Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Steel pattern plates


I see in your learning center that one should not use steel in a rolling mill, yet Bonny Doon pattern plates are made of steel. I ask because I have made some pattern plates myself with tool steel (with no obvious down side), and have found company that will make plates for me from 304 full hard stainless steel. Could I use the commercial 304 steel plates?


I have patterns on both sides if my stainless so I put a sheet of silver
on each side. Vince


You should not try to roll out steel–i.e., make it thinner–in a jewelry workshop rolling mill. The rollers are not designed to take the kind of pressure necessary to cold roll steel. However, if your are using steel texture plates, then the pressure is being applied through the texture plates to the silver or brass or copper or whatever, and the rollers will only apply the same pressure as if you were rolling the non-ferrous metal without the steel plate backing.

However, if the backs of the texture plates are not mirror polished, any marks, scars or imperfections may mar the surface of the rollers, so you should put something soft, like brass, between the rollers and the texture plates.


I’ve also done this with stainless solder paste stencils, I sandwich them between copper or brass sheets.


I have patterns on both sides if my stainless so I put a sheet of silver
on each side. Vince


Hi Rosemary,
This thread is the follow on from using brass plates for embossing silver sheet in a rolling mill.
Im going to rant on here as i dispair on a weekly basis with the bench jewellers on this forum who dont do their research before asking for a solution to their questions.
Lots reply with the best intentions but no real technical guidance.
in your case please ask your rolling mill maker for the Rockwell hardness of the rolls. what ever it is then ask your steel plate maker to confirm the harness of their finished product. If the roll hardness is 25% more than the plates you will be ok. Obviously in writing.
If not then its too risky for your mill. what make is it?
The original question was asking whether red brass would do. well thats about as soft a brass you can get! before your into pure copper.
Stone scissors paper? Some folk just dont get it that this game is technical to begin with, then application,assuming youve any talent for design. Were all very lucky were not rennaisance goldsmiths with alchemy as your guide.
no wonder the current “Joke” thread is so true.
theres are so many options for making things out there for people to wear it beats me why so many are finding it hard to survive.
working on the tooling for my 50th anniversary product. Prototype made and design finalised
1st production run of 10, then followed by a run of 50.



Thank you thank you! Just the level of detail I was hoping for.

I have a Durston combination rolling mill (British!). I have used Bonny
Doone pattern plates which are promoted as being safe for use in this
mill, but I have not seen a hardness gauge for either the mill or the
plates. I will ask Rio grande jewelry supply (from which I purchased
both) about hardness but will frankly be surprised if they can tell me.
I’ll probably need to reach out to Durston directly for that
I took a chance making some plates on my own using “tool steel.” But
you’re absolutely right, I didn’t do my homework re: hardness of the
steel. No obvious damage but the plates themselves are not as cleanly
crafted as I’d like.
Two followup questions, if you don’t mind. What about the suggestions
to simply sandwich or layer the plate with a thin piece of copper
between it and the rollers? And, second, what about using nickel
silver? I suppose the answer to the latter is to determine hardness the
of this material.
I’m new to this forum so I’ll have to look into the joke thread!

Again, thank you for a such a thorough and thoughtful reply.


Ps do you have a web site?


Re your questions,
Keep it simple. theres no need for any other metal between the rolls and your tool steel. tool steel? thats like saying cheese. there are hundreds of both. you need to get one thats has a hardness after hardening as i advised you, to be 25% softer than your rolls.
Durston mills are good, there currently in production and have the tech details you need.
What is important is to ask for the design detail on the tool steel to be as deep as possible. Run through your mill, anneal and repeat. that way you will get some good relief to your designs. run trials with fully annealed copper first to get your tech right. then hit the expensive stuff!!.
currently dont have a web sire. I dont sell via the web, nor am likely to. Have a mailing list for invitations to a private view 2 times a year. work on a private one to one basis.
all my work is wrought, no casting or fabrication. I like the simplicity of moving metal.
currently as mentioned its a minting project of a sterling and bronze buckle.
there are a total of 22 individual parts to it, that includes 4 sterling rivets tho!.and probably around 100 individual tasks to make them all.
Ted in Dorset
UK. LiKe Durston.! I have one too.


Hello again,

I have finally learned that 304 steel (which is what the manufacturer
I’ve communicated with would use for pattern plates) is Rockwell C35/40.
And Matthew Durston said the Durston rollers are approximately 64 RC.
So the 304 steel should be fine in the Durston mill, right?