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How Are Letter / Hallmark Punches Made?

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SillyOldDuffer20/03/2019 21:57:52
3995 forum posts
810 photos

I've got a simple set of Letter and Numeric punches, and wondered how they, and the far more elaborate hall-mark punches featuring lions and so forth, are made.

For example, how would you put something simple like an out-dented government broad arrow on the end of a length of 6mm diameter silver-steel?

barrow.jpg

Dave

John Reese20/03/2019 22:32:29
701 forum posts

I suppose it could be done with a file and a graver. It seems like it would be a lot of work and I certainly would not have the patience.

John Reese20/03/2019 22:39:08
701 forum posts

Here is one video of a stamp being made. The key word for searching Facebook is touchmark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF2yDZtppNY
Michael Gilligan20/03/2019 23:06:58
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12779 forum posts
554 photos

From the Assay Office : "In the early days of hallmarking, punches were made by engraving or chiselling into the blank and using a file to remove the excess metal to create the appropriate surround shape." ... etc.

https://theassayoffice.com/hallmarkingpunch_baoexpert

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 20/03/2019 23:08:00

Bill Phinn20/03/2019 23:11:55
158 forum posts
35 photos

Dave, did you ever see this thread, particularly my post about punch cutting?

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=135629

Brass and steel moveable type and decorative motifs for the printing and binding industry are still made (or were until last year) by deep relief engraving on pantograph machines. CNC machines are the more up-to-date method, but cost prohibitive perhaps for most home workshops. Files and gravers are the cheapest method, assuming you can make the time to develop the skill required to use them to good effect.

Bazyle20/03/2019 23:49:27
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4443 forum posts
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There was an article once in ME , probably Jeynes corner in the sixties, about the punch makers in Sheffield. It didn't say how they did it, rather how they were intensely secretive about their methods. He would have been referring to the turn of the century hand techniques before pantograph die sinkers changed the skill set required.

duncan webster20/03/2019 23:58:10
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1960 forum posts
30 photos

At £10 for a set of 36 they ain't using files and gravers

set of stamps

John Reese21/03/2019 00:28:59
701 forum posts

Duncan,

I suspect they are formed by pressing the end into a die that has the reverse image.

peak421/03/2019 02:14:09
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724 forum posts
65 photos

Going back maybe 25 years + now, but one of the demonstrations at Abbeydale Hamlet's open days was an older chap who used to make hallmark punches using a hammer and selection of miniature chisels using a jewellers loupe.

I think he went under the trade title of a Mark Maker, though I guess I might have misremembered due to an excess of Makers Mark

XD 35121/03/2019 05:24:53
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1210 forum posts
83 photos

Can’t say about hallmark stamps but i think letter and number stamps are hot forged these days , there is probably a youtube vid out theres somewhere !

Plasma21/03/2019 07:18:49
135 forum posts
2 photos

Peak4, your memory serves you well. I make miniature knives as part of my hobby and living near Sheffield I had my Mark's made by a company there.

Visiting the "vintage" workshop revealed some milling machines and lathes to prepare the raw stock, some pantograph style machines and a lot of bench vices to facilitate hand cutting of the face of the punch.

Not surprisingly they were called mark makers in the trade. I say not surprising as Sheffield had a wonderfully simple approach to naming its tradesmen. My favourite example being the operatives in a scissor factory responsible for assembling the various components of said item and adjusting them to work correctly. They were known as scissor putter togetherers

Simples.

Clive Brown 121/03/2019 08:34:49
214 forum posts
5 photos

Not helping the original question, but I seem to remember that Arnold Throp,( who put the Dore in Dore Westbury)*, was a senior figure, possibly the Boss, in Pryor Punches.

* For non-Sheffielders, Dore is where AT lived.

peak421/03/2019 09:48:08
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724 forum posts
65 photos
Posted by Plasma on 21/03/2019 07:18:49:

.................................

My favourite example being the operatives in a scissor factory responsible for assembling the various components of said item and adjusting them to work correctly. They were known as scissor putter togetherers

Simples.

Plasma I'm sure you must have seen the film yourself, but for the delight of others one here, have a look at the video below.
I'm pleased that Ernest Wrights seems to have been rescued by some external investment, following Nick's sad death;

I had a wander round there on their last day when they were selling off all the old stock and machinery; quite poignant really as Nick and I were acquaintances via a mutual friend.

What sort of knives are you making yourself?

Edited By peak4 on 21/03/2019 09:48:56

Mike Poole21/03/2019 10:10:06
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1811 forum posts
44 photos

Saggar maker’s bottom knocker, I wonder if there are any left.

Mike

 

Edited By Mike Poole on 21/03/2019 10:10:32

SillyOldDuffer21/03/2019 10:52:32
3995 forum posts
810 photos

Many thanks for all the responses. John's link to the You-tube video showing a blacksmith making one answered a lot of questions, and Bill's link back to his earlier thread answered another, because in it Tim Steven's explains how to do 'counters'!

The modern way is CNC, with tiny cutters.

By hand:

  • A template (easily made and scaled down with a computer)
  • Files, fine files, gravers, and punches.
  • Possibly aided by magnifying glasses and a pantograph
  • Skill and patience.

As making detailed hall-marks in the past was a secretive trade, I doubt I shall do an excellent job, but I'm going to have a go at a broad arrow. If I get decent result, I'll try for a slightly harder 'A'.

Making a pantograph is too much trouble to satisfy an idle curiosity - perhaps later!

Dave

SillyOldDuffer21/03/2019 17:57:32
3995 forum posts
810 photos

Broad arrow, done roughly with a flat file and a two small triangular files wasn't difficult on an 8mm diameter silver-steel rod.

dsc05968.jpg

The arrow stamped onto the Aluminium strip was filled with shoe polish to get a better photo. Sorry about the punch, the shadows fooled my camera.

Dave

Plasma21/03/2019 18:05:13
135 forum posts
2 photos

Hi peak4.

I make miniature fixed blade and folding knives. All from 1/2 inch to 3 inch long.

I exhibited at the Doncaster model exhibition last year and got a first certificate for a display case of my work.

I also made a pair of scissors 2 inch long just to see if I could do it.

Best regards Mick

Nigel McBurney 121/03/2019 20:18:16
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549 forum posts
3 photos

If any reader has a set of number/letter stamps in a blue plastic case,with the name Imperial they were made by the Imperial typewriter company of Leicester and Hull, I worked for a subsidary company making early automated tywriters and other electronic office equipment (punched tape driven) and I saw some of the punch making process,the punches were made from square bar held in square collets in auto lathes where the taper was machined and parted off, sizes of stamp ranged from 1/16 to at least 1/2 inch,this was back in 1965 so memory is a bit hazy,the punches were then cold stamped with dies held in presses,I can remember there was quite a lot "flash" left around the impression though cannot remember how this was cleaned off,possibly by a clipping tool. Imperial also made a lot of very precise steel ink stamps for the stamping of government and GPO documents so security was very high to prevent theft. These stamps had the impression rolled on them ,the largest rolling machine was a giant modified Cincinatti horizontal mill,most of the guts and table drive had been removed and the table had a large rack bolted to the table this rack engaged with a gear on the horizontal spindle the table was pushed along by a hydraulic ram,and in doing so the spindle rotated, also mounted on the spindle was a really heavy steel cylinder which held a number of dies mounted on the o/d The blanks for the stamps were held in a row in a massive fixture on the table,so as the table was pushed along the spindle rotated forcing the dies onto the blanks, as the table moved along a fair number of stamps were made.One of those that you see and never tend to forget was the table to over arm support,instead of the usual cast support tying the over arm to the knee of the mill it was a steel support cut from steel plate and about 3 inches thick, it was needed to stop deflection during the rolling action..

peak421/03/2019 21:29:20
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724 forum posts
65 photos
Posted by Plasma on 21/03/2019 18:05:13:

Hi peak4.

I make miniature fixed blade and folding knives. All from 1/2 inch to 3 inch long.

I exhibited at the Doncaster model exhibition last year and got a first certificate for a display case of my work.

I also made a pair of scissors 2 inch long just to see if I could do it.

Best regards Mick

Cheers Mick, Yes I have a couple of photos of the display of your fine handiwork.
It was of particular interest as I have a small collection of full sized Sheffield slipjoints.
Part of my retirement plans are to make a couple of slipjoints for my own use.
I have a few bits in stock, bought from a chap on ebay years ago, before the current marketing restrictions.

Bill

David George 121/03/2019 21:53:40
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718 forum posts
257 photos

Hi Mick I was next to you at Doncaster with my little lathe you have amazing knives and scissors, hope you are keeping well.

David

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