***Better Know Your Hammer – the book is now available as a paperback or ebook! It includes info about all these hammers plus a glossary, hammer resources, and info on why hammers work the way they do and tips on using and buying one. (updated 7/2011)***
I’m starting a new informative series on the blog today, “Get to Better Know Your Hammer.” As you might be able to tell by my website names, I really, really like hammers. They are an integral part of metalsmithing and an invaluable tool for me.
We’ll start with the Sinking or Forming Hammer. This a hammer you use if you want to make a bowl or other shallow to medium depth form. Many people have a stump with hollowed out portions to help you with this, but I’m going old school and using a flat stump. (mostly because I can’t begin to think about the time to hollow it out)
You use this hammer over air, pushing the disk (or other flat metal form) down to the wood in concentric circles. This method doesn’t pinch or stretch the disk because you are using metal (hammer) and wood (stump) rather than two metal forming tools, such as a hammer and an anvil. Of course this then limits the depth you are able to achieve with this process.
The particular hammer in the picture is a little small for my purposes, but you work with what you have. It’s not a big deal, but it requires more force to use it and thus mars the metal a little more than I would like.