I do not own any expensive hammers. I am going to treat myself for
Christmaswith a couple. I would like to ask all you experts, what
are your favoritese?
I do not own any expensive hammers. I am going to treat myself for
I do not own any expensive hammers. I am going to treat myself for Christmaswith a couple. I would like to ask all you experts, what are your favoritese?
I love the Fretz planishing hammer. I also really love the
Peddinghaus nylonmallet but that isn’t really a high end hammer.
If I were to splurge, I’d get something from NC Black or Seth Gould.
My husband treated me to some Fretz hammers a couple of years ago.
They are really beautiful hammers, which feel great in the hand and
are a lovely weight. The faces are beautifully polished too, so you
don’t mar your work. I have a planishing hammer, and a few different
ones for texturing. I LOVE them!
There are many, varying from those that work really well but don’t
look especially luxury (peddinghaus are often like this, as are,
frankly, many of the simple dixon silversmithing hammers) But the
fretz or M. C. Black hammers not only look very good, but work just
as well too.
And one more, that doesn’t at first glance look too different, but
really is. The Bonny Doon urethane mallet is unique in the way it
moves metal gently, without marks. The urethane conforms to the
metal, transmits forces unlike any other plastic, rubber, or rawhide
mallet. It’s brilliant. Not everyone needs one, though. It works
better on slightly larger things. If you’re work is earring or small
ring scale, you might not need it too often, but even at that scale,
I find uses for mine
And one final note, just because a hammer or other tool is expensive
does not always mean it’s the best as a tool. sometimes you’re paying
more for looks or name. Which is OK, so long as you understand that
Re: Peter Rowe’s comment that the most expensive hammer is not
always the est. I’ve spent about 15 years acquiring and modifying
tools for my bench. A Foredom motor from an old dentist’s drill, a
modified watchmaker’s bench, a 19th century douzieme gage and
various pliers and hammers, variously ground and polished. Took the
thick handled $5 Chinese chasing hammer and shaved it down to
fighting weight. Etc. Harbor Freight has numerous hammers which
could be useful for jewelry work, either out of the box or modified.
Not disputing the beauty and utility of Swiss and German pliers or
Fretz hammers, but jewelers are tool snobs and many of the preferred
tools, while funto “wear,” don’t work that much better than cheaper
alternatives. If you can get it from someplace besides a jewelry
supply, it is likely to be cheaper. All this expensive tooling adds
to the expense hole you are standing in. Rather buy a $5 hammer and
make ten pair of $5 earrings, and THEN take the extra money and buy
the fancy tool, if liked.
If someone has to buy me tools as presents, does this mean I’m just
too frugal to indulge myself, or that I can’t afford them on my
If someone has to buy me tools as presents, does this mean I'm just too frugal to indulge myself, or that I can't afford on my income?
As opposed to someone recognizing your passion, and being
When it needs to be explained, isn’t th point, lost?
I agree with rkersey. One can get inexpensive tools and modify them
so thatthey perform excellently. I once took a workshop in
anticlastic raising and the list of supplies required some very
expensive hammers. As I was not sure I was planning on doing much
anticlastic raising, I got a very inexpensive cross peenone at an
auto supply house, refined the head, and polished it smooth.
I was seated next to our instructor who inadvertently during the
demo, picked up my hammer, used it, then exclaimed,
“Hey, whose hammer is this? It is great.” The hammer made the rounds
of the room and everyone agreed it was just perfect for our needs.
However, I do agree that for some tools I am willing to pay top
price===files, pliers, drill bits, burrs, saw blades, etc. Alma
I’ve found that the handle is more critical than the hammer head, as
long as the weight is right. Once I file/shave/sand the handle to the
proper shape and size, I can’t tell the difference between it and an
expensive hammer. With an expensive hammer, you, pay someone else to
(initially) shape the handle for you. Then you adjust it yourself to
fit you. A good exercise is to get a cheap hammer, modify the handle
until it’s right (you’ll know) and then decide if a higher priced
hammer is worth the cost in time and effort.
I’m of an age where when I go to my friends homes I see a lifetime of
collecting nice cars, furniture, art. lovely houses, clothes, etc.
Then I think “Hey! I’ve worked hard all my life. Where is all MY
nice stuff?” Then I go downstairs to our studio and turn on the
lights and then I remember “Oh yeah. Tools.”
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo, someone once told me that she who dies with the most tools,
wins! I guess I subscribe to the same philosophy.
Jo, someone once told me that she who dies with the most tools, wins! I guess I subscribe to the same philosophy.
Well, maybe. But I think a better one is he/she who dies with the
most friends and family wins. Or even better, he or she who figures
out how to not die would be the bigger winner…
I’ve always liked Woody Allen’s take on it, which was something
along the lines of “I don’t want to reach immortality through my
work. I want to achieve it by not dying.”
But barring that, well, a really nice hammer is a good thing.
My take was always “He who dies with the largest gross tonnage of
toys wins”. (For those who’ve seen my garage, this shouldn’t be a
It started as a joke with a buddy of mine when I bought a 3200 pound
fly press. And ended when he bought 17 tonnes of wrought iron
(For the wrought iron plate. Hasn’t been made in about 120 years,
and this was 17 tonnes of high grade 5/8" plate. A little squished
from when they knocked the water tower down, but still…)
Ps"> Speaking of hammers, for those who saw/remember the
frankenhammers, they’re coming back soon… Stay tuned.
Regarding dying with the most tools -
From a different field, but same principle, this memory. When I
moved from the interior of BC to the wet coast, an older mentor of
mine suggested I look up his even older former mentor, a man well on
in years, an expert in fine woodworking and antique restoration. In
the busy-ness of getting settled in a new place, setting up my new
shop and all it was not until several months later when, by a fluke,
I ran into the old guy. He had set up a temporary exhibit of his
work and methods in a shopping mall and was demonstrating the tricks
of his trade to the barely interested shoppers passing by. I walked
up and introduced myself as a student of his former student. He
brightened right up and said he was really pleased to meet me as he
was sure I’d appreciate a miraculous event that had happened to him
that very morning.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I’ve reached Nirvana,” was his answer. I pressed him for some
details. Nirvana is a state I hope to inhabit before I’m gone.
“How did you know when you got there? How did it happen?” I asked.
He said, “I went out to my shop this morning with a cup of coffee.
As I stood there, just looking around at things, a strange feeling
crept over me. I suddenly realized that for the very first time in
my entire life” (he was in his mid-nineties at the time) " I
couldn’t think of one single more tool that I needed."
It’s hard to know what to make of this rare occurrence. It’d be too
simple to make the connection between this miraculous event and the
fact that he left this life soon afterwards. I mean, at his age that
was not unexpected. Can we attribute his departure to the fact that
he finally had it all? Perhaps, with the eternal search for more
tools over and done with he’d lost the will to live? Who can say?
Meanwhile, in my mid-seventies now, my ardor for new acquisitions is
somewhat reduced. For practical reasons alone this is a good thing.
There’s hardly room for more. I don’t even use half of what I’ve
already got. But, just to be on the safe side, I won’t stop
Marty in Victoria - halfway from here to there.
i realise i am a bit late but my favourite hammers are from Karl
Fischer - a 750 g stretching hammer, a 500 g polishing hammer, and
their 90 mm jeweler’s hammer- (it has a very handy round flat face
and a nicely weighted beveled side for grooving, bordering, etc.).
They also sell a really nice grooving hammer in various weights with
or without handles (which they sell a variety of styles and wood
species for customising). I use the grooving hammer and stretching
hammers to forge stock to my bidding! (I also love my hammer
handpieces!). And I agree with Jo and Susan wholeheartedly, my tools
mean a lot to me (having lost my entire studio to hurricane Katrina
in 2005 - replacing my tools has been a long - and ongoing- process
and reclaiming the things I could ha been equally eye opening and a
lesson in metallurgy! Without the generous gifts of tools and
consumables from Orchidians at that time I could not have continued
to work at all). My tools represent many possibilities to me and i
wouldn’t trade them for anything (though i have been tempted on
I have a couple of favorite hammers. One is a century old chasing
hammer, one is an old auto body hammer with a long spike on one end
(fits my hand perfectly), my Delrin mallet and a vintage small
forming/planishinghammer that makes perfect rivets every time. The
rest of my hamners run the gamut from 150 years to 3 years, but
One thing Ill mention re hammers is the importance of the handle.
Most here in the UK come with an ash wood handle tho other woods have
been used. However Ive come across many old as in pre bessemer steel
process hammers(always looking out for them) that are made from
wrought iron with crucible steel fire welded to the working faces.
I find that re handling the all with mallacca cane which is much
more springy than any other wood, is a boon to their use, However, its
not something you can just go and buy anywhere. So where do I get
mine from? Thats easy as so many old cane furniture pieces are a
virtually free source. Thats from our local re cycling centers where
folk dump old furniture. There glad for me to take them away for
free. It comes up to 1.3in in dia.
Tho of course a sledge hammer as in say 7lbs weight is with an ash
handle. Mainly for belting old farm machinery!!.
Regarding hammers, I bought a very light hammer some years ago at an
"antique" shop. It is so light that I can’t use it, is there any way
to add a bit of weight? I’m willing to tape, wind, glue,
if you are willing to -why not cast a new head in delft clay, since
I don’t know if the head or handle is lighter and more problematic-
if it’s a particularly light handle replace it, if it’s the head and
you like the style of the hammer you can using a pantograph or I
suppose a computer or just a printer’s enlarging function (ah, age!)
to increase the size and using a heavier alloy (like jeweler’s bronze
which is readily available and has the added benefit of being softer
than the steel of which most hammers are cast. Not having a
description limits the suggestions- don’t add lead weights no matter
how easy or immediate the result will be since you can forge the
material into a sheet or strip and wrap the body with the metal ! You
could drill the head and fill it with a metal heavier than the
original but that’s as much work as just casting a new one! wrapping
the body with wire will add a slight bit of weight- and it’s
removable if the experiment fails!..rer