Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I've been obsessed with the idea of adding small silver or copper discs in my jewelry designs. The discs look like they might be fun to make and I really really wanted to try my hand at them.

Eventually, my OCD kicked in; I NEEDED to make them. I COULDN'T GO ON without trying to make them.

I searched through google to learn about how to make flat and concave discs. It didn't seem so hard. Of course I would need to buy some new tools: a dapping block, punches, and a disc cutter. (New toys! Yeah!)

I checked around and found that not only are these items pretty pricey, but shipping is really expensive because, being made from solid metal, they're very heavy. I was itching to try this technique but wasn't sure that I'd use it a lot. So I really didn't want to invest a lot of money.

The absolute cheapest metal dapping block, at $35, was at my local Harbor Freight store. Even though I wouldn't need to pay shipping and handling charges, I still balked. So I visited it often at the store, contemplating buying it.

Then one Saturday while I was loitering at the HF store - walking through the aisles and lusting after the tools - I saw the dapping block on sale for $22.99!

It was D-E-S-T-I-N-Y!

It went home with me. I'll admit, it's not the best quality. I got what I paid for. There are minor scratches in the hollows on the block, and a couple of punches have slightly flattened tips.

BUT DOESN'T IT LOOK COOL ON MY SHELF?! (Can you tell that I'm pretty happy.)

Next step: find a (cheap) disc cutter.

After much searching, I finally went to eBay and found this little baby-->

Whoo hoo!

Now what do I do? Neither the dapping block or the disc cutter came with instructions. The dapping block was pretty intuitive, but the disc cutter wasn't.

Look at the ends of the punches. One is end is flat and the other is slightly rounded. Which end is for what?

I assumed I slide a sheet of metal in the little slot of the side, insert the punch, and then hammer away... or do I? Should the cutter lie on a surface or be supported? I wasn't sure, even with all the instructions I found on the internet!

Yes, I know that sounds stupid, but I didn't want to ruin my new toy with my first blow. Frustrated, I decided to leave this for another day.

Then, a few weeks later, I met a very friendly artist at a street fair in San Francisco It was obvious that he knew what he was doing. I finally got the courage and told him that I made jewelry too. He was very interested and we chatted. I asked him about disc cutters and he gave me some very useful advice. He also suggested start with copper sheets and use a heavy brass hammer instead my regular steel ballpeen.

OK. Need to buy more stuff: brass hammer, sheets of copper, and one (very expensive) sheet of sterling silver.

Now here I was, two months later and a couple of hundred dollars poorer. I had everything I needed and was ready.

You know what's next? Yup, you're right:

To be continued.....
(I promise to show you what I made with my new tools.)
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  1. Gemheaven said...
    Ohhh you big tease!!

    Show show show.....
    CarolynArtist said...
    Amamzing price! Good for you, and i couldn't help but not that *coughcough*another OCDer is a smither! I can soooo relate! Looking forward to pics of your new dapped and disced pieces!!!
    High Desert Diva said...
    Ahhh...we get sucked in...and then read to be continued!
    Contrariwise said...
    It's much to long of a story for a single post. But I got to admit, I love doing this.

    (Tee hee.)
    Mimi - Image Beads said...
    What a great find! Enjoy it!
    Unknown said...
    looking forward to the next episode!
    Tammy's Treasure Chest said...
    I got that same set from HF! It is a little rough, but i love it and use it a LOT! I also got my disc cutter on Ebay! It's not the best, but it does the job.
    Can't wait to see what you did with yours!
    Polly said...
    I'm sure your OCD made you continue the blog ... but I can't find it! Purdy puhleaze add a link or post to say which week or blog title continues this. I'm about to buy this little dapping block from Rings & Things (yay, local to me, so no shipping) and am trying to figure out what else I need.

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