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Instructables user cr8ive1 writes:

This is how I make steel doming punches to shape soft metals (gold, silver, copper, brass) for jewellery making. Doming (or dapping punches as they are often referred to by jewellery makers) punches are expensive for what they are- basically highly polished pieces of curved steel. I have a few commercially made punches and a brass dapping block but I needed larger ones for a project. I couldn’t justify the expense knowing they would only see occasional use, so I made my own. For this project I’ve used an old carriage bolt (domed bolt). As I don’t have a lathe to remove large amounts of material a piece of preshaped steel was important to reduce the need for labourious hand work (this project is about saving money not losing time).

Hey jewelry makers, how do you improvise your own tools? Post in the comments.

6 thoughts on “How-To: Dapping punch from steel bolts

  1. I do the same thing; often using other “parts” from around my shop, or grind the bolts to different shapes, but take it one step further. Take this bolt drill the same size hole in a stable board, insert the bolt and use it like an anvil, use different sizes, grind off one side and get a straight edge on a curved anvil etc.

  2. Every metalsmithing studio needs 3 large sections of trees and/or tree stumps:

    1 – One that is hollowed out into a 1/2 sphere is essential for hand raising and forming.
    2 – Another section of a tree with holes for mounting stakes.
    3 – A piece to mount your anvil on.

    A piece of a train track polished up (both flat and the domed side) make a great little anvil

    Old hammer heads in a vice can make great small scale stakes.

    Scrap pieces of hardwood moldings can be used for forming cones and various shapes.

  3. We pretty regularly convert standard square and round iron stock into custom stakes for raising and forming.

    Don’t have stake the matches the angle you need? Bend, forge, and grind one that does.

    We also use old abused files and convert them to scoring tools, nails to stamps of different types.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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