Background matting punch tutorial by Weldon Lister

Weldon47

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Dec 9, 2006
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Welfare, Texas
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Hey folks!

Here is a short guide on how I made the background matting punch for the Bowie I am making.
For this tool I used a worn out N-Graver dot punch but you can make one from any good piece of high speed tool steel. The supply of N-Graver punches I have on hand have stippled a thousand miles before wearing out & instead of chunking them I re-use 'em.
The first step (not shown) is to anneal or soften the punch. I do this with a torch by heating it up red & then letting it slowly cool.
1.After it is cool enough to touch I clean off the fire scale and blunt the tip as shown in the first pic, making it a little larger than the final shape (that makes it easier to do the next step).
2. Using a sharp pointed stylus, I texture the face of the punch, roughing it up severely but keeping it uniform over the entire surface.
3. Once that is done & I am satisfied with the look (at this point, I can test it on a soft piece of silver to check the impression) I reduced the face to the final size. This accomplishes several things: 1, it takes less force to texture a smaller area as opposed to a larger size & 2, a smaller face will fit a little better into the areas I will be texturing. 3, It allows for better visibility in the work area (if I can't see, it is pretty hard not to mess up). I did this step on a Powerhone by holding the punch between my fingers & slowly twirling it around. There are other ways but this works for me!
4. Once I am satisfied with the matte texture and I'm satisfied with its size, I re harden the punch. I do this (on this particular steel) by heating to a cherry red and quenching in water. That produces max hardness. I then clean the fire scale off and reheat starting about mid-shaft. When a light straw color begins to creep toward the tip I remove the heat and quench again in water.
5. I test the punch on steel that approximates what I will be working on & if it survives without either dulling or chipping I feel confident that I can use it.

I hope this helps if you decide to make a matting punch,

Weldon
 

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