The Silversmith's Toolkit - Hammering


We often mention the traditional techniques our craftsmen use to create the beautiful silver creations that leave our workshop - but each of these techniques, passed down and evolved over the centuries, is worth exploring. In this series, we’ll examine some of the techniques at the heart of the British craftsmanship taking place in our workshop every day.


There’s a real knack to wielding a hammer - and it’s a talent our craftsmen have perfected over decades of experience - but everybody has to start somewhere, and before our apprentices are given the opportunity to take their mallets to silver, they practice on less expensive metals like copper.

Our craftsmen make use of rawhide and plastic mallets, bending silver (and other metals) into whatever shape the project requires - and our workshop has a variety of silversmithing hammers available for their use - with just about any texture you can imagine, to create a variety of effects on the finished silver. Because our craftsmen know what they’re doing, they can create incredible patterns by hammering in different ways.

There’s a lot you can do with a hammer - a single hammer can form metal and texture it, depending on how the craftsman uses it - and the techniques our craftsmen use have been passed down through the generations, so every piece that leaves our workshop is made using a combination of cutting edge technology and traditional techniques.

In conjunction with their trusty hammers, our craftsmen often make use of dapping blocks and other shaping blocks to allow them to create smooth curved and domed shapes from sheets of silver without damaging the metal. Traditionally, silversmiths used tree stumps that had been carved out into bowl-shaped moulds, and this basic round bowl shape remains useful even today - although you won't find any tree stumps in our workshop. 

When small irregularities occur, the sheetmetal will be positioned between a smooth and relatively hard hammerhead, and a dolly to match the part's contour. Our craftsmen will then smooth the metal towards the curvature of the dolly, using repeated, glancing blows from a planishing hammer. 

When the time comes for one of our masterpieces to enter the hammering phase, our craftsmen decide which hammer is the right size and the right shape for the job, and set to work. 


Discover other aspects of the Silversmithing process in previous installments of The Silversmith’s Toolkit, and see the finished products in our collection of the finest British craftsmanship.

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