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Tube setting tools

I need to buy a set of tube setting tools. Can anyone make a recommendation? All the usual places seem to sell the same or similar tool sets. I kind of like the Italian set at Otto Frei. Thanks…Rob

After a lot of research and reading of reviews, buying a set of punches that I thought would work only to return them for poor quality, I am back were I was when I first posted this question. I am still open to any advice. What I have learned is that, regardless of who is selling them, these punches will have quality issues in that they will have to be polished a bit on the inside of the cone, otherwise the damage will just be transferred to the bezel. I have been making my own from brass stock, but they take along time and I need more sizes now. Any suggestions are appreciated…Rob

There is a small company that makes really nice setting punches. Let me think…(dig around in my email)

Flow studio supply on Etsy.

I received one of their punches in a subscription box (which sadly has stopped) and it is really really nice.
I have a full set from one of the retailers on line too but it’s not great quality.
Hope that helps.

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Thanks, will take a look…Rob

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HI Rob and all,
I’m interested in this, because this is one stone setting tool I don’t have and might want. I checked Amazon and Ebay and Rio…the cheap sets appear to all be similar and have 18 punches for about 1.5mm up to 7.75mm. It does look like these would need to be polished before you could actually use them for burnishing the setting…you could close it up, but it would need finishing. These are selling for $35 up to $75 and look all the same. The Flow Studio set is $85, appears to be well finished and gives you five punches for 2mm thru 7.5mm. Rio has the cheap sets and also some expensive sets for about $125…not sure if these are better finished or not. Their top offering is $225 for the Master Stone Setting System and they have a video of that in use. It has 24 punches for 1.5 to 20mm stones and appears to be well finished.

So I suppose you pay your money and take your choice. Being a retiree hobbiest on a budget, I would probably get the cheap set and spend some time polishing their interiors…the smaller ones you could probably polish with silicon polishing points and the larger ones with some graded sandpapers put over a suitable sized dapping punch. I have a set of Harbor Freight dapping punches and I had to polish all of those when I got them…of course, if I were a big time silversmith like Rob, I would probably just buy the top priced set from Rio and use my two hours of polishing time to make a silver bracelet for the difference. I’ve got more time than money, but maybe you’ve got more money than time…interested in what you decide, Rob. Oh, my one other thought is to have a few made locally, if five punches will work as well as 18. A machine shop could probably make up some of these in a V cross-section easily and maybe they could figure a way to make hemispheric ones, too…my local show could probably turn out three of four of these in an hour for less than $100. Yet another option would be using concave faceting dops, which are available in sets, too, but are just as expensive as the setting punches. As a faceter, I have some of these around that I might be able to use… -royjohn

Royjohn…Thanks for the information, it confirms most of what I have found in my research. I like good tools and am willing to pay for them if they will do what I ask them to do. At the same time I don’t like wasting money any more than the rest of us. I also like making my own tools and have made several very nice punches out of brass stock on my small lathe. They just take a lot of time. One of my goals this year (carried over from last year) is to add tube set faceted stones to some of my work, so I started looking for a set of punches. The rest of the story is outlined above. I found that Stuller sells single punches. If they are any good, I will buy just what I need now adding more as the need comes along. Thanks again for the help…Rob

Looked them up and talked with them. I ordered a set and we will see how they are. Thanks for the tip…Rob