February 14, 2017 / Educational

Types of Hammers Used in Jewelry Making

Read our glossary of hammers used in jewelry making. This essential overview will explore types of hammers and how to completely outfit your studio. ...

Read all about the types of hammers used in the jewelry studio & check out our Facebook LIVE videos for tips, techniques & more!

Jewelry making hammers are a jeweler's best friends. People become very attached to their favorite hammers for good reasons! The hammer is an extension of your arm. Different types of hammers can flatten, shape, stretch, thin or dome your metal; they can control the edges of your piece with a soft or hard edge; and you can also texture your piece, just to name a few. There are a lot of jewelry hammers out there, so to straighten-up the confusion, we'll break it down in this glossary for you.

Anatomy of an ImpressArt brass hammer
Brass Stamping Hammer

First of all: Know your hammer! This photo is courtesy of Impress Art and shows the name of each part of the hammer. This is a brass hammer, which is also called a dead blow hammer. It's great for metal stamping because the brass absorbs the impact of the strike. This is important so your stamp doesn't skip around on whatever you're stamping.

How Are Hammers Used in Jewelry Making?

Many people are surprised that hammers are an important tool for jewelers. Hammers are used to broadly shape and form jewelry metals. Hammers do a lot of the early work to manipulate raw materials and prepare the metal for more fine detail work. Jewelry hammers are also important for texturing material to create interesting surface effects.

6 Types of Hammers:

2 sizes of planishing hammer for jewelry
Planishing Hammers

1. Planishing:

This is probably the most important hammer type of all. Using overlapping hammer strikes, this hammer smooths your metal. It comes with two faces: the flat face smooths the metal while the round face will shape it.

Rawhide hammer and nylon hammer
Rawhide & Nylon Hammers

2. Rawhide and Nylon:

Owning one of these is a must! These are the hammers to have on hand when you don't want to leave a mark on your piece but you still need to smooth or move your metal.

Cross hammer and ball pein hammer
Raising Hammers - Cross & Ball Pein

3. Raising:

There are two types of raising hammers: cross and ball pein. These hammers really move the metal sheet!

Jewelry hammer for embossing
Embossing Jewelry Hammers

4. Embossing:

Use this type of hammer to shape the piece, hammering from the inside (fluting) or the front of your piece (embossing) which creates a relief.

Domed chasing hammer metalsmithing tool
Domed Chasing Hammer

5. Chasing:

Used to hit the top of a chasing tool. When you use a chasing tool to create carvings or designs in your metal, you want to be able to focus on your metal piece and the tool tip, rather than worry about your hammer striking the tools. That is why the faces on these hammers are large.

Two texturing hammers
Texturing Jewelry Making Hammers

6. Texturing:

These types of hammers are a ton of fun! Texturing hammers can be used to make repetitive patterns on metal. You can even make your own texturing hammer by carving designs into the face of a chasing hammer.

Hammer comparison: Normal hammer vs chasing hammer
Hammer Handle Comparison

Hammering Tips

When hammering, keep your arm straight by your side, move the elbow up and down, use your entire arm and stand if possible for more powerful blows. If you can move your metal rather than the hammer, your strikes will be more controlled.

The exception to this is the chasing hammer. Chasing hammers are used quickly with the strikes landing lightly. Be sure to use your wrist and not your arm, that's why the handle is curved for an easier grip.

Texturing a piece of copper
Texturing Control Tip

Last but not least:

Practice! It's important to have control with your hammers. Since weight, grip, and size can alter between hammers I occasionally like to practice, especially after purchasing a new one. Here's a tip to help you get the feel of your new hammers:


Watch the videos

This video is a breakdown of a basic texturing hammer. All though there are many different types of these hammers on the market, they all have interchangeable faces making a lot of different textures possible. I love the weight on this one!

About Halstead

Halstead is one of North America's leading distributors of jewelry supplies. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings such as jewelry clasps, chain and metals for jewelry artists.

Got questions? Email our studio coordinator Erica Stice at [email protected]. We'd love to hear from you. Sorry, studio support is not available by phone. Emails only, please.

These related articles may also interest you:

Handmade Jewelry: Types And Techniques

Guide To Hand Stamping Metal Blank Options

5 Ways To Elevate Your Stamped Jewelry With New Techniques

Written By: Erica Stice
Erica is the former Studio Coordinator at Halstead. She spent 14 years with the company across a variety of departments but fell in love with metalsmithing. Erica's top tip for new metalsmiths is: "Practice! Be patient with yourself and have fun with it. Don't be afraid to ask questions. All of us at Halstead enjoy helping people whether it's questions on products or technical help in the studio. We're here for you."

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