I have been accumulating an assortment of metal dies that you can use with either a hammer or the hydraulic press. Some are for impressing a pattern on thick wire to then form into a bracelet. Some are shot plates that use a formed metal ball stuck into the impression, then hammered. These become embellishments soldered to your jewelry projects. I recently ordered a lovely brass Indian die from Ebay and wondered how I could use it with the hydraulic press.
Richard Sweetman in his DVD "Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press", showed how to use pieces of bicycle inner tubing to press into the form. I had an inner tube I had picked up last year from the local bike shop and wanted to give that a try. I cut five round pieces, the same size as the metal die. Scotch tape held together my little package of die, annealed metal and five pieces of inner tubing. The result was a wonderful impression! I was so excited! I have to tell you I woke up at 3:00 in the morning remembering this part of the DVD, and was dressed in no time and preparing the stack to try with the hydraulic press. Here's the die with impressions in both copper and sterling silver.
Those inner tube pieces were destroyed!
Yesterday I visited the local bike shop again and came home with a lifetime supply! I'll be sure to post more photos of my impressions soon. Can't wait! For those of you without a hydraulic press, the video also showed the same method of impressing metal using a vise.