There are a number of different lead working sticks from setting-in sticks, to bending dressers. Although they may appear to be quite similar in appearance, the main feature that helps to distinguish between bossing tools is the shape of the face which varies to suit particular lead working tasks.
A lead dresser, or lead dressing stick, has a flat face and is primarily used to smooth sheet lead before it is installed to form weathering on a roof. Dressing sticks can also be used during the installation of weatherings, for instance, to help push lead flashing into position.
A bossing stick is the main tool used to shape lead. It’s slightly rounded face is commonly used to set in corners on flashing but can also be employed to mould sheet lead around any external structure. Bossing sticks are sometimes used with a bossing mallet, particularly on thicker sheet metal.
A setting-in stick has a wedge-shaped face, similar to that of a chase wedge. It is used to reinforce or sharpen folds or angles in sheet weathering made out of lead or other soft metals. Setting-in sticks are sometimes used with a bossing mallet, particularly when working with thicker sheet metal.
A bending stick or bending dresser, is commonly used as an alternative to a bossing stick. Its slender shape makes the bending dresser an effective tool for more detailed bossing, where a more hefty bossing stick would not be suitable.
Although not technically a lead working stick, a bossing mallet is another extremely important tool used during the bossing process. It is often used alongside other lead tools, particularly during the formation of corners.
A bossing mallet can be used in one of two ways:
to strike a bending dresser or setting-in stick to form a fold,
as an internal support whilst the lead is struck by either a bossing stick or bending stick.