There are many ways to texture jewelry metal, including using a hammer with a face that is specially designed to create patterns.
Some brands of texture hammers are manufactured with fixed faces — meaning each of the two faces on the hammer is carved with a different design.
There are also interchangeable texture hammers on the market, which feature a mounting bracket system and either screw-on texture heads, or texture heads that insert into a screw-on collet.
I’ve seen several brands with interchangeable hammer sets having as many as 10 or more different texture design options, plus Delrin nylon, brass and plain steel inserts for maximum versatility.
Whichever style of texture hammer you decide to purchase, there are models available at every price point, so it bears repeating: when it comes to jeweler’s tools you get what you pay for. I always recommend purchasing the highest quality tool you can afford, and saving up for the “best” whenever you can.
What to look for when buying texture hammers
Any hammer will make marks or texture on metal, but when choosing a specialty texture hammer it is important to watch for sharply defined designs on the face, but also smooth edges on the perimeter of the hammer face — otherwise, you’ll create dents right along with your texture. If you find a hammer you love that has edges that are too sharp, sand and polish them — because what you are going for when you use the tool is texture, not dents. And make sure the hammer head is securely wedged in the handle.
5 Top Texture Hammer Tips
• Always use a steel bench block or anvil under the flat metal you are texturing to prevent it from curling or deforming.
• Like with any new tool, it’s a good idea to practice first. I suggest hammering with a texture hammer on scrap metal the first time you use it — every hammer feels and behaves differently, so don’t unintentionally ruin your sterling silver by jumping in too fast.
• I always hammer texture metal following a specific path across annealed, dry sheet metal from right to left because I am right-handed and I hold the metal with my left hand.
Then, I move down to the next “row,” which may seem a little obsessive, but this method makes it easy to get an even, allover texture while avoiding work hardening the metal in random places or not at all in others.
• Try combining two textures from different hammers: alter the metal direction or the force used when striking for different effects.
• Finally, think about it. There is no reason why you can’t use a texture hammer on wire, too…