[Harp-L] Embossing Tool

Mathew Smart wrote:

Hey Harpers,

I once saw a picture of a tool that was esentially a ball bearing on a metal
stick. Does anyone know what this is called and/or where I can get one?


It might have been a post of mine that you saw, Mathew.  I was in Michael's Arts and Crafts, and picked up what they called an embossing tool set.  It consisted of wooden handles with little balls on the end of rods in different sizes.  I used a .011 feeler guage as a guide and support and embossed one side of the slot at a time.  I first used the largest ball, but eventually found that the smaller the ball I used, the less the reed was pushed into the slot, and the closer to the rivit I could get.  I grew to like the 1 mm ball the best. 

 I cut off the tip of the feeler guage to make it square, and cut a little square corner off that, so that I could clear the rivits when I did the right side of the draw plate.  It works great for me. The negative about these embossing tools is that they are chrome plated steel, and the chrome wears off pretty rapidly, and then the steel deforms and it is no longer a ball.  I then tried a Stainless steel dental burnishing tool, but the smallest ball was too large for my liking. 

I think the actual term for my process is Burnishing, which to my thinking is the act of pushing metal aside by running a ball under pressure along the flat surface of a piece of metal, making a small trough.  Of course I am only making a trough on one side, being the slot, since the feeler guage is harder than the tool. 

While I was searching for a small stainless steel tool, I had a ball point pen in my hand, and noticed that the tip was exactly the tool I was looking for.  I removed the tip from and old long tip ball point pen that was dried up, and chucked it into a pin vice, and voila, I had the perfect embossing tool.  It is basicly a stainless steel ball, in a brass tapered sleeve, and is the right size, and it does not seem to wear out.  I dip it in mineral oil frequently.  It works for me.

Harvey Berman

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