Doming irregular shapes

Can anyone provide me with a good way to dome irregular shapes using sterling silver

Assuming that you want to evenly dome an irregular flat shape like a heart cut out of sheet, look at domed pushers and urethane. The easiest way to move the pusher through the irregularly shaped metal cut out into the urethane is with a hydraulic press. If the metal is fairly thin, you can also use a vise or even a hammer. If the dome is to be irregular in shape, learn to do chasing and repousse. You can even simply use a domed hammer or tool and a thick piece of lead. We would need to know more about what you want to do and your skill level to more accurately answer your question, but look at hydraulic presses and all that goes with them as well as chasing and repousse. Hydraulic presses are fairly expensive, chasing and repousse are less expensive and a hammer and a piece of lead are very inexpensive. Good luck…Rob

Hi there!

New to the site and have just read the post about doming irregular shapes and I kind of the same thoughts…

if one would like to make a elongated teardrop shape in 2 halves to solder together and make a pair of hollow drop earrings with huggie style hoops to support the weight, to then scatter set stones into…would it be best to carve out the shape in wood to then dome the pieces and refine the shape after, hoping they would be as symmetrical as possible done by hand with just dapping tools and hammers and said carved wooden block?

Is that the right way to go about it or is there an even quicker method to get the same results that you masters can share?

You should probably be looking at matrix or silhouette dies. This also means that you will need some sort of press, urethane and other bits to make what you want. Look at the book Hydraulic Die Forming for Jewelers and Metalsmiths by Susan Kingsley. She is a great resource for this type of work. You can do what you describe, but it would be difficult. Dies create a definite shape that can be repeated and you have excess flat metal around the edge of the raised area so that you can trim both pieces to fit together. A matrix die also lets you do two irregular shapes that you can solder together. Susan talks about pancake or blanking dies. There are ways to add dimension to the pieces that they produce. Good luck…Rob

Rob, your a legend!
Will definitely be looking into the book you have recommended and have confirmed a thought that had already passed through my mind…
Thank you very much for your time and help!

Ah, unfortunately this book isn’t available to me as I live in the U.K. a problem that comes up too often! But thank you all the same : (

Hi Charlene,

It looks like there’s a copy available via Amazon UK. It’s a fantastic resource and worth every penny.

As Rob mentioned, you could cut a die and use a bench vice in lieu of a hydraulic press. Robert Dancik just did a video on this very topic for Cool Tools that’s available on YouTube.


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There may be other ways to find this information via google searches. I will see what I can find and post them…Rob

Go to the Learning Center and search on “Hydraulic press”. You will find a lot of information as well as an article by Susan Kingsley. Click on the following and it may take you directly to this search page…Rob"Hydraulic+press"

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You can also see a video for using silhouette dies here - How to use Bonny Doon Silhouette Die Kits - YouTube as well as a discussion of how to make your own silhouette dies.
I love my press! Judy H

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I saw the outline out of lexan in a 1/4" thickness. Press the metal from one side for top shape, invert the die and press from the other side to make the matching shape. If your shape is to be more than 1/4" deep, make two identical pieces of lexan and stack them while pressing. It’s a lot easier to saw two pieces than one very thick one. I use the circular saw blades for plastic, not so gummy.
Judy H

Do you use the circular saw blade to cut out blocks of Lexon then a blade mounted in your jewelers saw frame to cut the design?