates I have come across are these budget items, if you are unable to source one elsewhere this may get you out of trouble ( post may be a killer)
    http://www.gemcuts.com.au/drawer-plate-rectangular

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •