Christine Cox

Posts tagged ‘hardening’

Metalsmith: Hardening Sterling

Great question in my email this morning:

Natalie: I recently ordered a wood base steel bench block from you, and am so in love with it! I’m now looking to upgrade my hammer for wire hardening, as I’m finding that the finer wire (28 gauge and smaller) is not hardening well with my current plastic mallet. Would your rawhide mallet do the trick, or is there anything else you would recommend? (It would be a bonus if the rawhide is quieter than the plastic too, since I work out of a home studio and have a 4-year-old). 🙂

Christine Cox: Yes, our rawhide mallet is what you want! When they are new they are a little stiff, so they can be noisy. As the hammer wears in (a desirable trait) it gets quieter. You didn’t mention what alloy you’re using, but if it’s sterling, you can bake it for about an hour at 600 and it will increase the hardness. Copper and fine silver don’t really harden much.

Rawhide mallets are here:
http://www.volcanoarts.com/cart/metalsmithing/index.htm#rawhide

You might want to consider a pounding mat to help quiet your hammering. Put your bench block on top of it and then you don’t have wood smacking wood while you hammer:
http://www.volcanoarts.com/cart/metalsmithing/index.htm#pounding

Thanks for your inquiry. I hope this helps.

Cheers!!!
Christine Cox
Volcano Arts
www.volcanoarts.com

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