Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Having Fun With A Tucker Tool Shot Plate


I first came across these cool Tucker Tool dies in a Soham Harrison video on YouTube a while ago and immediately loved the decorative balls you could make with them. Then I realized you could only get them from the US and they were a bit hard to get hold of. Monsterslayer.com seemed to be permanently out of stock and another site I found that stocked them didn't reply to my email asking if they posted to the UK.....so I sort of forgot about it for a while.

Then I noticed Monsterslayer.com did have them back in stock and in a moment of over-indulgence ordered one knowing full well the postage was going to be quite high and that I'd have import VAT plus Parcel Force's stupidly high {even higher than Royal Mail's} handling charge on top. So it worked out to be a pretty expensive bit of metal.

You may have noticed the scratches on the plate in the photo......it didn't arrive like that - they were caused by me and a ball burr. But more of that later.

I started by melting some bronze scrap into balls and merrily hammered the first one in one of the holes on the shot plate.


It got stuck....
 So I tried using a fine silver ball to see if that worked any better. That got stuck too. It's recommended that you hammer a nail set or something similar into the back to prise the ball out. I used a centre punch but it wouldn't grip the metal and came out again. I hammered it in again and again but it just wouldn't stick into the metal. I then cut the excess off with a saw {which is why the back is flush with the plate in the photo} and tried heating the whole plate in the hope the silver and bronze would soften and I'd be able to get it out that way. That didn't work either. 

I was now beginning to think this purchase may have been a very expensive mistake! I decided to have another go and yes that ball got stuck too! 



                        The two holes in the back of it are from the centre punch in an attempt to get it out.


 My next attempt did work. The bronze ball was a bit mishaped to begin with which is why it's not perfect and there's a bit of a dent in the top but I'm just grateful it worked!


 I didn't hammer it as hard this time and it came out all by itself. I tried adding a bit of oil to the plate to help and things did improve as I got used to how hard and how many times to hammer the balls. I did manage to produce a few in bronze and fine silver that are usable. 



Then I watched a great YouTube video by Leslie Villarreal that shows how to use the shot plate and how to get the bloody balls out afterwards - I really wish she'd posted it a couple of weeks ago :D 

After watching it I feel more confident in what I'm doing and will have my oil and nail set ready for action next time I have a go!



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15 comments:

  1. These make such sweet formations! I'm glad you are getting the hang of it. YouTube is so helpful for techniques!

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  2. Interesting tool. I would probably have a fit if something like that happened to me, I'm glad you managed to get those out!

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    1. Yes I was very relieved they came out.....:D

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  3. Another way to get them out is to use a small drill bit to drill a hole in the back. Make the hole deep enough so that it extends up onto the sides of the drill bit, not just the tip. Flip the drill bit and put the other end into the hole. It will be an exact fit, and you can tip the shot out.

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    1. That's a great tip, thank you! I hadn't thought about using a drill bit.

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  4. Glad u found my video and it helped you darlin! I put all my videos on my new website www.lesliekailvillarreal.com

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  5. Hi. Just got the same problem. Did u manage to get out the ones that really stuck hard ? If u did please tell

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    1. Hi Helen, I did manage to get the stuck balls out by using a ball burr and my foredom to remove most of the metal then just prizing the rest of it out. A bit drastic really! I think the trick is to use a centre punch and hammer it in the back really hard so it grips the ball properly. Then it should come out ok :D

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  6. As I was reading this, I was thinking of Leslie's video! I was going to mention it to you, until I got the to end of your post and saw that you had seen it already! ;)

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    1. Thanks Simplish! It would have been useful to watch Leslie's video before I had a go!

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  7. I've also heard that you can put the whole plate in the freezer for a few (10?) minutes. The metal will contract and the shot should come right out.

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  8. I saw some posts on Instagram about using the oil after lots of frustrated users were getting their bits stuck! I'd love one of these - also lusting after Buffalo Rutland Co but I am afraid of the costs in getting such a heavy piece of kit posted to the UK. ;)

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I've tried it again since I wrote this post with slightly better results but it's still a bit hit and miss (literally!)

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