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Double sided hammering

Just wondering if someone could tell me how to get a hammered texture
on both sides of my sheet metal. I hammered one side with a regular
ball hammer on my steel block. The back side was smooth. Then when I
turn it over and hammer the back side, the front side turns smooth
and I loose all the work I just did. I’ve tried hammering the second
side on a firm but softer service (I used a piece of cardboard
because I don’t have a sand bag), but I can’t get the dimples as
deep and I still loose some of what I have on the front. Any
suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Heather,

Not an easy trick you seek, even if it does seem like it’d be dirt

The only way I can think of to do it would be to rig up a sort of
"C" frame where the bottom of the frame has a dapping punch facing
up, to do the dent into the underside of the sheet, and the top has a
sliding dapping punch facing down, to do the top. Put the metal in
between, and tap away. There are a couple of variations of this idea
that’d work, like a hinged affair, but that’s the basic idea.

If your hammer control is really good, you could try clamping your
’bottom’ hammer in a vise, and then hammering on top of it. You’d
have to make sure that you always brought the upper hammer down
accurately on the absolute crown of the curve of the lower hammer.
(that’s what the “C” rig does for you)

I’ve faked similar effects by way of hammering one side, and then
engraving ‘hammer’ grooves on the other side, but that was a very
specific pattern of long thin hammer marks that lent itself to being
faked with a graver. (which is why I picked it…) Large scale
engraving of ‘hammer’ marks is not a commercially viable (or even
sane) technique. I just did it on very specific areas of a couple of
high end pieces because it was the only way I could think of to get
the effect I wanted.


I hammered one side with a regular ball hammer on my steel block.
The back side was smooth. Then when I turn it over and hammer the
back side, the front side turns smooth and I loose all the work I
just did. 

Hammer into synthetic clay for the second face. Make sure you get a
nice firm clay with no sulphur.

Regards Charles A.

You want to use a convex anvil. If the curvature of the anvil
matches the curve of the hammer you should get equal sized dimples on
both sides at once. Doing this freehand will require a fair amount of
practice, as if you don’t strike where the piece is supported you’ll
sink the metal rather than just dimpling it.

If this is a finish you plan on using a lot it might be worth
constructing a mini trip hammer. You could use a pair of equal sized
dapping punches, one as the anvil another as the hammer.



I use a Delrin block 3" X 3" X 2". To be specific it is known in the
industry as natural extruded acetal plate which is a nylon like
substance available from many plastics supply houses. The block is
held in a 5" heavy vise and I use it when I need a hammer texture on
both sides of the metal. Be sure your metal is initially annealed and
do both sides on the block, not one on steel and the other on the
delrin, as the two sides will not match. You will have to give up
some depth of depression so use a hammer with a little rounder or
sharper peen than you would on steel. Really shallow arc hammers like
standard planishing hammers will be the least effective.

It also helps if the depth of depression created by the hammer does
not exceed half the thickness of the metal otherwise the second side
hammering will still affect the first.

The material is easy to work although very, very tough. You can
either sand it smooth as necessary or have one surface and two sides
milled square and flat to get a good hammering surface and two good
holding surfaces for the vise. I also use 14ga aluminum vise jaw
covers to protect the material from abrasion by the jaw faces.

Following is a source I found that will cut to size. A 4" X 4" X 2"
block would be around $16 plus postage. I’ve never used this company
(I bought what is turning out to be a lifetime supply of Delrin some
years ago) but the fact they will cut to size is good reason to give
them a call.

Good luck,

Les Brown

Hi Heather,

What I have done is textured my hammer face and then put the same
texture on a piece of steel block, I then hammer on one side and the
texturing takes place on both sides. This might be a bit hard when
just wanting the ball peen hammer look.

Good luck,

Ken Moore

well you have a few different solutions, one is to hammer the one
side resting on a steel block then when you go to the other side you
rest the peice on softer material like a peice pine wood, or the
steel block padded with felt, or peice of carpet or news paper. the
other is to hammer the one side and then opposite side instead of
resting it ona flat piece of steel or wood, you hold it onto another
ball peen hammer ( which you have placed into a bench vise) in this
case cause that is your texture, so altimately the metal peice being
squeezed from both sides with 2 ball peens or whatever other hammer
or texture you are useing. I have a rust texture I use, so I have a
hammer that I purposefully rusted and a flat peice of steel that I
rusted so both sides get done at the same time.

Atelier Hratch Babikian

I suppose you could use a spring fuller tool, the faces usually
match up, and if they don’t you can bend them into place.

Regards Charles A.

Hammer into synthetic clay for the second face. 

Many if not all of the methods people have posted will do it, one way
or another. What I’d do is mount a dapping punch in a big vise,
unless you have some special holder. Then hammer the sheet onto that.
You likely won’t get identical textures on both sides (you could turn
it over and hammer again, too). I don’t consider that the end of the
world, myself.

Don’t get too fancy here, and don’t over engineer your process. Take
an old ballbeen hammer with a polished peen and set it into a sturdy
vice with its peen facing up. Hammer the top of the sheet with your
ballpeen over the other making sure you are hitting true. Duh, both
sides will be done at the same time.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.


For the opposite side, a thick piece of soft leather sitting on the
anvil works great.

What I want to know is how do you forge after texturing without
messing up your texturing? Do you forge and then texture on the
forged shape? I guess the second peen would facilitate that. Any
other suggestions?

I’ve had some success doing this by using a tough rubbery film called
Tuff Brake on my block to cushion the piece a little while stamping
the opposite side. This is some cool stuff that I read about here a
few years ago, and have found several useful ways to employ it- like
around my bracelet mandrel.


What I want to know is how do you forge after texturing without
messing up your texturing? Do you forge and then texture on the
forged shape? I guess the second peen would facilitate that. Any
other suggestions? 

Blacksmith hat on:

When we twist a piece of thin square section, sometimes the piece
needs to be straightened. You can’t use a steel hammer, other wise
you blemish the twists.

We use a soft wooden mallet. The wooden mallet is marred, but the
metal is formed with out blemish.

Regards Charles A.

Hello Heather,

In the dim past, this question was explored on Orchid. The
responder’s name escapes me, but here is the answer given:

Purchase a common strap hinge with equal, triangular sides, some
wood screws, a domed carriage bolt (with the raised letters filed off
and polished smooth), and another polished carriage bolt with nut.
Mount one side of the hinge on a sturdy piece of wood (like a 2x4)
and drill through the end screw hole so that you can screw in the
domed bolt. On the free side of the hinge, in the matching end,
insert the domed bolt and secure with its nut. It may be necessary to
cut the bolt shorter if you use a long bolt.

The two polished carriage bolts should meet, dome to dome, as mirror
images. Place your metal between the bolts and hammer on the nut.
Both sides of the metal will be hammered. If your wood base is
clamped to your bench, you can hold the metal and shift it around
between the bolts while hammering. In time it will be necessary to
repolish the bolts, but that’s easy.

I hope the description makes sense. If not, feel free to email me
off line and I can send you a photo.

Judy in Kansas