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Urethane hardness

What hardness urethane would be best to hammer impressions into annealed metal like copper or silver? ie; annealed metal down…design wire on top…urethane on top of that…then hammer. What do you think would be the best hardness urethane?

I think I have that backwards, design wire on the bottom, annealed metal on top of that, then the urethane on top of that to strike with hammer to impress what is underneath the copper/silver onto the metal. What hardness/thickness urethane would be best? Thank you, James

I use 95 D urethane, but I do this work in a 20 ton hydraulic press. I have never tried it with a hammer and I don’t think that I ever will. You use the urethane to push the piece that you want to impress around the object that you are impressing it with. The urethane helps to distribute the impressing force evenly and in the direction that you want it to go. If you can contain the urethane, it works even better. Take a look at Susan Kingsley’s book Hydraulic Die Forming for Jewelers & Metalsmiths. Lots of good information. Good luck…Rob

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Thank you Rob. I do use a hydraulic press for impression dies but that does not require urethane. I did roll some out in a rolling mill using nickel silver wire as the design and 18ga copper as the bracelet folded in a manila folder and it worked very well. Just thought that 95 durometer was a little hard for getting into smaller spaces. Also wanted to try to tackle hand hammering…more of that hand made feeling : )


Susan talks about the pluses and minuses of using different urethane weights. I do a lot of experimenting with copper just to see how different combinations of sheet thickness and the type of impressing object will work. Lots of fun…Rob

I guess I’m looking for what size thickness/hardness urethane would press/roll/hammer the design impression into the copper/silver, even into tighter spaces. I still think 95 durometer might be too hard for rolling out bracelets in a rolling mill or hand hammering. Again, thanks for your answer. I’ll have to also check out her book.

You got everything I have. I am pretty new at using urethane myself. I rely a lot on Susan’s book for help. She does discuss most of what you ask with the exception of using a hammer. I regularly use a 95 D urethane disc about 1.5 inches thick to form bracelets on a bracelet former in my press. I have used various thin sheets of urethane to do impressions of various objects and textures. I don’t know what D they are but the sheet needs to be very thin or you don’t get the texture. I also use various thicknesses to dome pendants and earrings, also in my press. I bought some 1/2" cast acrylic sheet and have cut out various geometric shapes and have used urethane to press little puffed out shapes inside the acrylic cutouts. That’s about it…Rob

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Don’t know if you have tried this, but some years ago I tried using a vise to push with. I didn’t have a hydraulic press. The biggest setback was the small area of pressure.

Thank you. I have a 20 ton hydraulic press. I was searching for answers on what thickness and hardness urethane would work best if using a hammer method or rolling mill method of imprinting a design. If I wanted to imprint the design on let’s say a silver bracelet, I think the hammer method and rolling mill method would work better than the hydraulic press. Using pattern plates works great with the rolling mill without any urethane but if I wanted to imprint some harder material/wire design I would have to protect the rollers. Anyway I really wanting to hammer designs into the metal…more of a handmade feel to it.


Have you looked at making your own stamps? There is a lot on line about how to do this. You can also take a look at The Art of Stamping by Matthieu Cheminee. He offers a lot of stamp making how to, history and examples of current stamping masters. My brother Don and I have a large number of stamps that our Dad made or was given in the 40s while he was working at the Chilocco Indian School. He spent a lot of his free time with the local silversmiths learning, among other skills, how to make stamps…Rob

I have no interest in making my own stamps. I am familiar with the book and the author, though I do not have a copy, and unless I win the one Andrew Berry (At the Bench) is giving away at the end of the month, I’ll probably never will. I do very little stamping…usually when making Concho’s. I don’t own many stamps but the ones that I do own are really very nice…

Hi James,
Ted here in the UK.
Im interested to seewhat yourstamps look like, most of my work involves stamps! tho my guess is there somewhat different to yours. Happy to send you apic of one of mine.
Im Please reply off list to me.
More power to your elbow! as we say here!

Hello. I don’t have pics of my stamps but here are a couple of custom stamp makers here in the U.S. that are pretty awesome. What they make sometimes sell out pretty quickly so you need to check in on them fairly often to see what’s new and available. and google Jim Brandvik. Is where I’d look for top quality stamps and dies.



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