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: 1399

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

Jennifer Merchant commented on Brigitte Martin's group SNAG
"2015 Call for Nominations and Candidacy   The 2015 SNAG Election will determine three (3) members of the Board of Directors, and one (1) member of the Nominations & Elections Committee.   The deadline for candidates to be added to the…"
1 hour ago
Brigitte Martin posted a blog post
17 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"BOUNDARIES We cordially invited to participation inhttp://www.silver.legnica.pl/en/?Competitions:BOUNDARIES 24th International Legnica Jewellery Competition BOUNDARIES in the frame of Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER 2015Deadline for sending…"
18 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"International Jewellery Festival the Legnica International Jewellery Competition dates back to 1979 and every year invites jewellers to submit work in response to a different topic. Payment: Single payment Experience required: Expert Students…"
18 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Opal Jewellery Design Award one of the most prestigious opal jewellery design competitions in the world. Payment: Single payment Charges: Charges apply Experience required: Some Students eligible: No Location: Australia Town: New South…"
18 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Arts/Industry Residency Arts/Industry is an on-going collaboration between art and industry at the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries, and Enamel Shop in the United States. Payment: In-kind support and/or Expenses Experience required: No…"
18 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Embracing Innovation Expressions of interest are invited from craft artists and designer makers who are exploring new work in these areas to participate in an exhibition. Payment: None Experience required: Expert Students…"
18 hours ago
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"Amber Design Award Amberif Design Award Competition aims to promote amber as a source of artistic expression. Payment: Single payment Experience required: Expert Students eligible: No Location: Poland Town: Gdansk Who: designers, artists and…"
18 hours ago
Kimberly Nogueira liked Harriete Estel Berman's photo
yesterday
Kimberly Nogueira shared Harriete Estel Berman's photo on Facebook
yesterday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
"Attention, Shortcuts, Carelessness, Copycats…"
yesterday
Harriete Estel Berman posted photos
yesterday

© 2015   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service