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Q - hand stamping


#1

Much has been discussed recently on the use of stamps on metal ( and
not to use leather stamps b/c they are not strong enough to stand up
to the force of the hammer on metal).

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? I cannot afford to purchase any stamping 'machine/gizmo’
types of things seen in catalogues… I have a particular project in
mind that requires stamping of a sentence on a rectangular piece of
wire, and it has not worked very well yet. Any help would be much
appreciated.

Thanks,
Heidi in AZ
HP Designs
Heavenbound Perspective
@H_Peters


#2

You CAN use the leather stamps but they need hardening. I was taught
to do this by heating them up to red heat, plunging them into hoof
and horn (an old blacksmiths trick to convert the outer shell of the
stamp into steel) polishing them and then using the "Tip to straw"
method.

Works fine!

Stamping deep enough and straight means practice, a steady hand and
a nice heavy hammer! I strap my pieces down onto a steel block with
masking tape, use a pencil to mark the line the letters stand on and
then a straight bar of steel so that I can push the stamp onto this
to get a good line up of the words. Then go at it using my Mum to
hand me the right letter at the right time - she spells better than I
do…

Tony Konrath


#3

Heidi, I have stamped more marks than I care to imagine. Yes,
practice helps. Stamp on a steel surface, hold your stamp upright
and use a chasing hammer to hit the stamp. Don’t try to hit the
stamp hard and hit it only once. The ghost is caused when the stamp
slips which can happen if you hold the stamp at an angle. I hold
the stamp with my fingers near the bottom of the stamp so that it
has less of a tendency to lean.

Good luck to you,
Deb Karash


#4

Heidi, A technique that leather workers use in tooling ( or “carving”)
leather. is to put the piece to be stamped on a marble slab. this
stops the bounce but still provides a firm surface. Might work for
metal too… :slight_smile:

Mark Thomas Ruby
SunSpirit Designs
Loveland, CO
970 669-7075


#5
    You CAN use the leather stamps but they need hardening. I was
taught to do this by heating them up to red heat, plunging them
into hoof and horn (an old blacksmiths trick to convert the outer
shell of the stamp into steel) polishing them  and then using the
"Tip to straw" method. 

Tony, I would like to try this, but as I’m not a blacksmith could you
elaborate a bit on “hoof and horn” and “tip to straw”? Not a clue
here… Thanks

Jim Marotti
Lancaster, TN


#6

I suggest a big solid piece of steel. The bigger the better. In fact
I found that a 6" x 6" x 3" chunk of tool steel is way better than
the same size cast steel or mild steel. It seems denser. Absorbs the
hammering, and also you cane use a lighter hammer like a repousse
hammer and get very good results. Anneal the metal, and hit twice:
once lightly to locate the stamp and a second time HARD to do the
business - like da-DAH!

Brian
B r i a n A d a m
B u s h J e w e l l e r y W o r k s h o p s
www.adam.co.nz/workshops/bush


#7

Howdy Folks, My instructor claims the double strike problem arises
from the tool steel-to-tool steel bounce and this can be reduced by
using a brass hammer.

Carl
1 Lucky Texan


#8

Hoof and horn is a mixture of filings obtained from fitting a horses
shoe (I suppose you could save your toe nail clippings!) that you can
get either directly from a blacksmith or there’s a similar product
from garden supplies companies - it’s sold as a slow acting
fertilizer. You heat the punch until it’s red hot and then push it
under the material. It smells dreadful - but the iron absorbs enough
carbon to make an outer casing of steel.

To make the punch flexible in the shaft but hard at the end you need
to heat it to red heat and then cool it slowly. Then polish the punch
until it shines. Apply heat about 1/2 inch from the working end until
the very tip goes a straw color and then plunge it into water so that
it cools fast.

Others may have far simpler methods of tempering and hardening
tools.

Tony Konrath


#9

For lettering to work well, establish a baseline, by dragging
dividers, one leg on and one leg off, the metal in question.

Good lighting and a high polish, both on the receiving metal, and
the marker-in-the-recesses blackened stamp, will give you a good
reflection to judge where the individual stamp gets applied. It also
helps you to judge letter and word spacing.

For stamp bounce, a little shock-absorptive material below the
receiving metal will help. Poster- or bristol- board might help as
might multiple sheets of paper. Whatever works, just get the
variable defined with some equivalent gauge copper scraps.

Good luck to you, H Peters!
Dan Woodard – IJS