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[UK] Supplier of chasing tools


#1

Hello all,

Just introducing myself - I’m new to this list, and a newbie to
chasing and repousse. I live in the United Kingdom.

Has anybody on this list had any dealings with a company called Shor
International?

I don’t know anything about them apart from what I’ve read on their
website.

I ordered some chasing tools from them over 2 months ago, and I’ve
so far emailed them and rung them (they’ve assured me that they’ll
be delivered ‘next week’) - but so far, no joy. I’m still waiting.

I’m just wondering what other people’s experiences have been, trying
to build up a picture, etc. If everybody assures me that they’re a
good supplier, then fine.

Can anybody on this list recommend a supplier of chasing tools in
the UK who won’t charge an arm and a leg? I found that HS Walsh will
sell chasing tools, but they sell them at a price several times the
cost of importing the same tools from the US.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Best regards,
Dave Willis


#2

Hi Dave,

I personally don’t know about Shor, so I can’t comment on them. But
I’d like to suggest you might want to start to learn to make some of
the basic tools for chasing and repousse. It’s not horrendously
difficult, although it will take you a bit of time and thought to
make really good ones. And, in the future, you’re going to find that
there is always ‘a tool’ you don’t have and desperately need.

I got the ‘chasing and repousse’ bug a few years ago and took some
lessons. I quickly learned that although I was intimidated by the
"mechanical properties of steel" and the thought of
tempering/annealing etc, I had to get over it - and quick! Although
I had started out making ‘mid-sized’ pieces, my brain was coming up
with designs for pieces that ranged from very small to much larger,
and I didn’t have the tools for that.

So with some help from the great articles, here on the website
archives, I got some very basic supplies (small grinder, propane
torch, files, sandpaper, etc.), found a reputable tool-quality steel
supplier and ordered some cold-rolled steel to practice ‘shaping.’ I
mangled a batch of steel until I figured out what I thought I should
be doing. Once I figured out what worked and didn’t work, I moved on
to ‘better’ steel for the tools I wanted to make.

The tools you’re going to spend money on that appear to be mass
produced really won’t help you turn out the types of pieces I would
imagine you want to do. At least that’s the experience I had.

Another suggestion would be that there are a few people (some I
believe are on this website) who do make tools. And I believe some
may be on this website. Those tools might be a bit more expensive,
but they’ll be well worth it in the long run.

Just my 2 cents worth.
Christian


#3
    Has anybody on this list had any dealings with a company
called Shor International? 

I have ordered from them multiple times and always had good
experiences and received my items promptly.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#4
    Can anybody on this list recommend a supplier of chasing tools
in the UK who won't charge an arm and a leg? I found that HS Walsh
will sell chasing tools, but they sell them at a price several
times the cost of importing the same tools from the US. 

Hi Dave, and welcome to Orchid. I’m sorry I don’t know a UK tool
supplier that would suit you, but I can offer a good alternative. In
Ganoksin’s Tips from the Jewelers Bench Archives, there is an
article by the amazingly erudite Charles Lewton-Brain that deals
with making your own chasing or forming tools. Have a look at:

For the price of some tool steel and torch/hammering time, you can
make not only what your typical suppliers offer, but your own custom
specialized chasing tools designed for your own individual style.
Cost is much less than an arm or leg, just be careful not to whack
your finger!

James in SoFl


#5

Hi Dave,

Just to annoy you I bought 250 chasing tools at a car boot sale
years ago for ten pence each!

To be more helpful I have found that even so I often have to make my
own for a particular job.

Square tool steel can be hard to find and expensive but round is
fairly cheap, it comes in 13" lengths which makes 3 tools, learning
hardening and tempering is quite easy.

Model Engineer Exhibitions are a good place to look for tool steel
or ‘Woodberry and Chilcott’ is another source.

You should be able to make them for about 50p each

Tim.


#6
        Has anybody on this list had any dealings with a company
called Shor International? 
   I have ordered from them multiple times and always had good
experiences and received my items promptly. 

And their web site is a gold mine of such as pretty
much the whole procedure needed for acid refining of gold or even
platinum, since they sell the chemicals needed as well as their
"simplicity" refining system. Also things like cupels and other
assaying tools which our usual tools suppliers may not always have
sitting around…

Peter


#7

Hi Dave,

I am a UK based goldsmith, I take it you have the latest Cookson
cataloque, they list many matting punches /chasing tools in their
tools section, if you want to buy them I think they cost about 18
UKP each though. I have been in the trade for over 40 years and do
a certain amount of my own chasing. In my time I have known a few
professional chasers and they all make most of their own tools, to
fit each job. I too make my own tools, even the texturing tools. I
buy 12" lengths of tool steel in round and square sections, from
model engineering exhibitions mostly. Then I anneal the cut lengths
and shape them while red hot and also cut texturing patterns on
them when needed, then I re harden and temper them before use. I am
still using tools I made while an apprentice some 35 years ago. Do
this and you will soon build up a collection of punches.

Good luck James


#8

Thanks to all who have replied so far - it’s reassuring to know that
Shor is a reputable supplier. Thank you for all the advice.

I’ve had a go at making some tools myself, but I wanted to buy a
professional ready-made set to get started off with. I managed to
find one or two established experts who supply tools, but I am
unable to afford their prices at the moment.

I scoured the Internet for about making my own tools,
and indeed, I read the article by Charles Lewton-Brain. I also
managed to buy one or two books about chasing and repousse (but the
books don’t discuss how the tools are made).

Yes, you’re right - the best way of getting some good tools is to
spend some time making them myself. The biggest problem with making
my own tools has been finding a supply of the right kind of metal. In
the UK, there are very few places where I can just walk in and
select a length of metal rod. I found a large DIY store near my
parents’ house and bought some steel rod there - but the same
facility is not available in any of the DIY stores near where I
live.

Also, none of this metal is tool steel - it’s all mild steel, which
is not ideal where durability is concerned.

Tim: thanks for the tip about Woodberry Chillcott - I’ve just found
their website!

Once I can get a supply of some good steel stock, then maybe I can
truly get started.


#9

Hi, I haven’t used Shor in a few years, but when I worked at a gold
jewelry factory some years ago, Shor was one of our regular
suppliers. So, I think they may be slow, but they are honest.

Cindy
www.cynthiaeid.com


#10
I ordered some chasing tools from them over 2 months ago, and I've
so far emailed them and rung them (they've assured me that they'll
be delivered 'next week') - but so far, no joy. I'm still waiting. 

Hello Dave,

I’m in Paris so my situation is pretty similar in terms of shipping
times for stuff from the US. My experience has been that if stuff is
shipped Parcel Post or whatever --the bulk post, slow boat option–
then it always takes longer than you think it will. 4 weeks if you
are lucky. 8 weeks is normal. 10 or even 12 weeks if the postal gods
are on vacation/strike/lunch/etc. Parcel Post for overseas shipping
means “hurry up and wait”

FWIW, when I was back in North America I ordered from Shor
(shorinternational.com) several times and always received the goods I
expected in a reasonable time.

As to chasing tools in the UK I couldn’t say but I’ve recently
ordered a good set from ChrisWilsonStudios.com in the US and am quite
happy with them. I think I only paid about US$10 for shipping and I
had them in about a week.

You’ll notice that a number of people have suggested making your own
chasing tools which, at the right time and in the right place, is a
great idea. I’ve often made one-off tools for specific jobs. However,
when it comes to a set of tools like we’re talking about here I’ve
found it much more practical to order a set and then modify them as
you need to. Besides, almost any tools you order are going to need
some DIY finishing anyway so it’s not too far a stretch to mod them
to your particular needs while you’re at it.

My experience has been that unless you’re set up to go the full DIY
route --bench grinder, a makeshift forge, large anvil, etc-- it’s
often a lot more hassle than you’d expect, especially if you’re
planning on making a wide range of tools, and double-especially if
you’ve never done this kind of thing before.

Consider, for instance, that you’ve need to find good bar stock,
probably several different sizes, you’ll need to choose air-, oil-,
or water-quench, and for each of those you’ll need to learn how to
heat treat it. And so on. Sure, it’s not rocket science but if you
start down that path, particularly if it’s your first time, you’ll be
away from your jewelry making or whatever work it is that you do for
a little while, at the very least. First-time projects like this can
suck up an enormous amount of time … but once you’ve done it then
you know it and are equipped for it so it’s generally a cake-walk the
second time around.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#11
    Yes, you're right - the best way of getting some good tools is
to spend some time making them myself. The biggest problem with
making my own tools has been finding a supply of the right kind of
metal. In the UK, there are very few places where I can just walk
in and select a length of metal rod. I found a large DIY store near
my parents' house and bought some steel rod there - but the same
facility is not available in any of the DIY stores near where I
live. 

You won’t find much of use in a DIY store. It is best to go to an
engineering suppliers – Most large towns will have them – try your
local yellow pagers

    Also, none of this metal is tool steel - it's all mild steel,
which is not ideal where durability is concerned. 

You should be looking for silver steel

        Tim: thanks for the tip about - I've just found their
website! 

You can all look at http://www.chronos.ltd.uk

Bill Bedford


#12

Hi Trevor,

That’s a very good reply!

At the moment, I don’t have access to all the right tools, hence the
main reason for wanting to buy a ‘starter’ set to get me started
off. In the fullness of time, I will accumulate all the right tools
and will be able to make some good quality punches myself.

I’ll try Chris Wilson studios - their prices are very reasonable,
and they have basic shapes that I can modify.

Thanks very much,
Dave Willis


#13

Hi all. I have made over 400 hand stamps and chasing tools for my
own work. I highly recommend using commercially available center
punches or nail sets for this purpose. The metal is good, the
striking surface is built in, and the knurling around the shaft makes
it much easier to hold and control the tool. Since the working tips
are tapered, you can cut them at various points to create different
diameter blank surfaces as starting points for your designs.

I resisted making my own tools for a long time, but then I discovered
how doable it is and how much fun it can be creating any crazy design
I can think of. So don’t be afraid of making you own!

Allan Mason


#14

Hi Dave,

If you want chasing tools, buy some steel bar or rod and make your
own. Buying them is very expensive. You could try Cooksons in Hatton
Garden for a starter kit of tools. I noticed it in their latest
catalogue.

Best wishes
Richard (UK)


#15

Dave,

Getting the right kind of steel is not really too difficult. If you
want to select the steel yourself you will find that most model
shops, particularly those supplying model railway equipment or model
boats, will stock round silver steel in a variety of sizes. The kind
of steel stocked by the DIY ‘big sheds’ is only mild steel and will
not harden. Another alternative which may prove less expensive would
be to buy on the internet from

http://www.toolsteels.co.uk

This company is used to supplying the model engineering fraternity
and so will supply small amounts. Check out their Silver Steel and
Ground flat stock lists and you will find round or square steel
which will suit your needs.

You can also buy the same kind of stuff from the model engineering
suppliers such as Blackgates Engineering or Reeves but I think you
will find their prices a little higher.

Best Wishes
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#16
   I have made over 400 hand stamps and chasing tools for my own
work. I highly recommend using commercially available center
punches or nail sets for this purpose. The metal is good, the
striking surface is built in, and the knurling around the shaft
makes it much easier to hold and control the tool. Since the
working tips are tapered, you can cut them at various points to
create different diameter blank surfaces as starting points for
your designs. 

Good suggestion.

A little while ago, I bought a set of parallel punches and smoothed
off the ends to get a nice surface.

I might buy a few more sets (they’re cheap enough, and they’re made
of the right steel), and do a few ‘adaptations’.

Thanks,
Dave Willis