Monday, March 10, 2008

The Harbor Freight Dapping Punch and Die Set

I have not needed a dapping punch and die set but I've always wanted one to play with when coming up with jewelry designs. A Dapping set is a tool that allows you to hammer metal into hemispherical and generally concave shapes, such as a hollow bead. A good quality set isn't terribly expensive and I have made my own single purpose punches and dies when the need arose but I never bought a set. Anyway, Harbor Freight has a set, made in India, for the extremely low price of $29.99, on perpetual sale. So I bought one.

The box looks nice!

A wood stand, the block and the punches.

The punches are covered in what is likely a highly toxic red oil.

I slit the bag open and grabbed each punch in a paper towel, wiping off the excess oil.

At first glance the block looks well polished...

But, as with most cheap tools, what you get is what you paid for, so there are numerous scratches, dings, blemishes and such in the hollows of the block. These can be polished out, so in essence you are trading your time perfecting the tool for the money you would have spent on a better set.

The punches are similarly imperfect, with flat spots, scratches, etc.
Some time spent sanding those out on the lathe is likely in my future.

So, not a great tool, but one that allows you to do basic doming without breaking the bank.

11 comments:

the jewelry :ninja! said...

hey, thanks for reviewing these! i've been curious about them!

Fru said...

thanx for sharing and reviewing this!

Da Man said...

Used tools are often the best value. Have you been to any garage sales lately?

Felice Luftschein said...

I haven't made it to any garage sales lately, but I did hit the thrift stores yesterday. Scored a bunch of prepared microscope slides to look at with the kids...

Rob Tsou said...

That looks like the kind of thing I would get just to have for no reason. How is the quality of the steel? I bought some hole punches there and the steel wasn't hardened correctly (or maybe wasn't even the right kind of steel) so they didn't hold an edge at all.

Felice Luftschein said...

Well I checked one punch to see how hard it was with a file and the file just glanced off, so that one was hard. But I agree, it's always best to be skeptical of import tool tempering and hardness...

Janice said...

Thanks for the review WITH pics - awesome!! I'm going to put a link on my forum to it. THANKS AGAIN!

John said...

You mention that you can polish out some of the dings. I'm curious - how do you plan to do this on the die?

Felice Luftschein said...

For polishing out the scratches, I'll probably resort to Cratex wheels (in the flex shaft), possibly starting with a fine grinding wheel depending on how deep the scratces are and blending the surface. Deep dings may not be wholly fixable.

ARTISANNE said...

They are at least double the price here (UK) :(

I still want one!!

andrea said...

29.99? I got mine for 39.99, and that's with a 10.00 discount... I want to shop where you shop! Stumbled upon you guys trying to find out more about the red oil leaking out of the box that is sure to make me grow a tail... who wants to capitalize on this with me and start making tail caps and rings?

But seriously, that shits gross. :)