Do keep in mind that Paisin wrote that nearly 40 years ago. Things
have progressed since then, but the basics of the process are still
About the pressure gauge: no, you won’t find a stock jack that has
one. You have to either modify one yourself, or buy one from Bonny
Doon. So far as I know, Phil is the only one selling 20T jacks with
gauges installed. Given as I just got a new jack from him, to
replace the old (dying) original jack in my BD press, I’m quite
pleased with the current jacks. The jack bodies themselves are made
in Japan, and the main parts are drop forged, not cast, which makes
them much tougher.
You can modify your own, if you know for sure where to drill, and
are feeling comfortable taking the jack apart.
It’s not brain surgery, but it is messy.
The reason you want a gauge is for repeatability. Matters more for
production than anything else. That way you can repeat a dieform
pretty much identically, even years later, without relying on the
’feel’ of the jack, and remembering what that was. If you write down
that ‘form X’ in piece “Q” took x number of PSI with annealed 24Ga,
then you can do it again whenever you want. (Or, better, whenever
someone else wants.)
I lived for a fair time with a jack without a gauge, but now that
I’ve got one, I really wouldn’t want to go back.