Chasing Punches

I had planned to visit the Future Makers exhibition in the Wandesford Quay gallery yesterday and tell you all about it but when I got there I discovered they only open from Wednesday to Saturday.

Anyway instead of going to the exhibition I came back to the workshop and began adapting some tools.

I got some punches in Aldi last month and they’ve been sitting patiently at the back of the bench waiting for me to customize them. I plan to adapt them into different shaped chasing punches. Chasing punches are used when chasing metal. This technique involves detailing the front surface of a piece by hammer striking these punches onto the metal.

Method of chasing
Method of chasing

The ones I got from Aldi are a bit bigger and heavier than you would normally use in silversmithing but at €8 a set I was willing to compromise!

I started by turning one of these flat punches into a curved punch. I have a set of old files that I use for this type of work so I began by filing the rough shaped curve into the punch. It’s a good idea to mark it out first but I won’t pretend I was that organised!

Filing curve into the punch
Filing curve into the punch

I used the side of my bench peg and some emery paper to take out the file marks. The curve on the side of my peg sat perfectly into the curve I had filed out. It was great for getting into the curve without distorting it.

Finishing with emery paper
Finishing with emery paper

As I was working I used a scrap piece of copper to test how the punch was turning out. Here’s a picture of the test piece. You can see how the curve is going from think and clumsy to more even and refined.

Testing the punch
Testing the punch

And here’s what it looked like before I gave it a final polish..

Curved Punch
Curved Punch
Curved Punch
Curved Punch

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