Hammer Hunt

by laurie jane kern on August 7, 2010

Right after my first session with Deb I asked for a basic list of hammers to purchase. The list was for a 400 g raising/forging hammer, a 200 g border/raising hammer, and a 100g , 200 g, and 400 g embossing/sinking hammer. These were my first 5 hammers, all by Peddinghaus. I have since added a 150 g bordering hammer and a 170 g planishing hammer that I picked up from ebay, plus 2 chasing hammers and several mallets. And of course there is the hammer I made for forming, up at metals week.

Last week I found that the 400 g raising hammer was MUCH to big for the item I was working on. The 200 g and 300 g bordering hammers were the right weights but the faces were too short in the height which then resulted in me doing a lot more hammering.  [Pictures and details of what I am working on will be posted soon]

I needed a new hammer – oh, poor me! ;=)  So the hunt began.

Do you know how hard it is to find the “right hammer” as no one supplier stocks all the brands AND everyone lists the weights and face sizes differently and the names can vary even though they are the same hammer!

For hammer makers you have: Peddinghaus, Picard, Grobet, Fretz and a few others. On one web site the weight is in ounces and size is inches, on another it has grams and millimeters and maybe just the face height and not the width.  On the second web site they have 8 Peddinghaus and on the first site they have 14 and what is called a raising hammer can also be called a forging or chasing hammer (yes, you read that right, I saw it called a chasing hammer. It was on a blacksmithing site) and bordering hammer can also be called a tray hammer.

I knew I wanted a hammer that weighed less than 300 grams – 200 grams would be good. But the face had to be taller than the bordering hammer which was about 1/4″ (per the Rio catalog).

So from website to website I went. I had to start taking notes on size, weight, price… and finally it came down to me getting the Fretz Silversmith hammers (yes, that is a plural).  Both the wide and narrow raising hammers were in line with what I wanted but now for the best price.

Rio was a bit more expensive than Otto Frei on the individual hammer price but with Otto I have to pay sales tax and shipping. If I purchase via Rio, I don’t have sales tax but a higher shipping cost. Then I saw that Otto not only had a great price on the Silversmith Hammer assortment which is 5 hammers at less then the individual price there was an additional 10% off  and FREE SHIPPING – so with my sweeties agreement, I bought the Hammer assortment. Even with the sales tax it was less than if I had bought it from Rio, sorry guys!

My hammers arrived Thursday. I went right into my office to open them and guess what – ONE OF THE HAMMERS WAS MISSING!. I guess they pre-package the hammers because even though each hammer was in a sealed bag, the assortment was inside another sealed bag and there was only FOUR and the missing hammer was the narrow raising hammer, the one I wanted for my project.

It was now 7:00 pm and Otto was closed, so I sent them an email with my invoice number and explained the problem and that my husband would call in the morning to sort it out in case we had to send them all back. NOPE – sending them back was not required and by the time my husband called Friday morning they had already shipped the missing hammer and it would be here early next week.

So now, I am using the wide raising hammer, which works perfectly I might add.


laurie jane kern

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Bellissimo August 9, 2010 at 5:55 am

Thanks for the very practical info. I’m definitely a little less confused than I was before your blog…

Bentiron August 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm

It is hard to find the right hammer, I know, I have them all to prove it. Last year I was in Tucson and visited DAH Rock and while poking around in the back lot rock bins I found a slightly rusty Dixon bordering hammer head in one of the bins. It looked like it had never been used so I asked “How much? and the answer was “Nothing, it’s yours.”, such nice folks there. I have found such nice old hammers at estate sales, yard sales, eBay, antique stores and used tool stores where a lot of times the seller didn’t even know what it’s intended use was or what it was worth. I just hate paying much for a hammer, there are so many out there needing homes and so many that can be modified with ease.
I bet those Fritz hammers are sweet to use. I really like to order from the folk at Otto Frei and at Rio too, they are are always eager to serve you and strive to satisfy the customer.

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