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I Forge Iron

Ball end punches

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Ive made some rolled roses but I haven’t played with the stacked ones yet an I thought about ordering some blanks to try em out, 

I watched some videos on making them an I saw him using a ball end punch to do some shaping,

then I started in on watching a jingle bell video and he was using different sizes of ball end punches for that too,

so i figured I’d make a set of em in different sizes, 

I found some ball bearings in the different sizes I wanted online, 2” ,1-1/2” , and 1-1/4”

I saw some that were carbon steel, there was also some chrome ones and stainless ones,

I figure chrome isn’t a good idea for safety reasons so that’s out,

So that leaves stainless an carbon,

i was thinking of ordering the carbon ones and planned to weld a piece of 3/4” sucker rod to them for a handle 

Is there any reason why this wouldn’t work or it’s a bad idea?

also I saw were someone was using the round end of a carriage bolt to do the same thing but I can’t imagine that wolf last very long,

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A bottom tool helps as well.  It can be made from iron, or simply the end grain of a wood stump. I've used an aspen log for decades. 

I made a set of bottom tools out of different sized seamless black pipe. I rolled the top edge outward and welded a crossbar on the bottom to clamp in my post vice. My sizes are from half inch to 8". I call them a poor man's dapping block.

The type of steel isnt critical because you are hammering hot iron into a hollow space. 

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TW, i bought my ball punches from Harbor Freight, called a doming block set i think. They came in a set from 1/16" up to 1". They are short so something to hold them with is needed. They have held up well for what i use them for. I have also repurosed a couple of them. The steel is pretty decent for as cheap as they are. 

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Heres some pics One of my small ones and one of my big ones. I prefer, tho not always, to sink into a form than over a stake. These actually work as both. For say a drip pan, you can sink it to please, then roll the outside edges around the top of the die.Both have their place.  Use a top tool to fit the job. The size of the bottom tool just determines the chord, not its final shape. For instance, in my large one I have used my cross peen to get flat surfaces within a rounded top. 

The good thing about rust in a blacksmith shop is it goes away with the first reuse.  ;)

Sinking Dies small 2.jpg

Sinking Dies small 3.jpg

Sinking Dies small 6.jpg

Sinking Dies small 4.jpg

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Heavy ring bolts also make good bottom tools. Here are a couple I made for my fly press (upper right):


The larger one is welded onto a piece of 1/2” plate that already had a 3” hole in it, and the smaller one rests on the bigger one, with the short pipe registering it in place. I use both with the tool on the lower left, which started life as a trailer hitch ball. 

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That’s pretty slick lookin John!

I dug around an found a big ball bearing my dad gave me decades ago that came outta a blown up tank,

 The sucker rod looked like it might be to big for a handle an might get in the way if I’m trying to work the inside of a sleigh bell,

so I dug around the scrap pile and found a small old four way lug wrench, I think I’m gonna cut a handle off of it an weld it to the ball bearing

and try that out before ordering ball bearings online cause they were pretty steep



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Per a request; here are some of my dishing forms and a couple of my dishing hammers.  Please feel free to ask specifics about any of them.


All were sourced on the cheap, many modified from other use items; some just weird.  (Like the lens grinding cups for making eyeglass lenses...)

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  Those are stress balls.  You are supposed to roll them around in your hand to get rid of anxiety.  It kind of worked for Lieutenant Commander Queeg.  Kind of.  Seriously, it will be fun to watch you put them to work.  I remember the cannonball agitators... :)

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

The way to get them to look good is to trade them back to their owners for steel engravings of dead Presidents or Ben Franklin....

That’s what I do! 

They bring ‘em to me an I trade their weedeaters back to them for money! 


don’t get me started! Lol

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