Mini-Spoons For Solje Pin

by sheltech on August 19, 2012




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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly Sunwall January 21, 2017 at 3:09 am

Hi, I have a small simple solje pin that is probably close to 60 years old. It was mine as a child but was stepped on and broken. It is missing some spoons. Is this something you could repair? I wouldn’t want to spend a fortune as it has mostly sentimental value, but I would sure like to have it fixed. Thanks! Holly Sunwall

SANDRA JOHNSON December 4, 2013 at 2:34 am

I would love to learn how to make those little spoons for Soljie pins. My grandparents came from Norway. and I have a couple Soljie pins. but I think it would be so cool to learn to make them. Know how I can learn? Thank you!

Jeanne Stewart August 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

You did a fantastic job on fabricating these spoons for my pieces and you did it so quickly! Loved to hear how you made the spoons.

I would recommend you to anyone who had special requests for sterling silver fabrication!
Thank you.

Jeanne Stewart August 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

You did a fantastic job on these spoons for the Solje pins. I would recommend your work to anyone needing some special pieces for their jewelry pieces.

sheltech August 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm

The bottom pic if of the piece my customer is reproducing. It’s spoons are shallower than the sample I made the tooling for . The top two shots are (obviously) of the tooling I made for doming the deeper spoons. Just a bit more involved work shaping the teardrop-shaped punch ; all very basic handmade fabrication work, using custom pancake dies , hole punch,and doming set to speed things up.


sheltech August 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

Fishing lures is an acceptable answer . I was thinking more along the lines of ceremonial chain mail for the Chihuahua Overlords.

roscoe sr August 20, 2012 at 1:57 am

Looks like fishing lure silver spoons , maby fish will think its a little skool of fish if used for fishing ???

mimi shulman August 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Just out of curiosity, what would you have charged for a job like that. I would have just carved a wax and cast them. With tumbling, cleanup would have been speedy. I had a similar job of making “splotches” on a bracelet (Photo in my attached Flickr pages) for a film and I had to make multiples. That is how I did mine.

sheltech August 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

This was a job sent to me by Jeanne Stewart ; for making tiny , spoon-like …. spoon thingies , teardrop -shaped, about 5/16″ by 3/16″ , domed about 1/8″ deep, with a hole at the top of the tear . Okay , done things just like this a hundred times , no problemo ; only never as small , so potentially muchos problemos. Not a billion spoons, which would call for expensive tool & die work , so I might the right person for the job ; more than a few though , so I had to make a fairly efficient, quick setup.

Being the right person for the job, as it turned out, I first got a sample spoon and flattened it out to use as a pattern for making a pancake die with five tiny spoon cutters on it. Very small , and all needing to fit into the dapping set I had planned , and of course , all needing to be the same , the sawing on this particular die had to be my best , which , in fact, it turned out to be. Nice …. good start .

Next was the punch half of the dap set ; again, not unfamiliar ground, but tricky because of it’s size . I started by sawing out a teardrop-shaped plug from a 1/8″ thick piece of steel, and (hard silver ) soldering that to a handle , which was the long arm of an old hex key , chosen for it’s strength and stiffness . The hex shape left the tip of the teardrop unsupported , so I easy- soldered an angled brace going from the teardrop tip up to the side of the punch handle . Also nice… things are going well.

Next phase was scrounging a nice little 1/2″ thick block of white nylon , carving out a rough teardrop in it with the old flexshaft and round bur . Then I used my old method of heating the punch end and pushing it into the nylon block to finalize the shape of the depression. This takes a few steps of gradual melting and cleaning away the excess melted material that gets pushed up around the depression , and a little practice to get the right amount of heat . This step requires good ventilation, btw . I had planned on making a fence to locate the parts exactly over the depression for doming , but after trying it out without a fence, and it working fine , it ended up fence-free. Very nice …. peachy-keen , swell, and nifty now. Downright spiffy .

On to the final frontier – punching holes in a pile a of teensy-tiny little spoon thingies not really even big enough to get a hold on with fingertips . Deal with handling later, need a small hole punch setup now. I have a DiAcro #2 4-ton manual press that I’ve rigged some hole punches up with, some real-live punch and die sets and some funky, homemade ones made from drill bits (the punch part) and thin plates of tool steel (the die parts) .
This is pretty straightforward , using a stack of three plates . I made the actual die plate from 1/16″ steel and hardened it (after drilling a 1.15 mm hole in it, of course !) . This is the plate that the punch pushes through to do the actual cutting of the hole. The punch itself is simply the stem of a 1.15 mm drill bit. This is an automatically perfectly-fitting hole punch set : a plate with a hole drilled in it, and the same-sized drill bit. The drill drills a minimally larger hole , just enough for clearance ; the trick is to have the press that facilitates perfect alignment of punch and die, and also perfectly aligning the three plates and their functioning areas in the press.

The die plate is the bottom plate of the stack, and on top of it goes the part-alignment plate , which is for locating the tip of the spoon underneath the punch/bit . This guide plate is made from 1/32″ steel, not needing to be thick, as the little spoonies are only made of 30 g, sterling sheet. Top plate of the stack is the stripper plate , which functions to hold the part down as the punch/bit is raised after each punch . It’s a little complicated to build all this exactly , and harder to explain than I’m going to bother (you) with , but also, in some ways, not really hard, just a bit tricky because of the precision required; a tousandth or two of and inch matters . Basically , I make all the plates with their functioning areas, get them all lined up exactly with matched sets of holes drilled and pins holding them in place , and then put that stack in the press, screwing the stack in loosely. Then the punch/bit is lowered through the die plate hole, and with this critical alignment in place, the whole affair is tightened up and ready to rock. Extra-super-duper spiffy , mucho badass now , ladies and gentlemen.

Then came the actual making of the little spoonies, all 400 or so of them . Five at a time blanking went pretty fast, though I did take a lot of time to load the strips in so that tab cleanup would be minimal . I ended up doing that and the hole punching all at the hole punching press in a combined step of grabbing a spoon and placing it in the jaws of a smooth duckbill pliers , filing the tab area quickly, and then adjusting the spoon’s position in the pliers correctly for the hole punching, and then punching the hole. Doming these went smoothly and fairly quickly too ; a bit of skilled dapping and the parts are nicely shaped and loose enough in the nylon block to nudge out with a fingernail.

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