The hammer is one of the most primitive and important tools at my bench.
In order of appearance:
The ball peen hammer. This hammer is perfectly balanced for creating a hammered texture. I use this hammer when i'm trying to create a rippled effect in the surface of rings or bangles. Hitting the metal over and over again with the round end of the head tightens the molecules which we call in the jewelry world "work-hardened". It makes for a much stronger piece and it creates a very pretty sparkle when polished.
The forging hammer. This is an all purpose hammer but it's weight is absolutely perfect for tapping things flat into place. This hammers soul mate tool is the steel block. Laying a shank or a bezel flat on the block and tapping with this hammer is a must when having a high standard for quality. It's also helpful for tapping a punch to set stones.
Raw hide mallet . A soft raw hide is wrapped tightly around the end of this wooden handle creating an essential bench tool. I use this hammer when I want to make a significant impact while leaving very few blemishes to the metals surface. For example, when rounding the shank of a ring on a tapered ring mandrel, it is important to hit the ring hard enough that it is no longer out of shape, but also important you do not disturb the finish. The raw hide mallet was one of the very first tools I ever owned and one I could never go without.
The Claw hammer. This is a traditional hammer that anyone might have around the house. What I really like about this particular tool is that I found it at a garage sale for only a few dollars. It has a wide variety of uses. I use it a lot to modify my bench to make things more convenient while I work. The bench itself is the framework for creating jewelry, so making your bench custom to fit your body is important. Personalizing your tools encourages the creation of very unique jewelry that can't be recreated anywhere else. This hammer has a short handle which I like because I can stash it easily in my bench drawer. I also use it to hang picture frames around the house.
These are my love letter stamps. They are forged out of steel and stored in these lovely little wooden boxes. I adore these tools because they create a very meaningful, personalized stamp. I usually pair these with the ball peen hammer when I'm working. The flat end of the hammer seems to tap the end of the stamp evenly, creating a type writer-like initial. I found these at an antique store in the warehouse district of Albany. They are very important to my tool collection.
If you would like to see an example of what the love letter stamps can do, check our my love letter necklace here.