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Brass Hammer necessary for disk cutter?

Hello All,
I have a disk cutter which I will be using to cut sterling silver and brass of the recommended thicknesses. I have a short handled steel headed 2 lb sledge hammer to use, but wondered whether I have to use a 2 lb brass headed hammer instead. I would certainly be using eye protection.

Also is the brass headed hammer preferable for using with stamps, or is a steel headed hammer OK or preferred for those?

hi royjohn,

i was advised by Rio Grande tech support to use brass head mallets…with the disc cutters…i has a 1lb and 2lb…i use the 2lb one more…


royjohn…Most of the time I use my press. It allows me to safely cut thicker discs. My hammer is a brass hammer, I don’t know the weight, but it keeps you from distorting the punches. I always place the cutter on a urethane sheet when I use it…Rob


My understanding is that you always want the hammer to be softer than the tool you’re hitting, because if you used a hard steel hammer it can not only deform the punch or stamp but also affect the hardness of the tool. I think I read that eventually it could make a punch or stamp get brittle and crack. And I can imagine that being about five kinds of bad.


I am understanding that a brass hammer would be best…looking at all the brass 2 lb hammers available on Amazon, from about $30 to $60, they all have some reviews where someone says the head came off in the first week. Of the Harbor Freight hammer, one reviewer says it is brass plated with steel and/or lead inside and another says it mushroomed out a $1000 shaft…what make are you guys using?

I’m temped to put a brass cap on my steel 2 lb sledge and use that…brass cap easy to make and a lot cheaper than a $40, 2 lb hammer. My steel 2 lb-er cost me about $4, used. -royjohn

Royjohn –
I have the HF 2lb hammer and the head is made of solid brass. Works great.
But, except for small discs in thin gauge metal, I use a big ‘C’ clamp or vice or hydraulic press with my disc cutters.
– alonzo

Hi Alonzo,
Don’t have a press, but would my 3 inch HF vise work any better than a 2 lb hammer? -royjohn


i have this 2lb brass mallet from rio grande ($40)… one review talks about the head being threaded, but this head is not threaded…(there is a $20 version that looks like the head might be threaded)…the face on one side was not quite perpendicular…

i found my 1lb brass mallet at an old tool sale…i love old tool sales…i think it was $10…


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Yeah, a similar model to the Rio one is going for ~$30 on Amazon and 5 to 10% of reviews say it comes apart quickly. But this seems to be true of most of the brass hammers for sale there, so IDK…maybe a cheap hammer for small circles and use the vise for bigger ones… -royjohn

Hi, Royjohn –
A 3" vice might be a little small but, try it. I use a woodworkers vice: opens wide, large, smooth, flat jaws. Mostly I’m cutting 3/4" to 1 1/4" discs from 22 - 24 ga. silver, copper, brass in a Swanstrom cutter so it doesn’t require too much pressure. I have a 1 3/4" cutter (Pakistan) that has no bevel on the face of the punch and it works best in the hydraulic press.
– alonzo

I’ve got this one and it works fine for me, but if you can handle the 2lb brass mallet linked elsewhere I’d go with that. I have to be very careful about hammering because I’ve got joints that dislocate with little provocation and arthritis that looks like double my actual age.

I use the short handled brass hammer that you have posted for marking. I like the control that the short handle gives me as I tend to over strike my stamps. I use the 2 lb. brass hammer for disc cutting when I am not using my press. They both work well and I have never had a problem with them. The faces are getting a little chewed up, but that is the idea…Rob

Just popping in to ask if anyone uses a 2lb deadblow hammer, instead of brass? It’s all one piece and wouldn’t come apart.

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I’ve used a rubber-coated deadblow hammer from the hardware store on my economy disc cutter for years; this disc cutter doesn’t have the screw mechanism that brings the upper and lower plates together to hold the metal in place. The punches have not deformed, but I am now constantly tightening the allen screws that hold it together; I suspect the force from the deadblow hammer is too much for this model.

I would NOT use the deadblow hammer on my expensive top-of-the-line disc cutter; I purchased a 2lb. brass hammer to use instead.

I’m not sure that the dead blow hammer had anything to do with loosening the screws moreso than a brass headed hammer…if anything the deadblow hammer cased in rubber would cushion the blows and make it less likely to loosen the screws. I’d get some loctite and apply it to the screw threads and tighten them back up. Vibratiion from banging on it is loosening it up and I think that if you used the brass headed hammer for a while, it would do the same thing. -royjohn

wouldn’t be a problem. It is the weight and hitting power that is needed. Steel can splinter and spark that is why no steel on steel. If you have ever seen a piece of steel come off a hammer or punch being worked steel on steel, you would definately abvoid Rubber can be damaged hitting a steel punch or stamp. Dead blow hammers are fine.

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I use a cheap Harbor Freight deadblow hammer and have had no problems in 20 years. Easier on the ears, too


speaking of ears!…i have been using “over the ear”
style ear protectors, like used at gun ranges…and they seem to damped the noise well when i am forging…

(my dad had high frequency hearing loss from being near airplanes, so i try to be mindful of my ears)