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Anvils in America, THE book about anvils

Hand made steel makers mark or stamp Matrix Punches - Touchmarks

Demonstration by Jock Dempsey
guru at anvilfire.com!
August 16, 2000 (Edited May 23, 2011)
 
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Tonight's Demo is sort of a continuation of the last two weeks. Then we did hole punching and slitting, tonight we are going to look at matrix and eye punches.

We have had a lot of demos where characters were forged, trolls, dragons, birds and the like. All used "eye" punches. Tonight we are going to look at these fancy punches and stamps.
Hand made steel makers mark or stamp
Figure 01

Figure 24
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
This is a touchmark punch I made and its impression. To make the punch required a "matrix" punch. That's a punch that is used to make a part of another punch.

Figure 02
Matrix punches are simply the inside shape for characters or shapes that you can't cut out easily with a chisel of file.

To make both the "J" and the "D" I used the same half round punch forged in a set tool or swage block

Figure 03
The punch was forged then a 30 to 45 degree chamfer ground on the ends. It was then punched into a hot piece of tool steel twice.

Figure 04

Figure 05

Figure 06
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
After punching, the extra material was ground, sawed and filed away. The punch was then hardened. This one had flat ends for hot punching.

Figure 07

Figure 08

Figure 09
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
The same process can be used to make any of the letters of the alphabet or geometric shapes.

Often simple matrix punches are used to make more complex punches that in turn are used to make matrix dies.
Heart punch (steel stamp)
Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 12
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
When making sharp edged stamps the extra material is ground away and then the sharp edge cut. This can be done with a bench grinder, a die or Dremel grinder or a file if you anneal the punch.

In this case the heart punch is used with a standard letter punch to make a die. The die is made from mild steel that is cleaned and polished then punched cold.

Figure 13

Figure 14
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
I've found that you need a guide to fit the piece of steel being driven into the die. I make a ring to fit the tool steel with a little clearance and taper the inside so it doesn't get stuck. Then I weld it to the die plate.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
The tool steel is heated to an orange, descaled with a wire brush and pounded into the die. You get one chance to do this. It might be possible to realign a square bar but not round.
Marking punch made using standard steel stamps
Figure 23
This punch was made using this method. The letters are standard punches (steel stamps) and the anvil a special.

Figure 15
Eye punches can be positives or negatives. The techniques of making them are the same. Making them is preparation for the job. They cannot be bought.

Figure 16

Figure 17
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Like the earlier matrix punch you start with a polished hemispherical punch and drive it into a piece of hot tool steel.

When I go to the flea market I'm always looking for old punches and chisels in ANY condition CHEAP because all these get made from recycled tool steel.

Figure 18
After sinking the hemisphere the outer shape is ground. This punch can be used as-is OR used to make a positive punch where the inner part sticks OUT instead of in.

Figure 19
One of the most common "eye" punches is a small hemispherical punch with another little hemisphere set into it.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
These are often used on dragons and various "characters"

Figure 20

Figure 21
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
For "nasal passages" I use a tapered punch with a slightly rounded end. The "scale" punch sets material down to leave a raised scale.

The outer surface needs to be big enough to "fade" out of the work. The one I made was done with an angle grinder.

Figure 22
On a set of duck heads I needed right and left eyes. Instead of making two special punches I made an "eye corner" punch and used it with a common round eye punch. Once you start making these things you build up a supply. Let your imagination work for you.

Figure 01

Figure 23

Figure 24
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
FISH
Do you wear any special magnifying glasses when making these?
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
In my old age I might need magnifiers but standard safety glasses are slightly magnifying.

Oh by the way. Most of these are relatively LARGE. The JD punch is 5/8" and the Dempsey's Forge is 1"
JIM-C
Guru: was the 'Dempsey's forge" stamp done with mirror image letter stamps?
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
No, you don't need mirror image punches when making a die to make a punch.
PETE FELS
Good demo Jock! Tell us more about the difference between hot and cold stamps.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Cold stamps have a chisel edge on them and must be carefully heat treated.

Hot punches can be almost any kind of tool steel and normally don't need to be very hard. You should harden and temper them but the heat of the hot work is going to draw the temper more.
PETE FELS
George Dixon uses his hot stamps cold for "lining out" I have a little disaster whenever I do. What gives there?
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Pete it may be the temper of the steel being punched. I've wrecked good punches on "mild steel" that I got in a hurry and quenched.

Your hot work punches may have been tempered too soft from use too. . .
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
This type of "hot punch" doesn't stay in the work long enough to need to be made of "hot work steel". I believe many cold stamps are made of S-7
BARNE
Some of my eye punches I have drilled out the center of a drift punch very carefully. It seems to work ..
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
My best cold letter stamps barely make a mark on quenched piece of 1020 cold finish.

Didn't hurt the stamps but I always stopped and normalized the part before finishing the stamping job.
PETE FELS
I've found S-1 most temper sensitive, S-7 stays a little stiffer and H13 stays stiff but is fussy and hard to put elaborate patterns in
TOM STOVALL
Pete, if you make your stamps out of water quench stuff, you can go to water between each trip to hot metal. Old timey stuff, but it works.
BARNE
got to find out what them numbers mean S-7 1089 etc..
PETE FELS
"S"= shock resistant."H"= hot work ( I think)
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
That's right.
TOM STOVALL
M2?
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Then "M" is HSS. . .

But There is ALSO a structural grade called M-##
PETE FELS
How do you heat treat it Tom?
TOM STOVALL
Air hardening stuff is too esoteric for this simple farrier. I like the availabiity and simplicity of the water quench steels. Pete, I don't have any idea. All my forrays into M2 ended up as expensive piles of metallic mush in the bottom of my gasser.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
I just use whatever old punches and cold chisles I've picked up at the flea market. Oil quench then draw to a straw yellow. . NOT very scientific. The BLACKSMITH way :)
PETE FELS
What EA Chase said about H-13 is "Heat and beat"
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Pete I've had the same experiance as Tom trying to forge HSS lathe cutter bits. . . burned up trash.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
LATER. . .
BILL EPPS
I just drill a hole about the size if the end of the punch drop the BB in the bottom of the hole and the hole will center the punch. Bill is describing his method of making eye punches.
-GURU
ANVILFIRE
Ah, no chasing little balls across the shop floor. . .

Links

PUNCHING PART I Punching Holes

PUNCHING PART II Slitting and Drifting

Repousse' Tools (Punches)


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