Some time ago, I wrote a review of all the basic tools needed to make silver. Since then, I have been asked to write in more detail about all the different tools. I have already written a hammer cover. This article is about all the different types of blocks and their uses.
A bench pin is usually made of wood. Although there is a special filing block made of rubber that, like a bench pin, is attached to Smith’s work bench. Although it is not a block, strictly, it is usually included in any discussion of blocks as are the annals.
Bench pins can be a solid piece of wood, but are usually cut in the form of key holes to facilitate cutting and piercing of sheet metal, tubing or heavy gauge wire. The keyhole is open at the outer end so you can put your work on it for sawing. The opening to the “back” of the pin is usually shortened to accommodate smaller pieces.
Some benches come with a metal bracket to attach the pins to the workbench, which also doubles like an annulus. Most are made of wood with a simple connecting system.
Bench pins can look great when used. They are often sawed and drained. Also, they can be very bad when used as a platform for sending and filing. Fortunately, they are not very expensive and are easy to replace.
Most bench blocks are made of hardened steel and care must be taken to ensure that they do not get wet or allow water to settle on them. They will rust. Then you have to sand and polish them to continue using them.
The upper and lower levels in the main bench block are smooth. Although they are made of hard steel, it is possible to kill them. If you hit the surface, the pit or scratch will move to the metal you are hitting with the hammer. Therefore, it is better to keep one side for “fuzzy” work and the other for less “wasteful” work.
The block I like the most is 4 inches square and 3/4 of an inch deep. They come in small and large, but I find this size suitable for everything I do.
There is also a block made of lead. It is mainly used for chasing and sealing. You can stamp on a standard steel bench block, but it can affect the surface as mentioned above.
There are other blocks made of hardened steel. Hexagon block is one. It has many holes of different sizes on its face and many slots on one side. It is used as a base for riveting and drilling small parts. I always prefer drill press for drilling. But if you do not have a drill press, hexagonal block will help with drilling. Also, a round wire draw plate can be used to help riveting if you think you can’t afford hexagonal blocks. Some draw plates (to lower the wire) can be quite expensive. It’s always best to shop around for the best deals.
There is also a block called slot annulus. It is used for the same purposes as the hexagon block (also called enol some people).
While most bench blocks are used for flattening metal, annulus is used for flattening and shaping. It’s a good idea to buy an annulus that manages to attach to your work bench. Or you can attach it to a solid piece of wood for durability. It’s not fun to hit your bath horn with a hammer and finish the whole thing. Typically, a good annulus has a round, polished horn and a “square” horn with a wide flat surface between the two.
Dipping blocks are made of hard steel or hard wood. You use a dipping block in conjunction with a dipping punch to make a hemisphere or insert curves into the sheet metal.
The hardened steel type, with corn, is mainly used for “dome” sheet silver. The block can be flat or cube. Hemispheres are depression-sized, similar to the size of a round-headed deepening punch. Sheet silver is placed on the appropriate size hole. It is punched and beaten with a hammer.
Hardwood dipping blocks and their hardwood punches are used to make light curves or to shape bowls from sheet silver. Hard wood punches are also hit with a hammer (or malt), but it’s best to use a hard rubber hammer or you’ll never ruin your amazing punch end.
The forming block is a solid steel cube with grooves cut on all six sides. The ducts have different cross sections: hemispherical, triangular, square and rectangular. They are all in different sizes. Mostly, they are used to force different shapes in sheet metal.
Most engraving blocks are complex. They are designed to hold metal objects of various shapes so that they can be easily manipulated during metal engraving. Some engraving blocks can also be used to hold objects for stone arrangement. Since it is necessary to apply a very smooth heavy pressure when pushing the tomb together, it is important to have a way to hold the engraved object safely. It is almost impossible to engrave without blocks.
For the big things, the jeweler has to make his own “engraving block”. If, say, engraving on the blade of a large knife, a frame must be made to hold the blade firmly in place, and the blade must be fastened to the frame.
There are a number of different types of soldering blocks. They come in all sizes, shapes and materials.
Solderite (TM) soldering pads come in different sizes. Some are hard and can’t be pinned. Others are softer and allow you to use pins to hold your work in place. They are free of asbestos and are made of strong calcium silicate. The price is reasonable and these are my first choice for soldering. They heat up and cool down quickly without cracking or breaking.
My second choice is the magnesia soldering block. It is also asbestos free. It reflects heat well and cools down quickly. It is soft enough to pin in and lasts longer than charcoal soldering blocks. When the work surface gets too messy to use more, I take it out of my shop and smooth it out on the concrete using circular motion. They can withstand temperatures up to 2000 F.
Charcoal soldering blocks are preferred by many people and are recommended by most jewelry schools, but I don’t think they are cost effective. They get very hot and stay very hot for a long time, which makes it difficult to place your work on them. If they had to cool down too soon, they would break and fall. Therefore, it is a good idea to tie them with binding wire before first use.
Transit is another material used for soldering boards. It is also asbestos free and can withstand temperatures up to 2800 ° F. It comes in many sizes.
Honeycomb ceramic soldering boards are also available. I’ve never used any of them, but people who do like them. The holes help to dissipate heat from the parts that are soldered and thus prevent you from melting the parts you do not want. But consider that apathy plays a role in any atomic stockpile. Holes also allow you to place pins to keep your work in place. They can withstand temperatures up to 2000 F and are free of asbestos. You can also buy solid ceramic soldering board. There is even a slow Susan style that rotates for easy access to all parts of your work.
It’s a dizzying array of blocks, but my favorite is still the bench block. Give me one of those hammers and you know I’m having a lot of fun. Always remember to wear eye protection clothing. If you are hammering metal, it is also a good idea to wear hearing protection. Now, get out there and have some fun!#Block #silver #Smithing #tools #trading