When working with metal, one of the most helpful tools is a die and punch. This tool comes with a six-sided die with circular indents on each surface that vary in size, as well as punch indents. The use of this tool is called dapping, which means to dome metal. There are lots of materials that can be dapped such as sheet metal, coins, bottle caps, tokens, gears and charms. Dapping is a great way to make one of-a-kind jewelry components such as beads and bead caps, but it’s also an easy way to add some visual appeal to a charm or pendant. This is because a curved surface reflects more light than a flat surface, which results in a more captivating piece. A wood dapping set is ideal in jewelry making because it is gentler when curving the metal and will not scratch or mar precious metals. Here we will provide a few guidelines to follow when using the wood dapping set. Please note that safety should be your primary concern. Always wear eye protection!
Note: All stamping, texturing and holes should be completed prior to doming. Holes may need to be perfected after the dapping process. You can do this with a bead reamer, hole punch or re-drilling the hole site.
Place the metal, design side down, into one of the depressions in the dapping block. Be sure to use a much larger depression than the metal piece.
Hold the dapping punch firmly with one hand over the metal piece. I like to start close to the center of the piece I am doming.
Tap the dapping punch with a rubber or rawhide mallet several times. This process should be done gently because if you strike the punch with too much force the metal may not shape up evenly. You will see the metal start to take on the shape of the depression in the dapping block.
Continue to tap the dapping punch repeatedly with the mallet while moving the punch at an angle around the depression. This will help to ensure that the metal piece shapes up nicely.
Once you have dapped as much as you can in this depression you can move the metal piece to the next smaller depression and repeat the dapping process to create a deeper dome. Continue gradually decreasing the size of the depression used until the metal piece reaches the desired depth.
You should now have a curved shape rather than a flat one.