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Chasing hammer preference?


#1

Hello all,

Ive recently started learning how to do some chasing & have been
using a flat-faced hammer. Every now and then, the hammer doesnt hit
straight on so it doesnt get a good purchase on the chasing tool.
Most likely Im not holding the hammer right when that happens. My
question though, is whether or not any of you who also do chasing
have ever used one of the domed-face hammers?

How did you like it? Did you think it was any better or worse than
the flat-faced?

Thank you for any opinions you can share, Carol


#2
Every now and then, the hammer doesnt hit straight on so it doesnt
get a good purchase on the chasing tool. Most likely Im not holding
the hammer right when that happens. My question though, is whether
or not any of you who also do chasing have ever used one of the
domed-face hammers? 

The problem you describe is exactly why there is a domed face on
better chasing hammers. Flat ones are useful for some things, but
require hitting the tool dead on. The domed ones are better for
general chasing exactly because the impace will be the same over most
of the face of the hammer if the off center blow is, as is often the
case, due to slight rotation of the hammer head off it’s trajectory.

It’s also possible you’re using the hammer wrong. I find that I’m
more likely to mis hit with a chasing hammer if I’m wielding the
hammer with the same motion I might use with a planishing hammer or
mallet some other larger hammer. Chasing hammers are different. Much
more of the work is with the wrist, not the whole arm, which can be
held mostly in one postion. It’s the whip action of the slender
shaft of the hammer that gives it much of it’s power, rather than
your whole arm swinging it. You’ll find if you get that motion down,
mis hitting the punch is much less likely. Done right, the chasing
hammer is a gently used and feeling tool. If your arm or wrist is
getting tired you’re likely doing it wrong. You should be able to
swing that chasing hammer for long periods without fatigue if it’s
working right, and done like that, hitting the punch accurately too,
is easier.

Peter


#3

Carol,

First I’ve never used anything but a flat chasing hammer, so can’t
opine on using a domed face from experience, but I think it wouldn’t
be too nice. I routinely used a round hammer when sculpting
limestone

and it was great but the chisels don’t have to be aimed as carefully
as when chasing. To get the most from a chasing hammer takes
practice, practice, and then some more practice. It’s ultimately not
to hard. I use a few different sizes I’ve collected and select them
by small, medium, and large matching my chasing tools in the same
manner, based on experience.

I think the most difficult thing to get used to is that a chasing
hammer needs a narrowly shaved neck area on the handle. I usually am
under 3/8’’ at the narrowest and this means replacing handles more
often. I find that handles from jewelry suppliers are not so good
and

buy regular hickory hammer handles at Lowes, or where ever, and cut
them shorter and sand down the neck area. I don’t sand the handle in
the neck area down to the final dimension but rather get close and
then test the hammer. I then proceed to the final shape by shaving
with a razor blade or a sharp cutting edge held in a vise on a heavy
bench. Most chasing handles are oval shaped in the hand area to help
aim the hammer. I personally no longer incorporate this feature into
my hammers, but maybe thats just me.

Oh, and remember, don’t grab the chasing hammer, hold it like a
child’s hand. How you hold the hammer will ultimately become part of
your signature style! If Valentin Yotkov is following Orchid right
now, he could have much to add.

Daniel Culver


#4

To all who have responded to my question about chasing hammers,
thank you very much. It’s been a big help and I can make a better
choice of hammer to replace the cheapie I’m using now. I’m doing very
small chasing work on rings and soon other jewelry pieces, so that
will factor in on the decision as well.

Thank you again! Carol