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Mini-spoons for Norwegian solje pin


A thought wandered through me earlier today about how, even earlier,
I had posted something about duct tape residue on sheet metal. The
thought went along the lines of " that seems just a bit lame, and
vaguely desperate for social cyber-in teraction, maybe you should
post about something that would actually interest some of these
people". It continued - "you’ve been doing very good the se last few
months, staying away from the time-sucking discussion boards and
sites that aren’t work-related, but if you need to write, write
about work, just like the sticky note on your monitor says ; the one
that says “write about work, not BS”.

Having something that might actually interest some of these/those
/youz people, something I haven’t already written about, something
I’m not putting off , that’s a big part of the equation, and
fortunately, one such project came up recently, and I took some
pictures and paid attention just for this occasion.

This was a job sent to me by Jeanne Stewart ; for making tiny,
spoon-like… spoon thingies, teardrop -shaped, about 5/16" by
3/16", domed about 1/8" deep, with a hole at the top of the tear.
Okay, done things just like this a hundred times, no problemo ; only
never as =small, so potentially muchos problemos. Not a billion
spoons, which would call for expensive tool & die work, so I might
the right person for the job ; more than a few though, so I had to
make a fairly efficient, quick setup.

Being the right person for the job, as it turned out, I first got a
sample spoon and flattened it out to use as a pattern for making a
pancake die with five tiny spoon cutters on it. Very small, and all
needing to fit into the dapping set I had planned, and of course,
all needing to be the same, the sawing on this particular die had to
be my best, which, in fact, it turned out to be. Nice… good

Next was the punch half of the dap set ; again, not unfamiliar
ground, but tricky because of it’s size. I started by sawing out a
teardrop-shaped plug from a 1/8" thick piece of steel, and (hard
silver ) soldering that to a handle, which was the long arm of an
old hex key, chosen fr it’s strength and stiffness. The hex shape
left the tip of the teardrop unsupported, so I easy- soldered an
angled brace going from the teardrop tip up to the side of the punch
handle. Also nice… things are going well.

Next phase was scrounging a nice little 1/2" thick block of white
nylon, carving out a rough teardrop in it with the old flexshaft and
round bur. Then I used my old method of heating the punch end and
pushing it into the nylon block to finalize the shape of the
depression. This takes a few steps of gradual melting and cleaning
away the excess melted material that gets pushed up around the
depression, and a little practice to get the right amount of heat.
This step requires good ventilation, btw. I had planned on making a
fence to locate the parts exactly over the depression for doming,
but after trying it out without a fence, and it working fine, it
ended up fence-free. Very nice… peachy-keen, swell, and nifty
now. Downright spiffy.

On to the final frontier - punching holes in a pile a of teens
y-tiny little spoon thingies not really even big enough to get a hold
on with fingertips. Deal with handling later, need a small hole punch
setup now. have a DiAcro #2 4-ton manual press that I’ve rigged some
hole punches up with, some real-live punch and die sets and some
funky, homemade ones made from drill bits (the punch part) and thin
plates of tool steel (the die parts).

This is pretty straightforward, using a stack of three plates. I
made the actual die plate from 1/16" steel and hardened it (after
drilling a 1.15 mm hole in it, of course !). This is the plate that
the punch pushes through to do the actual cutting of the hole. The
punch itself is simply the stem of a 1.15 mm drill bit. This is an
automatically perfectly- fitting hole punch set : a plate with a hole
drilled in it, and the same -sized drill bit. The drill drills a
minimally larger hole, just enough for clearance ; the trick is to
have the press that facilitates perfect alignment of punch and die,
and also perfectly aligning the three plates and their functioning
areas in the press.

The die plate is the bottom plate of the stack, and on top of it
goes the part-alignment plate, which is for locating the tip of the
spoon underneath the punch/bit. This guide plate is made from 1/32"
steel, not needing to be thick, as the little spoonies are only made
of 30 g, sterling sheet. Top plate of the stack is the stripper
plate, which functions to hold the part down as the punch/bit is
raised after each punch. It’s a little complicated to build all this
exactly, and harder to explain han I’m going to bother (you) with,
but also, in some ways, not really hard, just a bit tricky because
of the precision required; a tousandth or two of and inch matters.
Basically, I make all the plates with their fun ctioning areas, get
them all lined up exactly with matched sets of holes drilled and
pins holding them in place, and then put that stack in the press,
screwing the stack in loosely. Then the punch/bit is lowered through
the die plate hole, and with this critical alignment in place, the
whole affair is tightened up and ready to rock. Extra-super-duper
spiffy, mucho badass now, ladies and gentlemen.

Then came the actual making of the little spoonies, all 400 or so= of
them. Five at a time blanking went pretty fast, though I did take a
lot of time to load the strips in so that tab cleanup would be
minimal. I ended up doing that and the hole punching all at the hole
punching press in a combined step of grabbing a spoon and placing it
in the jaws of a smooth duckbill pliers, filing the tab area
quickly, and then adjusting the spoon’s position in the pliers
correctly for the hole punching, and then punching the hole. Doming
these went smoothly and fairly quickly too; abit of skilled dapping
and the parts are nicely shaped and loose enough in the nylon block
to nudge out with a fingernail.

Photos are here in
le Blog

Dar Shelton


Dar, “You done good!”