The punches

The matching dapping block

In today’s segment of my Talkin’ Tools post, I wanted to discuss my Pepe Dapping Block and matching punches.   These come in a variety of sizes and options.  If you are considering adding these to your tool kit, I would recommend buying them as a set.  I didn’t do this and while I believe I ended up with a slightly greater selection of sizes, the set is nice and seems to be a bit more cost effective.  The choice is yours and I provide links to a couple of suppliers at the bottom of this post so you can do some price comparisons.  As I always say, Google is your friend when hunting for bargains on the web, so feel free to do some additional searches if you want to purchase a a set.

The dapping block has a series of what I call reversed domes; I think another term used to describe them is ‘hemisphere’.  Each one of these semicircles has a corresponding punch that matches its size as I am showing in the picture below.

The correctly sized punch and hemisphere in the block are used in conjunction with each other to shape a piece of metal into a dome.  I’ve used this for shaping metal pendants and earrings.  Just remember that if you are making earrings, dome the metal blanks in the same time period, because the way you hammer can differ from day to day, hour to hour.  Shaping and texturing should be done at the same time when your body is in a given ‘zone’.  At least I have found that to be the case for me.

For the purposes of this post, I am showing an unfinished brass disc, because I didn’t have any completed and ready for this stage of the demonstration.  Normally, I would sand the metal’s surface in preparation for the texture I intended to apply.  Remember, you have to apply your texture first before shaping the disc in the dapping block.  Attempting to add texture once the metal has been shaped, well, that really doesn’t work well.  Do things in the correct order.  Think what step needs to happen first, because it makes your work so much simpler.

Place the disc in the block, finished/textured side down. Normally, the finished side is what you what to dome, however there may be time when you want to reverse things and mix it up a bit.  For the sake of this demonstration, I am placing the disc, finished side down.  From this view, the finished side isn’t seen, because it is face down.  The side facing you in this picture is the back of the metal blank.

You want to take the correct size punch, place it on top of the metal blank positioned in the corresponding hole in the block.  Ideally, you want the punch to be perpendicular to the semicircle in the block.  I like to use my chasing hammer, when shaping blanks in the block.  Several firm, strong hammer strikes on top of the punch end and your disc will be domed.  Practice, to see how your hammer strokes work in forming the metal to the desired shape in the punch.


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I formed the reticulated silver dome for this pendent using the Dapping block and punch.  I think a domed shape adds a nice touch to art jewelry.

As most of you know from my previous posts, I am a fan of Pepe tools.  They are strong, durable and a good value for the price.  If you would like a set like mine, I purchased them from Indian Jewelry Supply.  The 30 pc Dapping Punch set is Item Number 212-DPC30  The Cube block is Item Number 212-DBD  If you just want a nice matching set with a few less punches, they offer a set of 17, item number 212-DPS158  I believe OttoFrei is offering the 17 piece set too, click this link to their site for the product.  To receive an additional 5% off the purchase price, one of OttoFrei’s discount codes for the month of January is FRESH.

I find having the ability form metal with the dapping punches and block to be another way to add interest to your designs.  I’ve been meaning to try the punches as another way of adding textures to my work too.  Sometimes there can be more than one use for a tool.  I hope you enjoyed this brief overview.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

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