Alloy stamp survival

you can harden them by heating them up to red hot and quenching
them. if you do this though you must then temper them by heating up
the centre of the stamp and watching the colour change towards the
tip of the stamp.

you want to see a golden straw colour on the stamping face then
quench. alternatively you can do this step by baking your stamps in
the oven at 300C for 4 hours then take them out and quench them.

It is not advisable to skip the tempering step as you will make the
stamps so hard that they will crack and chip. Most stamps that i had
purchased have come hardened and tempered so you might think about
looking for a different brand the next time you replace.

try this link

hope this helps

Hi Anna,

Its almost impossible to give you an easy answer without a lot more
from you.

You see, punches for marking other things range from brass ones for
book binders, to proper coining dies that take 100 tons per sq in.

So, you will need to,

  1. run a test with a file on one of your punches to check its
    hardness. if the file cuts the metal then its the wrong punch for the

  2. what metal are you embossing

  3. what thickness in thous, not gauge

  4. try your punches onto a bit of say tin can, not ali coke can
    supporting the metal on a piece of hard as in anvil steel and advise
    us if you have made an impression. You shouldnt emboss on rubber.

5.Where did you buy your punches, and from whom, or did you make
them yourself from for example from a 6in nail 6.Do you have an
engineers center punch, if so use this as a standard, punch with this
into the side of one of your punches and advise us if it marks the
punch Then reply to us here with all the requested


I'm wondering if you good people have any suggestions that might
help me keep them nice and sharp for longer? 

I suspect that the rubber base may require you to hit the stamp
substantially harder. That would reflect more impact back to the
stamp, but would also cause more distortion of the shape of the item
you’re stamping, though the rubber will prevent the back surface of
what you’re stamping from picking up a mark from a firmer surface. If
you could use something more like a polished brass surface, either
flat or shaped to support the shape of what you’re stamping, you may
need less force to get a good impression.

But I’m guessing that isn’t the problem with dulling stamps. More
likely, you’re just using less expensive, lower quality stamps. There
are some on the market, typically they are made of round steel stock,
sometimes nickle or chrome or some other electroplate finish. They’re
steel, but not as carefully heat treated as good stamps. The good
ones are characterized by being usually square or rectangle tool
steel, usually black in color from heat treatment. The impressions
are cut clearer and deeper than the cheap stamps. And these things
are not the cheap 8 dollar (random number pulled from my old head.
Not sure what those cost now) ones. I have some of that better sort
that I’ve had for 30 years, and they work almost like new. Of course,
there are exceptions. Some metals, especially the harder ones like
white golds or rose golds, titanium, steels, etc, simply are hard
enough that stamps will wear. But just a year? Sounds like a junky
stamp to me…

I agree with Peter. sounds like a cheap stamp. I also have been
using mine for over thirty years and do not notice any difference.
All are made from unattractive square stock. I stamp only gold and
silver and always over a polished steel slab using a chasing hammer.
I did recently want to get a new one because my 18K is German and
stamps 18ct (!), but I tried one out in a local store and it was
really crummy! I think, like Peter said, it was round shiny stock.

Janet in Jerusalem

My stamps are almost 30 years old and still give a sharp clear
impression. Could be that the stamps that are giving a problem are
made from a softer steel. Alma

I buy my custom and stock stamps from Steel Stamps Inc. They always
do a good job for me.

I have many stamps that I purchased or were made by our father over
50 years ago that still work just fine. They were hardened as was
described earlier by several posts to this topic and I always use a
steel block as the backer. I have various shaped grooves cut into the
backing block so that stamping doesn’t deform a piece that isn’t flat
in shape.

Stamping is important as a poorly stamped piece looks less that it
would otherwise. It isn’t as easy as just wacking the stamp with any

Spend some time practicing and use a dedicated hammer. Mine is a
short handled brass hammer. You will get used to using the same
weight and striking force and your marks will become more consistent.
My two cents.

Thanks. Rob