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Which hammer?


This my first post to the forum, so please feel free to offer any
suggestions about the best way to go about it. I’ve been teaching
myself about forging (is this the correct term: wire using 18 and
20g dead soft round wire on a steel bench block. I’m having
difficulties flattening and broadening it as much as I’d like. Does
anyone have tips about the best type/brand of hammer to use? I have a
small chasing slightly domed hammer, which doesn’t seem to do the
trick; it only flattens slightly rather than resulting in a more
broadened shape. To clarify, I’m trying to spread the width of the
wire.more. I’m educating myself about different classes of
hammers-plainishing, chasing, etc., but there seems to be a lot of
disagreement regarding what hammer is best for what.

Thanks in advance for any tips, references, or leads you can offer,

I'm educating myself about different classes of
hammers-plainishing, chasing, etc., but there seems to be a lot of
disagreement regarding what hammer is best for what. 

Regular goldsmith hammer, unless you delving into silversmithing,
chasing, and repousse, should be all you need. But there are
different weights of hammers, and I suspect that the one you are
using is not heavy enough.

Leonid Surpin

I'm educating myself about different classes of
hammers-plainishing, chasing, etc., but there seems to be a lot of
disagreement regarding what hammer is best for what. 

Chasing hammers are meant to hit chasing tools with the flat face,
it will get chewed up striking steel, the ball end males domed
depressions from the from or back of the metal. Good for creating
more volumetric shapes.

Planishing hammers are either flat or slightly domed, good for
smoothing stuff and removing marks left by more aggressive hammers.
Stretch the metal in all directions and make it thinner.

Raising hammers have a long face cross wise to the handle.They will
stretch the metal at right angles to the head, in line with the
handle. This is what you want.

Dig out a catalogue and study the pictures (and the prices :slight_smile: Get
some larger wire where how the metal is moving is easier to see.
Copper is good and cheap and soft. Just don’t rip out your electric
wiring. Most hardware stores sell it by the foot, strip the
insulation and anneal and experiment. Change the width with raising
hammer and smooth with a planishing hammer.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing


You need a flatting hammer or, better still, a rolling mill. A
rolling mill is expensive, but once you’ve got one you’ll never want
to be without it.

A flatting hammer has a large head (around 2" diam), but its not
totally flat. It is very slightly domed so as to minimize the (very
real) possibility of digging an edge into the work. Some consist of
the head on a spring loaded arm instead of a handle. You don’t have
to hold the handle, the spring holds the head just above the work
piece and you hit the head with another hammer. This ensures that the
flatting head is always horizontal to the work.

Failing a proper flatting hammer or a rolling mill, another suitable
tool is a repousse hammer.

Regards, Gary Wooding


These answers didn’t exactly fit all of your question. Leonid hit
the ball on the head with the goldsmithing hammer (although any
cross-peined hammer would work), but he didn’t say what exactly it is
you need to do with it. Weight shouldn’t really matter, in the sizes
you’re talking about you’d have to be using a pretty ridiculously
small hammer for it to keep the wire from spreading while using the
proper technique.

What you have to do is whack the wire a couple of times with the
flat side of a goldsmith’s hammer. That’s just to put a bit wider
surface on it, to give you more of a target to aim for. Then use the
cross pein side of your hammer with the pein *parralell *with the
wire. What that does is direct the force of the hammer blows from the
center to the sides of the wire, spreading it out.

If you hit the wire with the pein perpendicular to the metal, the
force will elongate the wire.

I’m not sure if this makes my point clear, but if your wire is
you want your hammer to line up like and not like VVVVV.

When you’ve got the wire spread, the pein will have put marks in it.
You can use the flat side of your hammer to smooth those back out.



I don’t do a whole lot of hammering, but a bunch of years ago I
bought a deadblow metal hammer from a Snap-On truck ( like this one: ) I, of course, polished the heads and
it’s served me. I think I paid $25.00 for it new.


I agree with Jeff, you need to get a raising hammer. Use the rounded
side. A goldsmith hammer will only work for small surfaces and does
not have enough weight. Finish with a planishing hammer to achieve a
flatter, near polished appearance.



Also, if you try square rod instead of round, the results are much
better. There’s more material to work with and you get that wonderful
contrast of thick and thin, a three-dimensional line…

If you can’t take a class there are lots of books that explain the
process. Some of them are the old and new Penland books of jewelry
making, the Chuck Evans book of design, Alan Revere’s “Art of Jewelry
Making,” for starters–



A goldsmith’s hammer is just fine for 18 gauge round wire. Anything
much bigger than that, sure, a bigger hammer would be nice.
Personally, I’d find a raising hammer much too large to forge
something so small.

Unless it was one of those beautiful little Fretz hammers…



Contenti has a nice page showing pictures of different types of
hammers and describing their uses. Their selection and prices are
good and their quality is generally decent.