Jewelry Hammers: Our Complete Guide To All The Different Types You Should Own
13 Minute Read
The hammer is one of the most fundamental tools in jewelry-making. From chasing to embossing hammers and all the different kinds of mallets, the sheer variety of types of hammers available can be overwhelming when you're starting out.
Knowing how difficult it can get to find what you really need, we've compiled this handy guide to all the types of hammers used in jewelry-making. We've also hand-picked the best models for each hammer type to help you get your toolkit put together quickly.
Make sure to also read our essential buying guide at the end of the article. It's where you can learn the most important factors you need to consider when shopping for any new hammer for your jewelry-making projects.
Types Of Hammers For Jewelry-Making 2020
Light Chasing Hammer
1. Fretz HMR-17 Light Chasing/Repousse HammerGet it on amazon.com
A chasing hammer has a unique design with a slight dome face on one side and a ball-shaped face on the other side. A light chasing hammer such as this Fretz should be used for tracing, chasing, or indenting metal. It'll be your primary forming tool.
"A light chasing hammer should be used for tracing, chasing, or indenting metal."
For a the best light chasing hammer, we've chosen the Fretz HMR-17. It's the best in its category and it offers superior quality and a perfect balance that should satisfy any user.
The HMR-17 chasing hammer's sides strike the perfect balance (one face has a 29mm diameter, while the other is 12mm) which makes each blow almost effortless. Like so many Fretz hammers, it's superbly designed. Plus, this chasing hammer has a pistol-shaped handle for a better grip and more comfort while working.
Heavy Chasing Hammer
2. Fretz HMR-20 Heavy Chasing/Repousse HammerGet it on amazon.com
In jewelry-making, you'll find that you need at least two types of chasing hammers. Just like the light chasing hammer, the heavy chasing hammer also has one slightly convex side and one bowl-shaped side but the heavier variety of chasing hammer is best used for embossing or raising reliefs. When you want a heavy-duty former, this is the one to go for.
"In jewelry-making, you'll find that you need at least two types of chasing hammers."
This Fretz HMR-20 heavy model features a stainless steel head and a padauk wood handle, offering excellent quality. The only difference between this model and the Fretz HMR-17 is that the Fretz HMR-20 has a heavier and longer head. With a head length of 74mm, and 31mm and 13mm faces, this heavy chasing hammer is perfect for embossing beautiful and creative designs in sheet metal.
Peen Light Hammer
3. PMC Supplies LLC Ball-Peen Light HammerGet it on amazon.com
As the name suggests, a ball-peen hammer has two heads, one flat and one rounded (called "the peen"). The ball-peen hammer is useful in many tasks, like flattening and shaping metal, removing dents, driving chisels, punches, or stamps. If you were to buy just one hammer for your workbench, this would be the one to go for.
However, in a fully-stocked workbench, its primary purpose is peening (surface hardening by impact) and rounding off the edges of metal pins and fasteners. The light version should be used on soft metals where a hard face could be too forceful.
"The PMC Supplies LLC Ball-Peen Light Hammer is a wonderful tool for general use."
The Ball-Peen Light Hammer by PMC Supplies LLC is a fantastic product constructed from drop-forged steel and a high-quality hardwood handle that makes it really secure and durable. It's approximately 10 inches long and weighs around 115 grams, giving you a great balance for more control while working. The PMC Supplies LLC Ball-Peen Light Hammer is a fine tool for general use. We chose the Ball-Peen Light Hammer by PMC Supplies LLC over many other models in this category, because it offers incredible quality with amazing handle-design for a very low price.
Peen Heavy Hammer
4. PMC Supplies LLC Ball-Peen Heavy HammerGet it on amazon.com
Another essential hammer is the heavy ball-peen hammer. As opposed to its lighter version, this model is great for tougher jobs, like closing rivets and shaping tougher metal. It's a great all-around hammer for the times when you really need some oomph behind each blow.
"With the forged steel head with a hardwood handle, you'll be getting a sturdy, durable tool that you can use for forming, flattening, or shaping."
We chose the PMC Supplies LLC Ball-Peen Heavy Hammer because it's a steal, considering the quality and design you're getting for the price. It weighs twice as much as its light version. It comes with one domed and one flat face, which makes it ideal for peening, but also great for general use. Because of the forged steel head with a hardwood handle, you'll be getting a sturdy, durable tool that you can use for forming, flattening, or shaping.
Cross Peen Hammer
5. Fretz HMR-21 Goldsmithing/Cross Peen HammerGet it on amazon.com
Cross peen hammers have one flat face and one blade-like peen face. They're commonly used in goldsmithing for riveting and forging or shaping wires. Cross peen hammers that are specifically designed for goldsmithing are optimized for working with gold as well as other precious materials.
"The Fretz HMR-21 model is most jewelers' choice when it comes to ring sizing and bezel work."
The Fretz HMR-21 model is most jewelers' #1 choice when it comes to goldsmithing, not to mention ring sizing and bezel work. One of the faces is highly polished and round and can be used for general purposes. The other face is a highly polished cross-peen type that's ideal for riveting and forming. It weighs only 96.4g with 17mm diameter faces, meaning it's meant for work on softer materials and light forging (which is why it's primarily meant for goldsmithing).
6. Fretz HMR-406 Precisionsmith Riveting/Texturing HammerGet it on amazon.com
As opposed to hammers used for a variety of tasks, the riveting and texturing hammer is a more specialized type, designed to be used for texturing small scale work. We don't recommend using it for other tasks, like forming, for example. It's one of those types of hammers you buy when you start to expand your workbench and pick up more specialized tools.
"We believe the Fretz HMR-406 is the best choice for precision and fine work, as it has highly polished and properly-hardened stainless steel heads."
The Fretz HMR-406 has a flat face that's slightly domed and a sharp cross peen that's curved. Because of its design, the Fretz HMR-406's domed face can deliver a very small planish mark on small jewelry pieces, like rings and earrings.
On the other hand, the curved cross peen can texture a line pattern. We believe the Fretz HMR-406 is the best choice for precision and fine work, as it has highly polished and properly-hardened stainless steel heads.
7. Garland 11001 Rawhide MalletGet it on amazon.com
A mallet is a type of hammer that has a large, round head with a flat surface on both ends, usually made from softer materials (plastic, wood, etc.). A rawhide mallet, in particular, is made of metal with a rawhide facing, which produces a soft but firm. This type of hammer is mostly used when working on delicate pieces that can get damaged easily.
"With its 1¼-inch face diameter and 2½-inch head length, it's the perfect size for many applications in jewelry-making."
The Garland 11001 is an excellent choice when you require a great-quality rawhide mallet. It's made from tough, long-wearing, water buffalo rawhide. With its 1¼-inch face diameter and 2½-inch head length, it's the perfect size for many applications in jewelry-making. It's heavy enough to even out the metal without damaging the piece or leaving any tool marks.
8. EURO TOOL HAM-456.10 Brass MalletGet it on amazon.com
As opposed to a rawhide mallet, the brass mallet features a heavy head made of solid brass and a metal handle. It's a lot smaller in size, but it's designed to maximize the efficiency of each blow and prevent bounce back. A brass mallet is perfect for stamping, dapping, or even chasing and cutting.
"The EURO TOOL HAM-456.10 is great for stamping and ideal for hammering ferrous or non-ferrous metals."
We chose the EURO TOOL HAM-456.10 because it's a steal. It's made of solid brass with metal handle for more comfort while working. Plus, it weighs 1 lb, which is the sweet spot for most jewelry-making projects. The EURO TOOL HAM-456.10 is great for stamping and ideal for hammering ferrous or non-ferrous metals.
9. EURO TOOL HAM-411.00 Plastic MalletGet it on amazon.com
As the name suggests, the plastic mallet is typically made of nylon, polycarbonate, or polystyrene head. You can also find metal head mallets that have removable plastic face covers. Plastic mallets are frequently used in jewelry-making, though they might seem like toys at first glance.
"Plastic mallets are frequently used in jewelry"
The EURO TOOL HAM-411.00 plastic mallet offers great quality as it's manufactured in the USA, and made from yellow, non-porous plastic and seasoned hardwood. It's perfect for small fine pieces of jewelry because it's only size one and very lightweight. The mallet weighs about 135 grams and has a face diameter of 1 ¼ inches.
10. Peddinghaus #401.02 Embossing HammerGet it on amazon.com
Embossing hammers are designed with a long head with smaller, round faces, which makes them ideal for creating raised, three-dimensional forms, or in other words, a repoussé. You can also use an embossing hammer for doming or stretching the metal to create interesting patterns.
"You can also use an embossing hammer for doming or stretching the metal to create interesting patterns."
The Peddinghaus #401.02 is one of the best embossing hammers, as it's made from fine grade steel with highly polished surfaces. Buying the Peddinghaus #401.02 means you'll be getting a strong and durable German-made product that will serve you for many years. Plus, the face and head size, as well as their weight allow you more control and precision in your work.
11 . Fretz MKR-1 Planishing HammerGet it on amazon.com
A planishing hammer is a kind of finishing hammer that's used after raising or forming. It can help you smooth out the outer surface of the piece you've been working on by removing any unwanted marks that your other tools have made during the raising or forming process. It has two highly polished and slightly convex faces.
"The Fretz MKR-1 faces are mirror polished for working on delicate pieces."
The Fretz MKR-1 is an amazing planishing hammer that delivers incredible quality, strength, and precision. It's made from a 420-grade stainless tool steel head that's strong and made to last. Plus, the Fretz MKR-1 faces are mirror-polished for working on delicate pieces. With only 21 and 11mm heads, it's quite small and great for fine detail work.
12. Peddinghaus #54.02 Grooving HammerGet it on amazon.com
Most hammers are named after their use, and grooving hammers are no exception. A grooving hammer is ideal for forming grooves in metal, as preparation for further forming or to add linear texture. This type of hammer has two rounded rectangular faces.
"The tool is hardened and ground with fine-finished faces so that you can be sure you can use it for many years."
The Peddinghaus #54.02 grooving hammer is an excellent choice for professionals who want a high quality, durable, and comfortable tool. This grooving hammer is made in Germany, from drop-forged steel. The tool is hardened and ground with fine-finished faces so that you can use it for many years. One of the faces is facing horizontally, while the other vertically, so you can easily add grooves in any direction without you having to bend or twist your arm in awkward and uncomfortable positions. Plus, the ash handle is shaped in such a way that it gives you an even more comfortable grip.
13. Peddinghaus #57.02 Bordering HammerGet it on amazon.com
The bordering hammer, also called a "creasing" hammer, comes with a wide head that's raised in the center and slopes downward on the sides to form narrow, rounded horizontal faces. Usually, each face has a different radius. It's used for creasing or crimping metal, forging, or finishing the edges.
"The Peddinghaus #57.02 model is made from drop-forged steel that's hardened and ground, suitable to work on any material."
The Peddinghaus #57.02 bordering hammer we chose is a great addition to any jeweler's toolkit because it delivers great performance and impeccable build quality. Its dimensions make it suitable for a variety of applications, and it's designed to give you more comfort while you're working.
The Peddinghaus #57.02 model is made from drop-forged steel that's hardened and ground, and suitable to work on any material. The size and weight of the hammer determine what projects you can use it for (you can easily find other variations if you need something larger or smaller). The Peddinghaus's faces have a 20 mm and 4 mm radius, while the hammer weighs 200g. We think it's the perfect sweet spot for most projects. Finally, the ash handles provide a comfortable grip, so you don't get fatigued.
How To Choose The Best Jewelry Hammers
Know What Type Of Hammer You Need
There are many different types of hammers, varying in their design, size, and weight. Some hammers are intended for more specialized use, while others are great for a variety of different applications. You need to have this in mind when choosing a hammer.
Ask yourself, what do you need the hammer for? Do you need one for something specific, or you want a more general tool that will allow you to accomplish many things? How often will you use it and for what?
Sometimes, it's better to buy one hammer for a more generalized purpose, like a chasing or a ball-peen hammer, and another for a more specialized use that will allow you to really perfect your skill.
There's something to be said about the materials and pieces you work with. The same type of hammer can have a light and heavy version, depending on how hard, soft, or delicate the work is. When searching for the right hammer, keep this in mind too.
Check Where It's Made
Because hammers are relatively inexpensive, you should always aim for the highest quality possible. You can find decent quality hammers from well-respected brands starting anywhere from $6 to $100 - depending on the type.
Choosing a hammer from well-known American or European manufacturers will ensure you're getting a product that won't leave marks or damage the materials you work with. This is something that you don't want to risk, especially not for a couple of bucks more.
Additionally, the quality that most US and European companies offer comes with additional benefits, like the pistol-shaped handle in Fretz's chasing hammers that provides a better grip and more comfort. It can really make a difference - you'll work faster and be more precise.
Check The Size & Weight
The size and weight of the hammers is another important buying factor because different applications require a range of designs and weights. First, some tasks require a softer impact, while for others, you need heavy and strong punches. That's why the weight, as well as the material from which the hammer is made, is crucial.
The size of the head and faces is important because it will dictate the level of detail and the shapes you'll be able to make. Hammers with big faces won't be useful for small pieces of jewelry, where fine details are needed.
The size of the handle, too, is important for how effective the tool is going to be. Make sure you buy a hammer that fits in your hand comfortably, and you can hold the 'bulb' in the proper chasing grip that affords maximum control.
Hopefully, you learned a lot about the types of hammers used in jewelry and how you can benefit from using various types of hammers. If you've already decided which hammers you really need, you can use the title links to check the specific prices, in-depth specifications, and customer reviews of each of the recommendations.
However, if you're still unsure, don't worry! Use our handy shopping advice to make sure you're on the right track while making a purchase.
In the meantime, don't forget to check out all the other jewelry-making tools we recommend, so that you can find the best tools for your specific needs and preferences.
You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information provided by this website shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.
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