Die Forming Three Ways

July 15 – 18, 2021
Online – hosted by Silvera Jewelry School,
Berkeley, California

SKU: July 15 - 18, 2021 Category:


Register at: Silvera Jewelry School

Learn three ways of die forming that will allow you to reproduce your designs quickly and accurately. With the use of a hydraulic press you will be able to easily shape and cut metal to your specifications.

Silhouette dies allow you to make rounded relief forms in metal. You will be sawing out a shape in a sheet of cast acrylic and pressing metal into the resulting cavity. Turning the die over and pressing from the opposite side will result in a mirror image. The addition of molding in thermal reactive plastic quickly creates dimension and variation in your relief form.

Carving contour, or non-conforming, dies in thick cast acrylic allows for complexity and detail. You will carve reverse relief shapes with specialized burs and a flex shaft then press metal into the die to duplicate your carving. Both methods of forming can be further enhanced with chasing and repoussé.

Self-registering, one piece blanking dies give you the ability to quickly cut out the shapes you conceive. Whether you are working with die formed pieces or flat sheet that is used for another process, you will be amazed at how easily you can go from original idea to duplicated shape as you make and use your own dies during class.

Additional information

Tools and Materials

A computer, phone or tablet to use the free Zoom app for class. An additional device (capable of accessing the Zoom link) and holder to position it over your work space allowing the instructor to see your work.

Bonny Doon Hydraulic Press: Rio Grande
Or: Harbor Freight bench press: Harbor Freight
Or large bench vise: Harbor Freight
If using a bench vise to blank out dies you will need two 1/2” thick pieces of cast acrylic at least 4” x 4” to sandwich your die to protect it from the jaws of the vise: Tap Plastics
You will also need a length of pipe at least 2 feet long that can fit over the end of your vise handle for leverage: Hardware store
Flexible shaft: Rio Grande – Or Dremel: Home Depot
Center punch: Rio Grande – Or 1.5mm ball bur: Rio Grande
Dividers: Rio Grande
Bur life: Rio Grande
Drill bits: #58 or #60, Rio Grande
5" or 6" deep saw frame: Rio Grande
Flat or half round hand file, #0 or #1 cut, Rio Grande – Or belt sander from a hardware store
Snap-on-disc: Rio Grande
Snap-on-disc mandrel: Rio Grande
Metal: Copper and/or brass, 22 gauge or thinner to use with blanking dies 1/32” thick – 18 gauge or thinner to use with blanking dies 3/64” thick
Copper and/or brass to test dies.
Shears like Joyce Chen Shears to cut thin metal: Amazon or Kitchen store
Rubber cement or Scotch Permanent Glue Stick – Office supply store like Staples or Amazon
Scissors – Office supply store like Staples or Amazon
Ruler – Office supply store like Staples or Amazon
Paper, including tracing paper and white printer/copier paper. Drawing materials including rulers, Sharpie markers, pencils and erasers, compasses, and plastic circle and oval templates: Office supply store like Staples or Amazon
Dust mask
Safety Glasses and eye magnification if needed

Silver or gold sheet: 22 gauge or thinner to use with blanking dies 1/32” thick – 18 gauge or thinner to use with blanking dies 3/64” thick
Silver or gold wire for finished pieces – assorted gauges. I use 20 gauge for ear wires.
Wolf Wax High Speed Cylinder Bur: Rio Grande – 25mm x 6.3mm, 25mm x 4.7mm, 25mm x 3.3mm
Additional saw blades 2/0 or 3/0,
Super Pike Saw Blades: Otto Frei
Pike Platinum Saw Blades: Otto Frei