Real Primates Make Tools...A Primer on Chasing Tools and Stamps

Making your own tools will cut costs and give you absolute control over quality.  Many metalsmiths make their own chasing tools for personal use and/or to sell, and these tools tend to be much higher in quality than mass produced tools. They're easier to use, leave a better mark, and are aesthetically pleasing. 

While I can usually nudge my college students into making their own chasing and repousse tools, some are more reluctant to delve into the world of tool-making.  This is understandable. Making these tools is not necessarily a quick process, and it takes practice to make a great tool, so if you are scrounging for time more than money, tool-making may not be your cup of tea. 

Tim Lazure, who teaches workshops on tool making taught me how to make chasing tools in graduate school. His tools are not only incredibly well crafted, but they are also beautiful because he takes the time to really clean them up. I always appreciated the scrutiny he used when evaluating my liners and curved liners because precision in layout, tapering, and finishing is absolutely key to making a good chasing tool. Without that scrutiny, I would never have learned to see the tiny differences that differentiated an excellent liner from a mediocre one.

 

Tool steel is relatively inexpensive, costing about $1-2 per tool.  I’ve seen handmade chasing tools sell between $18-28 a piece, well worth it considering the time, care, and skill involved in making them.  Compare these to the short, round, stumpy mass-produced jewelry stamps that rarely leave a complete impression, and you’ll see what I mean. Whether you make them or buy them, you’ll appreciate the value of a finely crafted tool.  

Tags: Scrounge, chasing, repousse, steel, tool, tools

Views: 1447

Replies to This Discussion

Making one's tools has many benefits well beyond anything financial.  The tools you make for yourself can have special aspects that fit your work more exactly.  I make my own clay modelling tools and love using them.  

Attachments:

Those are lovely, Tom!

RSS

Latest Activity

Louise Perrone liked Brigitte Martin's group Co:Operation GARNISH
1 hour ago
Brigitte Martin posted blog posts
4 hours ago
Billie Jean Theide liked Brigitte Martin's blog post Get Lucky x 7 - Online and Live JEWELRY Auction
5 hours ago
Kathleen Schmitz is now a member of crafthaus
yesterday
Kate Bajic posted photos
yesterday
Kate Bajic and Anne Morgan are now friends
yesterday
Brigitte Martin liked Susan Lee Stephen's photo
yesterday
Magdalene T Story for POLA OSLO posted photos
yesterday
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
Sunday
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Price Review 2015 Our customers recently provided valuable feedback on our hallmarking pricing structure. Following the response, we are pleased to introduce the simplest pricing method in UK Hallmarking to date! Included in each unit price…"
Sunday
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"and ACJ will be there too! Celebrity Guest Speakers Announced for "Make your Mark" Student Event As many of you will be aware, we are holding our next FREE student event in spring 2015 at Goldsmiths' Hall, London. Following our first…"
Sunday
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Jacqueline Mina OBE Showcase, The Scottish Gallery 4 - 28 March 2015 The Scottish Gallery is delighted to present a showcase of new jewellery from Jacqueline Mina OBE. "Following a research project I was involved with in 1999 at the Museum of…"
Sunday

© 2015   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service