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Technique for using a metal stamp

I got a .925 metal content stamp, and promptly messed up the first
two pieces I tried to use it on–scratched one because the stamp
slipped on a curved surface, and made a dent through to the front of
the other, which was flat. I’m obviously doing this wrong. What is the
proper technique for using a stamp, and what’s the best surface to
use under the piece being stamped?

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

Kathy, Stamping curved surfaces is definitely a problem. The stamp
is a flat surface. When held against a curve surface only parts of
the stamp will touch metal. The stamp should be used against a
surface that is flat along the stamp axis.

The stamp must be made in an area where the backing of the project
touches the block you stamp against. If you stamp against a surface
that is recessed on the front of the piece you will put a dent in
your work. I find the best surface to hold the piece against when
stamping is a polished steel bar. Most of the time you will mar the
front surface that is between the stamp and the stamp block. It is
best to stamp before you do the final polishing.

You should practice on scrap silver until you can hold the stamp
still and hit it with a solid blow with the hammer. The hammer
should be heavy enough to deliver a blow sufficient to drive the
stamp into the metal. I find that a slight tap followed by a
forceful blow of the hammer works best. The tap sets the stamp and
the blow drives the stamp into the silver.

Practice, practice
Lee Epperson

Hello All, I am back. I hope you did not miss me too much. I opened
my jewellery shop in Ireland. Things are going well, but everything
proved to be much more complex that I had envisaged.

About stamping. I had trouble with it too, and got mad at myself,
because it is so elementary. I practiced on scrap. I bought a couple
of stamps from Fischer in Pforzheim, Germany. Since then I do not
have problems anymore (the older ones were from the USA, I forgot from
where exactly). The new stamps seem to do the work much better.
Fischer is online, if you are interested.

Best, Will

I purchased an arbor press from Northern Tool. A small press will do.
With it, you can apply even and steady pressure and come up with
perfect stampings.

Fr. Alexis

Do you have a URL for Fischer? I really want to get a small stamp to
mark my work - after all, I sign and date all my tapestries and
embroideries, and although my jewellery is not prize-winning stuff I
am still proud enough of it to have it marked as being made by me.

Best to all