Signing Your Pieces

Hi Gang,

If you’ve got a flexshaft, you can put a hammer handpiece on it.
Then by placing a pointed tip in the handpiece you can use it to sign
your name or put whatever marks you want on a piece. The nice thing
about the hammer handpiece is the tips can be changed & the handpiece
used to texture metals or even set stones.


Hi Grace,

I have been using an electric engraver that I bought at Sears over 20
years ago. There are also electric engravers sold through jewelry
suppliers. They work well. Many people like to see a signature on a
one-of-a-kind handmade piece.

Cynthia Eid

I really appreciate all the responses to my question - I should have
been more clear - I am looking for something other than a stamp -
none-the-less, I did get many great ideas from the responses. Thanks
so much to all.


I sign my work w/ either a series of stamps or a.4mm round burr. It
depends on the piece and the that will be put on it.

On rings I almost always stamp them inside with a traditional bent
style ring stamp. The face of the stamp is convex to accomodate the
curve of the inside plane of the ring. I stamp the quality or
contents and my hallmark. (I’m aware of the quality stamp regs
regarding stamping individual elements, but this is how I do it. You
can always stamp, I believe, to the lowest karat and be alright…)
As someone already said, bent stamps work fine for flat work as well,
although a very lengthy stamp–many letters-- may be distorted: the
center of the convex bulge may be driven quite deep in a flat piece
before the end letters show up.

I also make many brooches. On pieces that are more organic in
nature, more thin and attenuated or without significant flat spots, I
“write” the on with a bur. I do this dead last, after
patina, etc., since the visual strength of this method relies to some
degree on cutting through any patina.

I also use this method when I don’t have stamps for some of the
ingredients such as bronze or shibuichi. I’ve been meaning to get
these stamps made, but…

I almost never directly stamp anything but rings. On brooches,
neckpieces, earrings, etc. I either use the bur method or apply a
pre-stamped section to the appropriate area. Even the on the
aforementioned organic brooches, I’ll sometimes saw and file a strip
or shape of metal to a contour that fits the area where I wish to
incorporate the "stamp’ and then stamp all the info–including year
and sometimes month–onto that strip and then solder this pre-stamped
element to the brooch, etc. On flat backed work I’ll also apply the
stamp, often as a flattened “blob” which I liken to sealing wax.

Stamping the metal itself, even when I can (other than rings, which
are thick), distorts and stretches the metal. It doesn’t work for

Hope this helps,
Andy Cooperman

Grace, I use a electric engraver that I got from the hardware store.
It works fine, jut spend a little time practicing on scrap metal. I
think I spent all of $6 on it. :slight_smile:

Lisa Hawthorne

I use a Suhner LGS 30 Air Hand Tool. I used to use a Stamp and it
did look professional. I think it it is a matter of personal
preference, however I create wildlife jewelry and I think it adds a
personal touch to my pieces when I sign and number them. It works for

you can find out more about this tool @

Grace and Tom,

How about the old fashioned VibraTool engraver. I’m sure there are
many brands available now but I got mine about 60 years ago. They are
a little hand held device that plugs into the wall and gives you a
variable speed and/or amplitude vibrating carbide tipped "scribing"
point. You can use the sharp point to make a simple fine line or
modify the tip to make it broader or add more texture. It’s very much
like writing with a pencil.

I see one in the Harbor Freight website listed as “electric
engraver”, #46099 OVGA, $9.99.

Of course, down the road a ways, you’ll design a logo and make, or
have made, a stamp and think, “Gad, how primitive my signing used to

Dr. Mac

maybe just my initials 

like my posts, i use ‘ive’ put on the back of every piece of work
with a steel bur. doesn’t have to be fancy or perfectly registered,
just identifiable.

there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to use any other method of
authorship - stamps can be used only after work is completed and
usually distort the front of work if stamped hard enough to register.

most repeat buyers turn over their purchases to make certain it’s on
the backs so i know customers do pay attention to whether or not work
is signed.

who wonders if the japanese ever caught those hammers they were chasing.

Thanks for the info - I’ll check out Harbor Freight. I am not sure I
agree with you about the signature being ‘primitive’ - I used to be a
painter and I would never think of stamping a painting. Somehow
putting my signature on a piece of metal rather than a stamp seems
more personal and artistic - I like the fact that it will be
"written" and each time will be slightly different - just personal

As always, many good ideas to ponder.


stamps can be used only after work is completed and 

Unless, as I said in my post, you solder on a pre-stamped flat piece
of sheet or “tag”. Adds a nice detail…


For pendants and brooches where stamping would distort, I use a

See them at

It’s small but legible, unobtrusive, easy to apply and no damage. I
highly recommend it!

For some of my more artistic pieces, however, I sign my name with a
point and a hammer handpiece, but why stop there? I draw symbols and
icons, designs and even poetry on the back of the piece with the

Michael Babinski
Foxfire Jewelers