Hammers...gotta love 'em. I can't resist a nice hammer so I thought I'd share my faves. Keep in mind that these are MY favorites...you may have your own. Depending on the work you do, you may have different hammer requirements. For instance, my hands are pretty small and I have extremely spindly wrists, so I like a hammer that's a bit more petite...most of the time.
Number one on my list of can't-live-without hammers is my trusty Fretz chasing hammer. The model I like is the HMR-17. The Otto Frei site describes it as "the Fretz interpretation of a classic chasing hammer...based on an old engraver's chasing hammer in Bill Fretz's collection." Who, I ask you, could resist that description?
This hammer is meant to be used directly on tools (like chasing tools and punches) but that's not the way I use it. I use it for just about all of my jewelry making, including making wire rivets with the ball end. I like the weight of the head, I love the ball end for texturing and rivets, and I adore the Paduk rosewood handle. The handle shape of the Fretz handles fits deliciously into your hand.
Next up is my deadblow hammer; it's the black one, on the left. It's not pretty but it's indispensable to me. A rawhide mallet or nylon hammer can be used in it's place but I love the weight and feel of my deadblow. It's used for shaping without marring, and for hardening metal. I like the 8 oz. weight but you can use a 10 oz, as well. There's a cool green one, here...and a black or red one, here.
Back to the pretty hammers... Just look at that bad boy. This is my Fretz large planishing hammer...HMR-101. It's great for bigger, more heavy duty hammering jobs, like roofing. Haha...just kidding! Planishing hammers are for smoothing and shaping...stretching metal. Again, the handle is luscious in the hand.
I also have a smaller version of the big boy. This is the Fretz mini no. 1 planishing hammer. I love it and use it a lot, especially if I'm doing something more delicate. Again, with the handle. They just feel so yummy.
This is the Fretz mini no. 13 short sharp texturing/raising hammer. I can't even tell you how terrific this one is for texturing. The mini no. 12 is equally as wonderful. Can you tell that I'm in love with Fretz hammers? They're superbly made and just delightful to work with.
I haven't actually had a chance to use these texture hammers but I can tell you that I love them, already. I got them through the Otto Frei website but I see that they are out of them, at the moment. They're nice and heavy-ish and feel great in the hand. The handles are smooth with gentle curves in the right spots. Big, big plus...the heads are on very securely. In a class I recently taught, two of my other texture hammers lost their heads...a very dangerous situation, indeed! Fortunately for my students, they both came off in my hand, during demo time. A very embarrassing situation, indeed.
On the not-so-pretty side, again, is my 4 oz. Vaughn ball pein hammer. This is a great hammer for working with steel so that I don't have to worry about marring my better jewelry hammers.
This one is a recent purchase which I've not had a chance to properly vet, but I think I'm really going to like it. It's the Revere R-CR chasing/riveting hammer. There are several interesting things about this one: the handle is a lovely shape but purposely left roughly textured, the better to grab. The head on the chasing end is unpolished and flat, as opposed to domed, the better to strike with. Again, this is a chasing hammer, meant to strike punches and other tools, not metal. However, I reserve the right to use it however I like. :) Another really interesting detail is the fact that the other end is a polished cross peen for riveting, raising and texturing. Also, it's a required tool for the Revere Academy...so it must be good, right? Too intriguing to pass up!
Who could not love this sweet little baby? This antique watchmaker's hammer is a symphony of tiny delightfulness...made even better by the fact that it was a gift, from a friend. It's one of those tools that doesn't even have to be used to be enjoyed.
So there you have my hammer round up. I do have others that I'm devoted to but this is my go-to group. Happy hammering!