Saturday, February 25, 2012

metal stamping

mary jane dodd


one of the first techniques i tried was metal stamping... 

how hard could it be? you have a metal blank and hit the metal punch with a hammer on an anvil or bench block... 

right?

well, yes... 

and, no... 

i learned that you could get some very frustrating results... 

like double striking - you know that one, where you get a double image of the stamp... 

or the letters are drifting up (or down)...

or the character is sideways - because you didn't check that one last time to make sure it was being held correctly in your hand... 

when you make mistakes in stamping, it can be incredibly frustrating - you can be almost to the end of a phrase and get careless... the metal gets put into the recycle bag... but if you aren't able to cut your own discs, you have now lost one blank in your limited supply... 


like any technique, it is worth learning about... trial and error are always important learning methods, but the waste of time and money can be teeth gritting... 

double strikes - if you are using a steel hammer to hit a steel punch on a steel bench block there is a lot of bounce back... the energy has to go somewhere... for me, a brass head hammer has really been helpful... a softer metal, brass absorbs the shock... 

brass head hammers are also recommended any time you are hitting something steel - like when using a disc cutter... metal work hardens when it is repeatedly struck... eventually it can snap... using the brass lessens that effect... 

wonky orientation - draw a line with a sharpie marker, double check just one more time that the stamp is facing the way you want it to...

and find the position that works best for you... meaning, whether you are sitting or standing depending upon how high your work table is... it matters in terms of the strike... i have found that i really do need my elbow to be able to come to a 90* angle...  stamping is also not really a technique you can do on a plastic card table... you need some stability behind it... 


i hope these tips will reduce some of the frustration for you... because there are such fun and beautiful stamps out there to purchase... and it is a rather inexpensive way to personalize your work... 

if you want to be inspired by clean stamping, take a look at the work of cindy pack - she is a great example of one who knows her tools and the techniques by which you optimize their use... 


if you want to dap your discs, use a wooden set...


a great source (besides etsy) is beaducation ... 

11 comments:

Alice said...

Besides being timid about learning new techniques, and having little to no extra time, my small budget does not allow for the waste that is created when learning a new technique. I would love to learn metal stamping, making my own blanks, fold forming, torch-fired ename and so many more. I need to come up with a plan to make these happen.

Thanks for sharing the tips!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Question: What happens when you want to dapp these? Do you need deeper punches or doesn't it matter? Also, where do you get your metal punches? I would love to try this.
MaryAnn

stacilouise said...

Great advice. I was just stamping with a new set yesterday. I got a smaller letter set so I could write larger phrases. I had trouble telling which letter each one was, and then getting the orientation right (thankfully its just for me, so the backward letter doesn't bother me). I think I may invest in a letter bag- that organzies them by letter, or write it on the side. Depending on the font, its hard to tell!!! Or maybe I just need better glasses:)

Artisan Beads Plus said...

HAHAHA Staci!!!! You're funny :o)

Spirited Earth said...

Thanks for these tips,I've made all these mistakes,but still keep wanting to stamp copper,no doubt a better hammer would help..and those glasses Staci mentioned too.

Stacie Florer said...

Great article...I have recently taken up stamping and two things have helped me considerably. 1. Make sure your bench block is sitting on something very hard. I put mine on my formica topped table. This will help alleviate any bounce-back too. 2. I use blue carpenters tape to tape down my metal...this helps to in getting a good strike and I also use the tape as a guide for lettering words and phrases. The brass mallet is very helpful too..a big head helps in that you don't graze the stamp. Actually, I use tape for a lot of things in my workshop...I put a piece of duct tape (shiny grey stuff) on my bench next to where I am stamping to test stamp and make sure I have it facing the right way before I stamp the metal. For some reason, the duct tape shows the test stamp clearly.

Sandra said...

Hahah, coincidentally I have tried out the letter stamp set I got MONTHS ago for the very first time just yesterday. I stamped the back of a locket - worked like a charm, except for the curved shape of the locket making it want to slip away. I use a rubber block underneath my steel block and used 3mm letter stamps. Hm, glasses ... I did a lot of squinting to figure out which letter was which, lol. Do need to keep that tip about test stamping on duct tape in mind, and also shall look into getting a brass hammer. =o

Thanks for sharing!

Sandra

Cindy Pack said...

What a surprise to see my name at the end of this article. Thanks so much for your comments Maire. I appreciate it! It took a LOT of practice and a lot of wasted blanks for me to feel confident and comfortable stamping. I did a lot of stamping on copper before moving on to ss. I still mess up and make mistakes (of course) but most of the time I am able to salvage the blank or metal in some way. Melting silver down to make ball stud earrings, or heating and hammering a charm repeatedly until you can't see the lettering works too. Stamping is so addictive and fun! I love it! :) Cindy

Barbara said...

I love that Hamsa stamp! These are all great tips Maire! Have you or anyone else used a deadblow hammer? How does that compare to brass?

Shaiha said...

Thank you so much for the tips. I have been wanting to get onto stamping so I will be saving them.

alston elvis said...

To make large volume of metal parts using Steel Stamping method is required. The tools used for the process are stamping presses and Stamping On Metal dies. Steel Stamping

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