Ron, I didn’t have the money to buy stakes so made several over
a period of 10 years of so. To start with for simple bowls all
that is needed is either a leather bag or a stump modified with
various sized holes burned in its surface, until the principle of
sinking is learned. For raising plain wooden stakes 2 inches
square and 1x2 are made, then just ground and polished whenever
their forms need changing. Just like a bench pin they will
gradually erode and die to be replaced when needed.
Hammers to start can just be those big cheap red wooden mallets
that areground then polished. LAter mallets can be turned on a
lathe in various styles. I made raising hammers by the simple
expedient of drilling handle holes in the right sized hot rolled
The first metal stake is just a 2 inch long piece of 2 inch
round bar welded onto a 1 inch round handle and then ground down
to a dome shape then polished. Since then i’ve added bekirons,
sinusoidal stakes and lots of bells and whistles; the first task
is to gain the confidence to make the first cusom tool then
modify it until it is right.
A sinusoidal stake is too difficult to make at first, but it is
a whole lot easier to make several of different sizes, each with
a single anaclastic saddle on top. I have made several saddle
stakes over time and use them instead of the sinusoidal stake I
sweated blood to make.
Two important points in this rambling dissertation. 1) For
handmade tools make the handles long so they can be clamped into
a bench vise as making those tapered square handles for the
standard holder will drive you nuts. 2) Hot rolled steel is hard
enough for the tinsmith/silversmith’s purpose. There ain’t no
such animal as tool steel so hard it can’t be damaged by misplace
hammer blows and the hot rolled is a whole lot easier to modify
All this of course in my purely amateur opinion.