For moving metal without marring it, mallets are preferred over
steel hammers. Mallets can be made of leather, wood, plastic, horn,
rubber and even paper.
The ones in my books and videos are "dead blow" also called
"recoilless" or "bounceless" mallets. I find them far more superior
to the more common rawhide mallets, which leave marks and are
difficult to aim because they bounce back so forcefully. Try a dead
blow and you will see what I mean. The shot in the head floats as
the mallet comes down and then lands, preventing recoil. The head
stays were you slam it (no matter how hard you come down) and does
not budge, making your work much easier.
There are two basic types of dead blow mallets that I have found.
"Compothane" mallets are completely covered in some sort of black or
green rubber-like plastic, with shot in the business end. These are
also used for auto body work and come in a large range of weights.
They work fine.
However, I prefer the Swiss-made dead blow with a wooden handle and
two nylon tips on a metal head, also filled with shot. They leave no
mark and do not bounce back.
Keep the goldsmith's adage in mind when deciding on tool purchases:
"The right tool is half the job"
Here is the info from OttoFrei.com:
Deadblow Mallet Swiss #2 25 mm Head-12 Oz #6069
Part Number: 137.892
Unique nylon faced Swiss-made mallets have steel shot
contained inside the head that minimizes hammer bounce. Allows
for precise striking. They come in five sizes and weights, and
are made with quality hardwood handles. Style# 2, face
diameter 25 mm, head length 107 mm, overall length 305 mm,
weight 12 oz Price: $34.95
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94102