I have what sounds like the same box of punches that Jo and Tim
have. I got mine from Gesswein, probably 15 years ago. When it come
to setting 6mm and smaller round bezels and tubes, it’s the only way
to go. Cut the seat, level the stone, line up the tube and punch,
smack it and your done. Like Tim and Jo, I don’t use the wooden
handle (I have no idea how you would), just a single, firm whack with
a chasing hammer. I don’t know that I’d call it my second favorite
tool, but I do have a brother that fits that description.
One thing I have done with mine (the punches, not my brother) is to
polish the inside so it leaves a polished edge on the bezel. I use
white and brown bullets followed by green ones. It takes a while to
do, so I polished each one only as I needed to use it. Two or three
are still not polished.
One little tip though - make sure the punch you use is at least one
size larger than the one that fits the outside diameter of the bezel
the closest. The edges of the punch are thinner so they’re weaker and
if a punch is used that just barely clears the outside, it’s pretty
easy to break or chip the edge of the punch. The other thing that can
happen is that if you don’t get it perfectly aligned, it can leave a
cut or mark on the edge of the bezel, essentially ruining it. A
larger punch reduces the chances of damaging either the punch or the
bezel from a slight misalignment. Cutting a stone out of a punch set
bezel can take some serious time.
The set seemed kind of pricey when I bought it, but the time it has
saved in setting tubes and bezels has more than paid for it. Never
thought about making my own as Hans has done, but it sounds like a
great way to replace the one broken one I have. You can’t get
replacement punches, they only sell the full set.