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Fretz tiny silver smithing stake


#1

Hi forum member,

Fretz Stakes sets, as seen in the Rio Grande catalogue. I was
wondering if anyone has purchased and uses the tiny silver smithing
stake set and what your results were. Seems like a lot of money to
me for these tools, even though they are nicely made. Has anyone
actually found a practical use for them.

I could see using them in anti clastic raising of earring maybe. But
would not a pair of pliers do the same thing, if they were modified
to mimic the shape of the stake?

Jim Zimmerman
Alpine Custom Jewellers & Repair
http://www.handengravingcanada.com


#2

For the wealthy begining silversmith that collects tools…there is
absolutely no bezel one can’t make, no bend that can’t be made, nor
odd form with far cheaper things found in tool and hardware stores
(harbor freight for example sells a set of 4 hardened steel threaded
bottomed forming stakes for under 20 dollars that do all and more
than the set in the catalogues. If one adds a square ended tapered
chisel to the purchase, and perhaps a length of flattened cold rolled
steel bar and with a grinder forms other things included in the
fretz’ set it becomes superflouous). The bezel stakes do make quick
work of forming bezels but so do a number of other things from
mandrels to anvils! In short, - if money’s no object they look great
on a shelf in a studio with a light coating of light lubricant /
moisture barrier…Otherwise one learns to do the operations quickly,
in time and with out toolling in some situations (i. e. - forming
bezels right around the small stone or cutting 2 pieces of stock to
make a marquise , emerald, or a pear shaped setting). You could with
plenty of time carve your own wood molds and cast in any steel alloy
( or non-marring brass or copper for dolly’s etc.) you wish aa quite
similar set that will advance your skill set far more and cost
perhaps half the amount of the fretz’ mini-stakes set…auto body
tools make great forming stakes. As for sinusoidal stakes and the
like a good plumbing or pipe vise and round steel can be forrmed and
/ or cast into easily finishable forming stakes. Add a milling
machine and CAD or CNC and you can make a number of them in a
material like Delrin for a fraction of the money ( plans on turning
old computers, etc. into CAD/AM/CNC machines free at
MAKEmagazine.com). Catalogues are fine for novices, major purchases
and replacing consumables- though often the cheapest vendors are
overlooked for the most advertised! but 70% of the stuff in them is
useless or far overpriced considering the alternatives and frequency
you’ll actually use them… rer


#3

Hi Jim,

I’ve seen them at Rio’s booth for years. They’re pretty, and lord
knows the hammers are sexy, but they are teeny.

The short answer is that of course you could make your own tool,
either plier or stake, to do the same jobs.

The real question is do you ever do work that would benefit from
micro- stakes of those sizes & shapes?

If you do, then you must ask yourself if it’s cheaper in ultimate
terms to trade money against the time to make your own. If yes, buy.
If no, make them yourself.

The things that can be said about the stakes is that they’re already
done, beautifully polished, and very hard (and stainless). (I know
the hammers are RC50 (tested one myself even). I suspect the stakes
are equally hard, but I’ve never tested one.)

There appear to be a fair number of goldsmith scale workers who
really like them. Me? I think they’re pretty, but as more of a
silversmith, my main urge is to pet them, rather than hit them with
hammers. Too small for me.

FWIW,
Brian.


#4

I used the small Fretz stakes, along with the small hammers, to make
my silver teapot. I had some small tight areas the the stakes fit
perfectly and really helped things along. I highly recommend them.


#5

Hi,

I used the small Fretz stakes, along with the small hammers, to
make my silver teapot. I had some small tight areas the the stakes
fit perfectly and really helped things along. I highly recommend
them. 

I wondered because I own a full size complete set of silver smithing
stakes and have made hollow ware pieces in college. I know what type
of pressure on the hammer it takes to move metal. These stakes are
cute but I don’t think they would be practical. I just wondered if
someone actually had success with them.

If I were going to use a miniature stake, I would make a full size
stake with a small horn. But really, I can’t think of anything would
require that type of effort or time to put into production.

I’m glad Paleo, that you have made good use of them. It would seem
to be a very tiny market for tiny stakes.

Thanks for the reply.
Jim


#6

Hey Jim,

I have used the stakes with good success. However, you might enjoy
checking out the anti-clastic pliers that Jewelry Tools By Milland
offers. They are perfect for quickly creating anti-clastic forms for
earrings, bracelets, etc. I have them in 3 of the many available
sizes. I am very impressed with the ease of use and the results. No
affiliation, just an extremely happy customer.

Janet


#7
I wondered because I own a full size complete set of silver
smithing stakes and have made hollow ware pieces in college. I know
what type of pressure on the hammer it takes to move metal. These
stakes are cute but I don't think they would be practical. I just
wondered if someone actually had success with them. 

It depends on what sort of work you do. They’ve got a set of them
now at my alma mater although they didn’t when I was an actual
student (I’m a studio tech there now). I’ve made jewelry involving
small containers & raised forms & they’re perfect for that kind of
work. They’re very sturdy & can certainly handle the force of
raising. I wish I had a set in my own studio.

Sharon