In the metalworking world, dapping is the simple process turning a piece of flat metal into a domed shape by molding it into some sort of depression within a wood or metal block.
How Does the Dapping Process Work?
The process of forcing the metal into a dapping block’s hole is known as “sinking.” To sink a piece of metal, you place a flat piece over or in (depending on the size) the depression of your choice, hold a punch over it, and use a mallet or hammer to push the punch into the metal. Start out by tapping lightly with your mallet or hammer, and add force depending on your metal’s malleability.
What Kind of Jewelry Can I Make With Dapped Metal?
You can use dapped metal in a variety of ways when making jewelry. It creates the shape of half a circle, which can be used stylistically as a pendant on a necklace, bracelet, or earring. Dapping with textured metals can allow you to experiment with different styles and make your dapped metals the star of the show.
Dapped metals are also often used to create bead caps. To do this, you need to sink relatively large domes. To learn how to make your own bead caps using your dapping tools, you can check out this video.
What Kind of Dapping Tools Do I Need?
Most dapping sets come with some sort of blocks with various holes of different depths and circumferences so that you can get the exact shape you want. They also feature punches that come in a variety of sizes. All of Durston’s dapping sets are Anvil manufactured and made from hardened steel, but you’ll want to browse the different options to find the set that has the specific variety of sizes that works for you.
Dapping blocks will either be made of metal or wood. Sets made of hardened steel are the most common, as they tend to look more polished and professional and have more durability, making them better for thicker and harder metals. Steel dapping blocks are also better if you’re looking to make higher domes because they allow the metal to move more and produce deeper indentations.
Wooden dapping blocks, however, are best for when jewelry makers who often work with textured metal because it won’t alter the original pattern at all. When you use a wooden dapping block, there is essentially no disruption in the details of your metal’s surface.