What I need is about making the stamp and die sets
like were used for making conchos, buttons, buckles and such.
Well I haft to confess that by day I run a manufacturing division
that has been making native american conchos,buckle,buttons and etc.
think you are thinking down the right path but we don’t use lead for
any forming or stamping.Every thing used would be 01 tool steel for
us.The products we make have been around longer than I have been
alive(30 years).I have had a great opportunity to work with these
antiques for the last few years and it is like I am carrying on a
So each item is made a different way.
The conchos are blanked and then we use a drop hammer,or forging
hammer to make the item.The die is a female side with the design and
is the shape of the actual product while the male side only is a
smooth domed part with no detail.
The buttons are made all at once in a 45 ton press.The item is
stamped using a design stamp on the bottom and a flat punch on
top.They then progess to a part that blank the round shape and forms
the dome all in one strike.The buckles are formed in the 45 ton press
also in one step.It blanks the outer shape and makes the dome.They
would be smooth with no design and then the smith would solder or
hand stamp designs on this piece as well as attaching buckle backs
and pegs to it,etc.
There is a lot of books out there for tool and die making,as well as
forging.Also there is a book about hydralic forming and such from rio
grande.The bonny doon people are also a wealth of info on press work
and offer a great product.I would recommend you extend your education
You could also just have some tool and die shop make a die set for
you based on your designs.They can be expensive but if you have the
demand then it would be negligible.
On a side note a few smaller sterling items can be cast but cleanup
and tumbling add to the labor as well as the degree of detail that
would be sometimes inconsistent producing more scrap than a die
I hope this will help point you in the right direction and good luck
on your journey!