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Stamping silver or gold

Recently I bought a few stamps to decorate silver and I notice
that when I have tried hammering them on the silver I sometimes
get an “echo” or “shadow.” I am using a nylon hammer and placing
the silver on a steel block. Does anyone have a suggestion
about how to deliver the blow without getting the duplicate image

Thanks for your help.

Sue Danehy, Canton, NY where we had about 20" of snow today in a couple

Dear Sue: When I stamp metal I use a standard ballpeen hammer and
have never had that problem. If that doesn’t help it might be
the striking angle, ninety degrees works best.

Good luck,

It sounds like your nylon hammer is hitting the stamp more than
one time. Use a metal hammer and give it a hard enough blow that
you don’t have to hit twice.

If the design is wide or long, you need to tilt the stamp and
hit multiple times to get the entire design. With practice
you’ll get the feel of what to do.

Have fun!

Hi Sue: Your stamp is bouncing; it’s hitting the metal twice.
Sounds like you need a heavier hammer, and you may need to
anneal the metal. I went to Home Depot and bought a sledge
hammer with a short handle about the length of a regular hammer
handle. It weighs about 3 lbs. Now when I stamp, I get just 1


Virginia Lyons

Hi - I don’t know about the nylon hammer - but the only thing I
can contribute here is we used steel head hammer about 1/2" in
diameter to stamp the inside of our rings “14k” etc. We used a
piece of thin fiber - don’t know really what it was called - grey
in color- of course that kept the outside of the shank from
changing shape from the stamping. We usually rested this piece
of fiber on a steel block or a sturdy edge of the bench. Hope
this helps - I’m sure you will get some more imput on this.


The technic I use, and it gives me good results, is as follows:

Place the silver on the steel block and position the stamp at
the desired place.

Tap the stamp with a hammer or heavy mallet, and then,holding
the stamp in the same place, tilt the stamp slightly to the
"North" tap again, tilt to “E” tap again, tilt to the “S”, tap
again, and finally,tilt to the “W” and tap. I find that this
procedure gives a better result then attempting to hit with a
heavy blow just one time.

I then place a piece of lead sheet on the block, turn the silver
piece over so that the shadow of the stamp mark that results on
the reverse side is uppermost. Now , with a light touch, planish
out the reverse of the stamped area.

Hope works for you. Joe Dule

Some stamping tips:

  1. Use a metal hammer to strike the stamp. Match the weight of
    the hammer to the size of the stamp. I use a tack hammer for the
    itty bitty stamps which are about 1/8" diameter, a small sledge
    for the ones 1" in diameter.

  2. Pad the block by using what’s known as shirtboard. This is a
    cardboard usually placed inside of new shirts. If you don’t have
    any of that, use about 10 sheets of newspaper. Place the
    shirtboard on top of the block and under the metal to be stamped.
    This allows the stamped metal a place to go and prevents rebound
    of the stamp.

  3. Bevel the striking end of the stamp. This helps to center
    your strike and prevents mushrooming of the striking end of the
    stamp. It will help keep you from striking a blow on the edge of
    the stamp which can cause skipping or incomplete stampings (where
    you get one side of the impression and not the other).

  4. Make sure the stamp is exactly perpendicular to the metal.

  5. Practice on copper first, every time, in the ga. you plan to
    use in precious metals. This helps to figure out which hammer you
    need to use, how much striking force is needed (it should never
    be much, let the hammer do the work), and it gets you into the
    rhythm. You should practice with every stamp you plan to use for
    the day. Copper is cheap and allows you the freedom to make

Good luck. K.P. in Wyoming

I went to Home Depot and bought a sledge
hammer with a short handle about the length of a regular hammer
handle. It weighs about 3 lbs. Now when I stamp, I get just 1

I have used metal hammers for stamping forever. I like deep
impressions, however I recently used too big a hammer on one of
my new custom made stamps. Big mistake. It became 2 stamps. Both
useless. One really really short one and one with no logo. I now
do a series of lighter stamps rolling the punch slightly. Muchos

Bruce D. Holmgrain
Maryland’s first JA Certified Senior Bench Jeweler


Dear Michael & Sue, Getting a true impression off a hallmarking
stamp is not always as simple as one would think - or hope.

Some of the “gooseneck” stamps designed for getting around
already turned up ring-shanks can bounce a little if the steel
stock for the stamp is too thin or too springily tempered.

Personally, I wouldn’t use a nylon hammer. You may find a 4oz
steel hammer to be a little more definite. Some of the
commercially produced stamps have a very exaggerated chamfer
ground around the striking end and your hammer blow could be
being misdirected by this.

Luckily, I have a brother who is a die-sinker and steel engraver
and he made up a specially designed set out of sturdy straight
steel stock. Although they are made out of tool steel, the body
of the stamp is annealed and only the tip is hardened and
tempered. Because I make up most of my rings by hand, it is
easier for me to hallmark my shanks on the flat before I bend
them up to size. I seem to get far less bounce doing this than
when I hallmark an already turned up shank with the goosenecked

Finally, a lot comes back to how accurately you are hitting the
stamp. I’d love a dollar for every hallmark I’ve mis-hit. Hope
this helps and happy new year, Rex from Oz

Hi Sue, It sounds like you are getting bounce back in the hitting
process for some reason. I would recommend that you use a steel
headed hammer. I use various weights of ball peen hammers
depending on the type of stamp and thickness of metal I’m
stamping. I’m not sure about the surface that you are stamping
on, but the metal block that you are stamping on should probably
be fastened down so that it doesn’t bounce. I’ve found through
doing a lot of this kind of work that wooden stumps or other
heavy pieces of wood make an ideal base on which to mount the
anvil or steel block. I’ve also found that the floor surface
under the stump has an effect on the stamping or hammering
process. When I’m hammering, I want each blow to hit with
maximum effect and effiency. If the floor is a regular wood
floor, it actually can have some give to it. Cement slabs on the
earth are good (garages). In one studio I built that had a wood
floor, I cut a hole in the floor and poured a column of concrete
two feet deep into the earth and up throught the floor. I
mounted a stump on this and had one of the best hammering
surfaces I’ve ever had. Persistence furthers. Good luck.

Jima & Carlie Abbott /N. Calif/ @jica
check out our work on the web at:

Hi K.P. in Wyoming, I find the use of metal hammers in stamping
precious metals to create too much bounce and therefore a
possible double image on the piece, with or without the
"cardboard" under the piece. I am basically self/Orchid
instructed and still learning much so maybe I’m not doing it
right. Hope someone else can offer their best tricks. I use a
variety of plastic or rawhide mallots/hammers with lead- filled
centers to strike with and place the object to be striked ontop
of the cardboard,such is used to back legal note pads, which is
lying on top of a steel block or I use a brass ring-stamping
anvil with different size grooves cut into it for holding rings.
Also, I don’t see how practicing on copper is going to help a
whole lot when the piece you eventually want to stamp is in a
harder metal i.e. Ni white gol d etc. ?
Where I get all messed up is with my larger logo stamps that
have my name written out (Slone) and end up damaging the shank of
the ring on thinner items or squishing the design on the outside
of the shank. Can anyone please tell me how a small timer like
myself can impress a clean looking logo into a ring w/o damaging
it and how the big timers get those large clean logos on their’s?
As always, much gratitude to the fountain of knowledge here at
Orchid and the members who make it flow, Peter Slone

Rex, Has anybody designed a strong spring loaded punch stamp? Or
am I thinking out loud without knowing the dynamics. Perhaps even
an air or gas loaded punch device. Teresa

I find that my chasing hammer works best for hitting a stamping
tool. The surface is concave and I think it helps direct the
force into the tool. It is also light weight enough to use for
long periods without fatigue. - Deb

Peter, I also use a brass ring stamping anvil, but i also use a
piec e of hard wood that i drilled 1/2,5/8, 3/4,7/8,and 1" holes.
The piece was 1" X 3 X8"long. I then sawed below the center line
of the holes, leaving a nice base for stamping different sizes. I
always stamp wax models before casting.


Hi Teresa, As far as I know there isn’t such an item available
commercially. The idea of a spring-loaded punch - something like
a spring-loaded centre punch - sounds cool.

Of course it would have to be a fairly powerful spring. It’s one
thing to assist a sharp point into metal, it’s quite another when
the kinetic energy of the spring is spread over the wider surface
of a hallmark stamp. Analagous to the pressure point of a
stiletto high heel compared to flatties.

I think you’ve touched on a good idea.

Kind regards, Rex

Hi Peter,

 Can anyone please tell me how a small timer like myself can
impress a clean looking logo into a ring w/o damaging it and
how the big timers get those large clean logos on their's?<< 

Many times the way the ‘big boys’ do their stamping is with a

A die (or dies) with desired design is mounted on the ram of a
press. The closed dimension of the press is adjusted to give the
desired amount on indentation by the die.

The reason the hammer approach to stamping is frought with
problems is basically ‘man’. To get uniform results from any
operation requires repeatable inputs. In stamping this means the
metal being stamped is the same hardness & thickness, the work is
held securely, the die is at the proper angle to the work & the
force applied to the die is applied in the same amount, direction
& duration. Change any one & the results are guarenteed to vary.

Anything that can be done to eliminate or minimize the
variations in input will improve the results.


I got my MicroMark stamp a few years ago for my moniker which is
Wesa Unalisgi. These stamps cut into the metal rather than
relying on stamping. You wiggle it across the surface. It leaves
a very clean impression without any distortion, and no marks on
the opposite side. They have them in all different varieties, and
you can have them custom make anything. Rio Grande of Albuquerque
contracts for them and the stamps are in their catalog. The
MicroMark was one of my better investments in “tools”.

As far as practicing stamping on copper goes, it just gets me
into the rhythm and reminds me of any special things I need to
remember about the particular stamp I’m using. Most of the stamps
I use are hand-made and some are quite old. You could use scraps
of the metal you’re working in to practice stamping on, then
recycle as backing plates for bezels or scrap for melts. The key
to a clean impression is to use mass rather than force. When you
hit the hammer against the stamp too hard, it causes it to slide
or rebound, leaving you with a double or “ghost” impression or an
indistinct impression. Experience is still the best teacher, so
get out some scraps and practice, over and over…K.P. in Wyoming

Another way large manufacturers imprint their logo is to have it
already stamped in the wax. Vulcanized molds use a model that is
complete with logo. RTV molds often use an aluminum core that has
the logo and trademark spelled backwards. When wax is injected
around the core,the is transferred to the ring.

I actually have a springloaded centerpunch that i use to stamp
small 14k and .925 in various pcs that i make in multiple metals.
I had unscrewed the ponits and sent them to a stamp making
company . It works fine and is plenty deep. I believe that if you
tried to make a large stamp , the punch would not have the needed
force… but it’s fine for a small one.

Dan Grandi

How well do the plyer type stampers work? It looks easy in the
pictures, but seems to me that they would be limited in what you
could stamp.

I have a stamper in a holder that works like a drill press - a
lever action brings the stamp down and you control how much
pressure is used / how deep is impresses. The piece being
stamped is held on an elevated ‘nylon’ anvil, which makes it
accessible to most pieces (there are some pieces that ‘just won’t
fit’ however). I think I bought this item from Rio Grande but I
don’t see it listed with the stamps in the newest catalog. It
was a little pricey ($120, if I remember correctly) but so easy
it has saved me a lot of hassle over the years.