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Embossing Dies


#1

Does anyone out there emboss metal ? I’ve seen photos of the
products in a few books, but cannot find a source for embossing
dies- premade or custom. I suspect that hydraulic pressing has
become the new process of choice. The dies that I have seen
photographed, were laboriously carved and no doubt cherished.

I have an excellent book on chasing, so I might try making a
masonite/urethane die. Another possibility is carving into wood
to form something like a custom dapping block. Has anyone tried
this ?

Allyson


#2

I do emboss metal with a hydraulic press. I make the dies from
acrylic plastic cylindars or sheet and urethane. I also shape
some of my pieces with an acrylic female die. I don’t know if
wood would hold up for long under the pressure of a 20 ton
hydraulic press. There is an excellent book on the subject and a
company in California (Quicksilver) makes custom dies. You could
e-mail me off list if you would like the book title and
Quicksilver address - I’m in the basement computer room instead
of the studio at the moment.

Donna in WY


#3

Masonite works, sorta, with chasing or a hydraulic press, but
you won’t get really crisp/sharp edges. Plexiglass (acrylic)
plastic or sheet aluminum works better for a classic masonite
die, shich is well suited for making larger hollow forms… Or
emboss low relief just into pierced or engraved metal, like half
hard brass, with a urathane pad. Works nicely. I’ve often used
plain brass sheed, engraved (or carved with burrs) for simple
roll printing/embossing dies designed for only a single or very
limited use. For long lasting dies, get some flat steel (Starrat
flat ground die makers stock is the best, but costly). With the
steel dies, you can, with care, still emboss using a rolling
mill. Care needs to be taken not to damage the rolls with the
edges of the dies. I engrave steel sheet with engine turned
patterns for embossing. The dies can be any length, but are the
full width of my flat mills, and carefully finished on the backs
(which contact the mill rolls) so there’s no uneven pressures
from the steel to the rolls. The metal being embossed is shorter
than the die, so the leading and trailing edges of the die never
enter or leave the rolls under pressure. Starrat flat ground
stock comes fully annealed, so you can engrave it with ordinary
gravers (if you’ve a strong hand, it’s steel, after all) or with
anything else that will leave a mark in the metal. You can
polish the die first (though it’s a lot of work… needs to be
sanded out completely. comes too rough to just buff) if you want
the backgrounds to be highly polished right off the die. The
steel dies, used with ordinary jewelry metals, don’t really need
to be hardened afterwards, though they’ll retain a little more
accuracy if they are. Don’t go past a spring hardness, or you’ll
break em.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


#4
   I have an excellent book on chasing, so I might try making a
masonite/urethane die. Another possibility is carving into
wood to form something like a custom dapping block.  Has anyone
tried this ? 

hi allyson,

acrylic sheet is a better choice than masonite. for a more
comprehensive answer go to bonneydoonengineering.com.

best regards,

geo fox


#5

Try Bonny Doon Engineering at
http://www.Bonnydoonengineering.com. Bonny Doon carries a
complete line of hydrolic presses, acrylic supplies, urthane and
dies etc. Just look up their online catalog for any goodies you
need. Also, Bonny Doon has a resourse library of other web sites
for jewelers and metalsmiths. Lee Marshall, the owner is a great
person to work with and responds promptly to your requests.
Happy hunting!