The Best Jewelry Hammer for the Job

Say hello to my new baby.

Best Hammer for Stamping IMO

Fretz chasing hammer

I finally found the best hammer for the job of stamping metal. A chasing hammer is one that is used to form metal. One side of the head is to flatten metal, and the other is meant to shape it. I didn’t buy mine for that, though. I am using it strike my metal stamps. Blasphemy, right?

Trusty Old German Ball Peen Hammer

German Ball Peen Hammer

This old German hammer is the first one I got, about 15 years ago when I wanted to try out metal smithing. It’s not fancy, but over the years it has worked the best–and I’ve tried many others. It’s not weighted well, and with a lot of texture stamping it quickly causes forearm fatigue.

So, I continued my search for the perfect stamping hammer.

The Small Dead Blow Hammer

Stubby Ball Peen Hammer from Harbor Freight

I’ve seen shops that specialize in stamping kits recommend these little dead blow hammers so the last time I was at Harbor Freight I picked up this Stubby Ball Peen Hammer for $3. It has a nice blow to it and a nice solid weight, but I don’t like the balance of the short handle for a long duration of stamping.

Fretz Stamping Hammer

Small Fretz Stamping Hammer

Next I splurged and got the Fretz Stamping Hammer thinking, good heavy weight, like the stubby one, but longer handle for more balance. I thought it would be perfect because Fretz’s are so well balanced which insures that the tool does the work instead of taxing your muscles. Unfortunately, it’s too heavy and meant more for wider-faced stamps that require and harder blow. It is good for punch dies, though.

Tiny Intricate Silver Stamping

Fretz Chasing Hammer with Liner Stamp and Eye Clasp

See all those little lines around the eye piece? Those are each a hammer blow, and there are two layers of them in the finish piece. Now think of doing a run of 10 at a time. That’s a lot of striking so the perfect hammer is a must.

Flat Faced Shaping Hammer

Old Lightweight Chasing Hammer

I had this other hammer that I’d been given a long time ago when I first started. I haven’t used it because it’s really light and not very productive. I liked the larger surface of the flat head, because I thought it would make it easier to hit the stamp and not miss and hit my knuckles. Because of its feather weight, it just couldn’t do the job.

4 oz Fretz Hammer

Closeup of Fretz 4 oz chasing hammer headAfter all of my attempts over the last couple years I knew I wanted a hammer that was around 4 oz, I wanted the larger head, and I wanted it to be Fretz-perfect.

I’ve had “4 oz Fretz Planishing Hammer” on my Rio Grande wish list for a long time. Of course, when I went to order it last week, I realized that it was a chasing hammer that I wanted.

I got it today, and it’s perfect. My Fretz hammers are probably the sexiest tools that I own and when you have the right one for the job…they’re like a little bit of heaven in the palm of your hand. Seriously, it’s like hammering with a cloud.

Building a Coloring Team

I have been not-so-patiently waiting to go live with my coloring books for adults. I’ve been looking forward to getting a copy and coloring along with those of you who purchase it. As I have been waiting for the proof to arrive for the second volume, I’ve gotten antsy. I decided to start coloring from the proof of Volume 1.

I tried Prisma Color colored pencils this time and I think I’m falling in love. I love how the tooth of the paper grabs the color, and shading is a blast. They feel like crayons for grown-ups. Liking colored pencils was a surprise for me but up until now I’ve been trying to use them on copy paper. The tools and supplies you use can be so important for full on enjoyment.

Meditative Mandalas - Volume 1

If you look closely you will see a boo-boo in design. (It has been fixed, along with another faux pas). It sucked to see that but it’s so much better than having sold some of them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at these images and did not see these things. It’s only when I started coloring each individual area that it became evident.

With that said, I’m looking to build a coloring team. Ten people who would fully color five pages for me in advance of book releases. Team members would print the pages themselves from a digital download and color them, seeing if any issues pop out and reporting back with a quick shot of the images. Coloring quality is not important…just the fact of touching each element and noticing differences between the repeated areas, or other issues.

Details will be coming in the next couple days, on my facebook coloring page. If you are interested, please pop on over there and join. If you haven’t been to the page, also check out the giveaway/random contest I’m running for a gel pen set and Dick Blick gift certificate.

Happy coloring!

Where do you color?

I realize that it takes nothing at all to pull out your coloring pages and color. A cozy corner in the TV room would suffice nicely. I work from home and have a lot of studio space to which I can escape when I’ve been sitting in my office for too long and just need to unplug (aside from my Spotify playing in the background). So, I use my studio to color, as if I were creating great works of art. It feels good.

Lori Greenberg Coloring Spot

I love my inverted drawing board to help with overhead light glare. The idea is also to help me not hunch over and get a stiff neck and shoulders. I find myself needing to be right up in the detail of the work though and I still find myself tensing and always reminding myself to relax my muscles.

My spectacles are a favorite too. While I only need +1.50 cheaters for everyday reading, I pop on my +3.00 glasses for detailed coloring. I love feeling like I’m right there in the work, watching the marker ink bleed right up to the line as it’s happening.

And my desk light. I have great lighting in the new studio but again, with my old eyes, there is something to be said about having a spotlight blaring on the detailed drawings. I really should draw detailed landscapes and pretend that I’ve shrunk myself because I really do become immersed in the design with everything I use to feel up close and personal with it.

So there you have it. How and why I color like I do. What do you love about your space (even if it’s your lap while you lounge in bed and watch Netflix)?