First, I’d like to say many thanks for all the help with how to
twist heavy gauge wires together. I’m almost embarrassed I asked
because it was incredibly easy while using a sturdy bench vise and a
big Vise Grip wrench in the hands. As long as one is strong enough to
pull the wires straight while twisting, it comes out perfect every
time. This is not a problem since I run marathons and lift weights
My new question is about texture and pattern transfer plates like
you can buy from Bonny Doon. I will no doubt be buying a few patterns
to use from Bonny Doon but because I want to see other possible
patterns you can buy, who else makes decent ones?
I would be using them in my Durston rolling mill. So I would need
ones designed for rolling mill use and not just hydraulic presses.
I would particularly like to know if there are any with traditional
We do make custom pattern plates, all you need to do is supply the
That said, you can also make your own pattern plates by engraving
into steel or brass plates. I’ve been making my own pattern plates
since 1974 and now produce the Bonny Doon pattern plates. I’m
currently making several new plates which have a much smaller design
scale using thinner lines and intended for use on smaller scale
The use of pattern plates goes back at least 200 years. I have
several pattern plates that were made between 1870-1890. They are
quite large and were used to print the design on platters and calling
Because the plates are intended to roll directly on your mill
rollers you must use a steel that is clean and free of mill scale or
any imperfections that might impinge into your rollers. You can find
surface ground steel at McMaster. Steel will outlast brass, but brass
is much easier to cut, so ask yourself how many prints you intend to
get from each plate and then select your plate material accordingly.
The key to getting a good print is to fully anneal your metal, and
then experiment with the amount of reduction needed in the rolling
mill. The depth of your engraving and thickness of your metal will
affect your final print.
If you chose to have plates made for you with your artwork just call
Rio and ask for Sessin in tech support.
As far as I know, Bonny Doon is the only one making pattern plates
as such. (Disclosure: Phil’s a friend. That said, I’d be saying the
same things regardless.) The long ones are specifically intended to
be run through a rolling mill. I’ve got several of them, and have
used them with students. They get a little bent eventually, but they
seem to hold up reasonably well. I did have some mystery student
manage to impress something into one end of one of them, but I
have no idea how, or what it was that did that. As far as normal
copper/brass/silver, they seem pretty bulletproof.
They’re deliberately a little on the soft side, with the backside
smooth and clean, so as not to risk hurting the mill’s rollers.