[Source] Rawhide mallet

I’m also looking for a plastic or rawhide mallet for hardening wire
and, as long as I’m asking for advice, where’s the best place to
purchase one of those and which would you advise I use? Again, price
is important.

Thanks in advance.

Rio Grande Jewelry Supply
Contenti Jewelry Supply
Stuller Inc. Tools catalog.

Sincerely, Wayne Carvalho

If you are talking about round wire, try twisting it instead of
hammering. Simply form a loop at one end with its end wrapped around
itself so that it cannot open. Hook this loop into a cup hook
(available at any hardware store) that is held securely by its
threaded end in a portable electric drill. Hold the loose end with a
serrated parallel jaw pliers and slightly pull on it. By running the
drill, you will be twisting the wire and thus work hardening it.
Because the wire is round, its appearance nor its diameter will

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.
Inventors and Manufacturers of
Jump Ringer Systems

I'm also looking for a plastic or rawhide mallet for hardening
wire and, as long as I'm asking for advice, where's the best place
to purchase one of those and which would you advise I use? Again,
price is important. 

Any jewelry supply company carries these. Or, Harbor Freight often
carries even cheaper, in both senses of the word.

But, just plain beating on a wire with a soft mallet, if it does not
cause actual deformation and change in the shape of the wire, also
does not cause any appreciable hardening. Shock waves don’t harden
metal. Deformation of the crystal structure does. If you really need
to harden the wire without greatly changing it’s shape, twist it on
it’s own axis (for round wire, at least) Normally, one hardens wire
by starting a bit larger and drawing it down in size to harden it.
Or you have to bend it, flatten it, or twist it. Just frightening it
with a mallet doesn’t do much more than make some satisfying noise
and startle the cat. If it’s kinked and bent and deformed, then
straightening it with the mallet does harden it a little. but most
of the time, at least for silver, you’ll want more than that very
slight increase in hardness. The idea that just whacking metal
without changing it will harden it is an unfortunate myth in metal
working. It doesn’t. At least not enough to matter.

Peter Rowe

Any jeweler supply will have what you are looking for. Here are a
few you can check out:


that should get you started :wink:


...plastic or rawhide mallet for hardening wire 

Mara, I can’t tell you where the best prices are. I prefer rawhide
mallets, but if you buy a new one, you may have to grind the layer
of excess lacquer off the face and rim edges, to reach the softer
rawhide beneath. My own favorite is perhaps 25 years old and has
wonderful soft faces for hammering metal without stretching or
denting it. I have another rawhide mallet from which I have abraded a
lot of lacquer, but it still isn’t as nice as my older one. If you
hammer with a rawhide mallet and it marks your metal, it needs more

I have read in older Orchid posts that many folks harden wire by
putting one end in a bench vise, grasping the other end with a pair
of pliers, and, pulling hard to keep the wire straight, rotate the
wire until it’s suitably hardened.

Judy Bjorkman

Tandy/Leather Factory sell rawhide/laether mallets

Peter Rowe,

Thanks for the laugh about using a mallet to harden wire. From your
explanation, I think I’ll wait a bit before purchasing a mallet
until the cat is at the vet for some reason.

And many many thanks to everyone for their suggestions about where
to purchase a mallet. Your suggestions are all great. My husband
shops at Harbor Freight so I may ask him to find something at some

Thank you, Mara Nesbitt

I have hardened and straightened wire by placing one end in the vise
and pulling on the other with a locking pliers many times, it works
great. You pull it taught, then pull some more, slowly, and you can
actually feel when the wire stretches to some degree and then
relaxes very straight. It makes for a very straight and somewhat
hardened wire. The issue to be aware of with this method is that is
does change the diameter of the wire somewhat, (Something I learned
the hard way when straightening wire for the inside pin of a very
tiny hinge that was already applied to a piece. I ended up having to
draw some more wire down from a nugget to get a good tight fit). So
if you are looking for it to fit into a specific hole that is already
made, you may wish to keep that in mind.

Also, if you have draw plates, you can harden wire by pulling it
through a draw plate, again you would make sure you don’t draw it
down beyond the size you wish to have.

The tip about twisting the wire- makes perfect sense, and can you
believe that I somehow missed picking it up (not saying it’s not
there…) from any of the many books I’ve read (or thought I’d read)
since falling down the metal rabbit-hole. I’m certain that the wire
jewelry books I’ve read only say to bang it with a mallet.

Things that are little tips to you Orchidians are BIG tips to us
noobs. Thanks.



Thanks for this very interesting It makes sense -
rawhide comes from a living, breathing animal and plastic comes from
a laboratory. I ended up going with a cheap plastic mallet with four
heads - metal and three densities from Harbor Freight for $7. But
I’ll keep my out for a rawhide mallet for a decent price.

I don’t have a bench vise so I’ll have to figure out a workable

Take care,

I am truly grateful for the generous advice from the group about
sterling wire and mallets, both on the list and privately.

Teri D, Beth W, Janice, Russ H, B M, Nanette K, Mary P, Teresa P,
Jerry S,
Sue W, Judy B

all gave advice. If I missed your name, please forgive me. I ended up
going with Thunderbird Supplies in the last two hours of their sale
period. I’m going to have fun with these wires (and other items I
purchased from them)… Other suggestions were great, but I’m not a
retailer, I’m a retailer’s customer and so couldn’t order from them.

And again, I’m thankful for the rawhide and plastic mallet
and advice. My husband picked up a Central Forge 4-in-1
Quick Change Multi-Head Hammer at Harbor Freight for $6.99. It has a
metal head and three degrees of harness in additional screw-on heads.
I just fought with some bent and distorted wire so I’m anticipating
an easier time straightening (if not hardening) my wire in the

Mara Nesbitt-Aldrich