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Hand Stamping

  My question is one that concerns how to get my stamps deep
enough and straight.   Often they jump and I get a ghost image. 
Does this just need tons of practice, or should I place my metal on
something particular (a gripping plastic) to help keep it and my
stamp in alignment? -- 

Both the thickness of your metal and the surface underneath it have
a lot to do with stamping. Generally, if you’re looking for a deep
impression, you need to be using something heavier than 20 guage,
annealed, and stamp it on a dead steel surface. I rest the heel of
my hand holding the stamp on the bench surface, and hold the stamp
itself with at least three fingers (and a thumb), and use a fairly
heavy hammer so I don’t have to swing too wildly. I recently did as
many advise - I got a hammer with a brass head for stamping and I
like it (Harbor Freight, less than $10). It really seems to hold
onto the stamp on impact. It’s pretty heavy too (maybe 2 lbs, I’m
not sure) so its weight does most of the work. I think your shadows
might come from swinging a light hammer too wildly.


I used to have the same problem when I was stamping my work, a ghost
image or only half any image because the piece jumped. I have found
if you secure the piece to be stamped to the steel block with a few
small pieces of masking tape you then only have to hold onto the
stamp and you can get a firmer, straighter grip. That works for me
though I know it is a little extra work - the results are better.
Good luck. Grace