Half-Dome construction

I’m currently struggling with my dapping block and punches - unable
to make a 1 inch round half dome without it being marred by the
block. Everything is fine when I put the disk into the first hole and
punch it into the depression. Then as the dome is being formed and I
move it to the next depression it is hitting the edge of the hole no
matter how I try to position it. All this even after I just tried out
my new Italian set. There must be an easier way…Can someone
please tell me?

Thankyou, Peter Slone

Without benefit of the experience, this is what I’ve heard: To make
true 1/2 domes, the disc must be stretched in the dapping: that is,
the blank gets thinner and “curves up” as you hammer it into the
depression. This may get you into the next-sized depression. I knew a
Norwegian student whose class was given this task: make 2 half-domes,
solder them into a sphere. The results were tested by rolling the
speres down an incline. The less perfect, the more wobble. Brian

You might try lining the hole with a a few (2-3) thicknesses of
paper towels - cut them to a slightly larger diameter first. This
seems to absorb some of the impact. Also, try to hit the metal just
one time. Good luck,

Rob Ringold


I think it’s necessary to add a radius to, and polish the edge of the
depression. Don’t be concerned about not having a full hemisphere
depression. You can still form more than a hemisphere in a
depression of less than a hemisphere.


Hello Peter,

When forming your 1" hemispheres you have a few choices.

  1. Get a larger dapping block with holes that are graduated in
    smaller increments. That is If one exists.

  2. Tip the partially domed disk at an angle in the dapping block and
    tap it with the punch then rotate and tap it again. By doing the job
    slowly and carefully, It will work.

  3. If you will be mass producing them. Bonnie Doon Engineering
    http://www.bonnydoonengineering.com has a hemisphere forming dap and
    die set for use in their hydraulic presses. I have not used them, But
    it looks like it would work well.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen
Web-Site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft

I'm currently struggling with my dapping block and punches - unable to make a 1 inch  round half dome without it being marred by the

I make lots of domes the easy way. I went to a local woodworking
store (crafts stores also sometimes work) and bought wooden balls.
They come in all sizes. Then I place the disc over the right size
dapping depression (for the final size; with this method you don’t
need to dap down size by size), and hit it a great wallop with a
really heavy hammer. Once punch usually gives me a perfect dome.

Peter, I hope this helps. I had the same problems for a long time.
Then I was shown how to 1. cut the dome shallow enough so that it
doesn’t overhand and get dapped over the edge of the rim; and 2. also
to move the dome around as you’re dapping it so that you’re never
dapping the dome into the rim. Use little taps instead of big killer
ones, and move the dome every couple of taps to reposition it. It
took me a while to get the “touch” for doing this. I hope this helps
a little bit, and good luck!

-Madeline at the Arts Umbrella Studio of Fine Arts

I really don’t follow what you are doing with the wooden balls. How
do they help in the construction of a half-dome? Thanks for your input. RW


Frei and Borel has a set of Swiss made wooden daps that work
marvelously. They are a bit pricey though.


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
N.R.A. Endowment
"No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe…while our legislature is in session."
Benjamin Franklin

Another trick I ran across in some of the old Orchid posts is to make
some improvements to your metal dapping block. The rim where the
depression meets the block face can be pretty sharp, and marks your
metal if the metal overflows the rim. It was suggested to round that
edge just a bit. I got out the sandpaper disks and went to it. It
works very well, and I’ve since done it to all of my forming blocks
made out of metal. K.P. in WY

Hi, Rosenthal in Miami have a Wooden Dapping Block with 2 hard wood
punches for under ten dollars. I have one and I think it works well
for all of my needs. The block has 6 sides all different indentations.
Susan Chastain

I really don't follow what you are doing with the wooden balls. 
How do they help in the construction of a half-dome? 

I use them like a dapping punch–using the size and shape ball
corresponding to the dome I want to create, I punch the pall into the
next size up dapping depression (which sometimes I have to custom
make).With well annealed metal, it acts like a positive and negative

Do you put your metal between the dapping depression and the wooden
ball and then hammer?

==Pisces @mbm

Just an aside… These wooden balls are also sold in larger sizes as
doll heads. I bought a couple last year that were half-drilled.
These balls made a great support for domed, post earrings. I could
hold the piece steady for polishing, drilling, etc.

Allyson Morrison (My husband finally found the hammers, anvil and
stakes I stored in the bedroom of our apartment. He bought me a house
with a basement and told the movers to take all the jewelry equipment
down there. Wait until he finds the rolling mill he “bought” me for
Mother’s Day! It’s disquised under a bread machine box…)

Is therem a number for Rosenthal in Miami re the dapping block and
can it handle old silver dimes to make beads? Thanx Leon

Hi Leon, Rosenthal in Miami is US & VI 800-327-5784 Florida
800-432-3645 Worldwide: 305-371-5661 Fax Worldwide 305-577-82275
USA FAX 888 Rosenthal Computer www.rjsintl.com EMail / info@rjsintl.com