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Taps and dies for jewelry

Any recommendations for a quality tap and die set for use with gold and silver jewelry? Something small enough for earring threaded posts and body jewelry as well as things that may be a bit larger?

Any tips for getting perfect results would be appreciated.

I have an inexpensive set and have done it several times, but never have been happy with my results.

The last time we bought a tap and dies set I bought the Colibri brand. it
comes with extra taps for when I inevitably break one:-)
I like to make eye glasses so I use taps and dies more than most jewelry
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
-Jo Haemer
M1 to M2.5 taps & dies

Reactive Metals has a nice set that works well for me.

Note that I don’t work with gold, so my experience is with silver (and base metals, mostly bronze).

Reactive Metals sells a nice set.

I have that Colibri set. I just never get the same super crisp threads that I see on manufactured threaded jewelry. I’m wondering how to make them as perfect as possible. Wondering if there are tricks I’m unaware of for threading small gold or silver components?

There are 3 companies listed for Reactive Metals. None of which look like tool & die suppliers. Do you have a web site or phone number?

Hi Mark,
The reason you wont nor will I ! get the same results as production jewellery makers do, is there are 2 ways of making threads whether internal or external.
you can 1. use like i do a tap and die set of which ive many as I need to cut and or restore mostly whitworth up to 1.5in dia, on the old machinery i restore then use.
and 2. , threads are otherwise rolled between flat dies. a far superior way, but only possible in an idustrial setting where the threads in qestion are needed by the hundreds and thousands.
so dont dispair, use candle or bees wax as the lubricant.
it does help. re holding very small taps dont use a t bar tap holder there too heavy. for the small ie 1mm or even less hold the tap in a pin vice. thats a very small chuck on a say 1/4in dia knurled hollow handle. that way you wont over weight the tap ,which is the main reason traps get broken.
try it. Its an old engineers/ watch makers trick.
As for dies likewise a different holder is required. the die holder is attached to a round handle like a file handle so much easier to use. tho youll have to make it up yourself.
invariably i spend almost as much time making and modifying tooling as using thev stuff.par for the course.
As for disk cutters, im cutting up to 1/8 trhick or more sometimes so use a fly press and proper blanking dies. Make all my own. for that youll need a proper engineering workshop to support you actual jewelley production.
Just had some bonded dairy milk filter fabric to make up the filter bag on my polisher.
get out thecsewing machine later.
never a dull moment here.

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It’s this one:

They specialize in niobium and titanium, but have a great selection of micro bolts as well, including a tap and die set for those small sizes.

Thanks Ted.
That was very helpful.


Thanks for all this great information. Do you have a picture of the die handle you described? I can’t quite get a mental image of it. The file handles that I’m used to are the ones from Rio and Otto Frei, mostly the blue plastic ones.

I don’t have a wide-ranging familiarity with tools.


Hi Trish,
dont have any pics, and im too computer illiterate to know how to put pics onto this updated forum. so ill try and describe it.
the normal die dolder is a collar? with 2 handles sticking out at 180 deg side ways. The die is held in this with a tiny screw.
you need the collar just the same to hold the die BUT the way its held is in line with the threads ie long wise. This is just a short tube like a box spanner or tube spanner. this then is connected to any , in my case wooden file handle, which is a round piece of wood with a hole one end for the file tang to go into.
this is something Brian should offer!! our inhouse comercial tool producer
Youll need to go to an engineering workshop with a print out of this and ask them to make it up for you.
Its not normally commercially made. much to my surprise.
some of my dies like the 1.6mm for threading titanium body piecing jewellery wire has an outside dia of only 3/4 in .so the handle is likewise 3/4 in dia.
and most importantly very light. Did you understand also the pin chuck for holding the taps?
hope this helps.

Hi, Ted,

Thanks so much for that information. I appreciate you taking the time to write it out.

The tap and die set from Reactive Metals does use a pin vise set up, for both the taps and the dies. There’s a set screw to hold the different taps and dies in place.

It sounds a bit like what you are describing, but I may not have understood the handle for the die part.

RM’s set works well as long as I can rein in my impatience. I use a water-based tap fluid (it’s green but I don’t have the name handy) in one of those needle dispenser bottles.

I do know what you mean about the T-bar – I have one that I had purchased earlier, but it’s a contraption I’m not fond of.

Let me see if I can get a picture of the Reactive Metals set for you to see if the handle for the dies is similar to what you’re describing. (It may take a few days…)

Thanks again for the info. Very useful!


Possibly AnchorLube?

[StudioTrish] StudioTrish
August 5

Hi, Ted,

Hi, Elliot,

I’m in my studio so I can look.

It’s CRC TrueTap Aqua Cutting Fluid. It’s more watery than viscous, but works ok for me. (I also have TapMagic, but haven’t tried it yet.)


Hi all,
Here is the direct link to the page with our Tap & Die Kit: We also carry the Anchor Lube for tough to machine metals like the titanium. Here’s that link also:

Enjoy the process!

Reactive Metals Studio Inc

To save time, I create this storage for my tap & die set from Reactive Metals. The charts is pasted on the inside of the lid.

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