Tool Time Tuesday – Using Spacers in the Hydraulic Press

First, let me tell you how much I appreciate all of you. I received so many comments, phone calls and emails after my last blog post about bullying. Thank you so much. I truly feel loved. I am so sad to hear how many people have also been through that and still, as I do, deal with the lasting effects. I am glad to know that I do not stand alone.

This week has been off to a good start. Last week we were working in the studio with an electrician to get some more outlets in the studio. I am so happy about that. I seriously had something like 8 – 10 outlets in the studio and it is just no fun to trip over the cords, unplug and plug in equipment because you need something different. Now that things are finally sort of cleaned back up, I started to play a little bit. I had a large tool company ask me to evaluate some hammers for them and thought it was time to pull them out and run them through the ranks.

This is the result of my efforts yesterday….


This little bowl started life as a 3″ copper disc. I hammered it into a sand bag to get the initial shape and then followed that by forming on a stake and then finally a large 2″ dapping punch. It was so much fun to just hammer away for a while.

I liked it so much that I decided to see what I could accomplish using the hydraulic press. Here are my efforts from that little experiment. I will play around with it more. In the meantime, I will make little bases for these mini bowls as well.


And yes, I do believe this will be a project in my book.

Okay, on to the real reason of this post, TOOL TIME TUESDAY!!!

I have had a lot of people ask me about spacers and the hydraulic press. So I decided to make a quick video to show you how I work with the presses in my studio. Enjoy.

Video Link:

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8 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – Using Spacers in the Hydraulic Press

  1. Linda Greene

    I always enjoy watching your tool time videos, but I must say that the hand wrought bowl is the most beautiful. The machine made look of pieces created with hydraulic presses will never win me over I think. They always seem to have a “made in (insert 3rd world country here)” Keep the videos coming however, please keep your hammers and sand bags nearby as well. thanks!

  2. Judy

    Melissa, this is such s wonderful project, but I have not seen anything you have made that I don’t love. My favorite is still the lily pin you made when you were in Ohio.

  3. Denny Diamond

    Those little bowls, especially the hand chased one, are simply exquisite! How long must they have taken!
    What did you treat them with to get them so shiny?

    Can’t wait to see more!


  4. Jane

    Melissa, Thanks for this informative video on setting up the spacers in the press! I am new to embossing and press forming. I haven’t been able to clearly understand what the benefit of embossing with a rolling mill over a hydraulic press is – or if there is one. I haven’t bought either tool and I am trying to weigh the pros and cons before purchasing. Could you let me know your thoughts?


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