Creating your own hammered finish on sterling silver, gold filled or gold vermeille components is easy. For the following, I will be using sterling silver as examples. Since there are many different types of hammer heads, this leads to an endless list of possibilities! Some tools you can use ( which creates different effects ) are: a ball peen hammer, a flat nose hammer, a rawhide hammer, or a wooden hammer. Each hammer will give your sterling silver, gold filled or gold vermeille component a different result.
When you’re hammering, try out different bases underneath. You could use a piece of wood ( wood is a soft base ) which will provide some give for the metal, allowing it to bend. Depending on where you hammer your sterling silver, it can move the metal in small amounts. Try it out on a test piece to see what type of hammer dent will provide the effect you’re looking for. Another base you could use is a steel block. When hammering on a steel block you won’t just be creating a finish on the side you’re hammering, but you’ll also be creating another finish on the side of the sterling silver component that faces the steel.
TIP: if you do not want to dent your hammer or your anvil’s finish, put some masking tape on the surface you’ll be using, it helps to lessen the likelihood of you damaging your tools.
There are many bases that give different looks depending on the hammer and the amount of resistance your surface will give. I once used a hockey puck as a base, so I was able to easily create a hammered effect one side of the sterling silver component, yet the other side was unaffected and didn’t dent the same way as it would have on a harder surface like a steel block.
TIP: keep in mind when holding your hammer, do not point your index finger outwards as this can result in injury. You want to hold the hammer at the end of the handle for the most effective hit, and be sure to use your whole arm and elbow. Misuse of a hammer can result in wrist injuries as well.
A ball peen hammerhead will create metal divots, and depending on the size of your hammerhead, you can create an effect similar to pointillism or something as large as a creator, and everything in between. With this you can create many unique and diversified looks on your sterling silver components.
A flat nose hammerhead will create a line. This type of simple mark can be used for a wide range of designs, for example you can fan out the pattern on your sterling silver component, or you can crisscross it like a pile of sticks.
Feel free to try out this technique, I guarantee you will have a lot of fun with it, and it can also be a great stress reliever!