I have to recommend the new Fretz hammers, which I know are
available from both Rio and Otto Frei. I bit the bullet and purchased
a set after seeing and trying a friend's, and they are the best
investment I think I've ever made. The handles are beautifully
balanced and shaped rosewood and the heads are themselves works of
art. They come pre-dressed, but you can, of course, re-dress them
yourself if they don't suit your preferences.
The basic set of 5 includes 2 planishing, 2 raising, and an
embossing hammer. They've now come out with a set of 11 (Otto Frei
has them), as well. They can also be purchased individually (but
trust me, you get one and you're going to want more!).
Don't let their apparent small size fool you. They are ideally
weighted and can work even thick non-ferrous metals. With their
design, I can forge much longer and more effectively than I could
with heavier traditional hammers.
I really love them! There's also a new set of mini-stakes from Fretz
that I'm lusting over, but will wait a while on those.
Hope this helps!
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry