Monday, July 06, 2015

Touring the BeadFX Metal Studio: Dapping, Stamping, Shaping

Back in May I started a tour of the endless tools and resources available to you in the BeadFX Metal Studio. I got sidetracked by Bead and Button, and the new things I saw and learned there, but the Metal Studio is still there, and better than ever, so I thought I would continue my review with one of my favourite activities: shaping and stamping metal.

I believe my tour of the studio started with the rolling mill, so I won't go over that again, except to say that using the rolling mill and the texture plates (or even paper, stencils, screening, etc) is one of the fastest ways to apply a homogeneous texture to a larger piece of metal. It's great for creating cuff bases.

But here's the great thing -- that's only the beginning. Let's say you textured a piece of copper in the rolling mill. Now you can cut out a shape from the metal. And there are metal sheers and jewellery saws aplenty in the studio to accomplish that. But even better, there are disk cutters! Yes, you can make your own metal blanks or cut portholes in your metal to expose paper, leather or more metal below, if that's what you like. Disk cutters in the studio are all round, but you can purchase disk cutters that cut ovals, stars and hearts. To use one, you usually fit your metal between the two plates where you want your hole then hammer the cutting die until it cuts through the metal. Great tool. You should come in with some 24 gauge copper and give it a try!

Image result for disk cutter

Now that you have a disk, you can do all sorts of things with it. One idea is to put it through the Big Kick embossing machine with one of the many texture plates that BeadFX has. Here's a little video on how this very cool tool works.

Next, you can grab one of the many dapping blocks in the studio and give your disk a lovely rounded shape, like a little bowl. I glue stones/cabs into these rounded shapes, or fill them with resin or just colour them with gilder's paste, alcohol inks or liver of sulphur. This brings contrast to the embossed pattern. BeadFX has several versions in metal and wood for you to play with. Here's what a dapping block looks like.

Image result for dapping block

Well, you can also shape metal with tools like this u channel metal forming block and hammers, with mandrels (I discussed those in a previous post) and with texture hammers.You'll find them all in the BeadFX Metal Studio.

Steel U-Channel Forming Block and Hammer Punches
And the BeadFX Metal Studio has sooooo many metal stamps! Alphabets, icons, symbols that can spell out words or can be repeated to create a pleasing stamped design. Again, liver of sulphur or inks, etc, will help bring out this pattern.

Hammers, bench blocks and all the accessories/tools you need to get creating are available to you in the Metal Studio. So come out to one of the Open Metal Studio nights (my next one is Friday, July 24 from 5 - 8 pm) or call the store to book private studio time, and get creating. Try these tools and decide which ones are best for you then order them!!!

1 comment:

Sue Henry said...

Thanks for the tour! One thing I learned at Bead and Button this year is when to buy the wooden or metal dapping blocks and u-channel shappers. If you are using silver metal the wooden (and less expensive) tools will do. But if you use base metal such as copper or bronze you need the metal tools. These base metals will ruin the wooden versions. Good to know!