Thursday, July 9, 2009

Creating your Own Hammered Finish

Creating your own hammered finish on sterling silver, gold filled or gold vermeille components is easy.

For the following , I will be using sterling silver as examples. Since there are many different types of hammer heads, this leads to an endless list of possibilities! Some tools you can consider to change the look are: a ball peen hammer, a flat nose hammer, a rawhide hammer, or a wooden hammer. Each hammer will give your sterling silver, gold filled or gold vermeille component a different result. When you are hammering your metal, try out a couple different bases underneath. You could use a piece of wood, which is a soft base, and this will provide some give to the metal, and it can bend. Depending on where you hammer your sterling silver, it can move the metal in small amounts. Try it out on a test piece to see what type of hammer dent will provide what you're looking for.

Another base is a steel block. When hammering on the steel block you will not only be creating a finish on the side you are hammering, but you will also be creating another finish on the side of the sterling silver component that is facing the steel.

*TIP* if you do not want to dent your hammer or your anvil's finish, put some masking tape on the surface you will be using, it will lessen the likelihood of you damaging your tools.

There are many bases that will give different looks pending on the hammer and the amount of resistance your surface will give. I've used a hockey puck as a base once, so I was able to easily give a hammered effect to one side of the sterling silver component, yet the other side was not affected and did not dent the same way as if it was on a harder surface like a steel block.

*TIP*Keep in mind when holding your hammer, do not point out your index finger, since this can result in injury. You want to hold the hammer at the end of the handle for the most effective hit. And be sure to use your whole arm and elbow. Misuse of a hammer can often result in wrist injuries as well.

A ball peen hammerhead will create metal divots, and pending on the size of your hammerhead, you can have something similar to pointillism or even something large like a creator and everything in between. With this you can create many unique and diversified looks on your sterling silver components.

A flat nose hammerhead will create a line. This type of simple mark can be used for a wide range of designs. For example you can fan out the pattern on your sterling silver component, or you can crisscross it like a pile of sticks.

Feel free to try out this technique, I guarantee you will have a lot of fun with it, and it can also be a great stress reliever!