How to Hammer Copper for Jewelry

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Copper is a warm-toned, reddish-hued metal that is a popular material for a variety of both functional and decorative objects. It is used everything from electrical wires to pots and pans, from therapeutic shoe inserts to jewelry. Copper jewelry is a popular adornment. You can enhance the appearance of copper used in jewelry by hammering it. Hammering can lend texture and interest to copper, and encourage it to reflect light in dynamic ways.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper sheet metal
  • Copper wire
  • Cast copper forms
  • Anvil block
  • Chasing hammer
  • Ball-peen hammer
  • Ring mandrel
  • Bracelet mandrel
  • Determine which copper jewelry components you want to embellish through hammering. Note that you can hammer pieces of copper sheet metal before or after cutting it into the shape you desire. You can also hammer copper that has been melted and cast, and you can hammer copper wire.

  • Lay pieces copper jewelry components onto an anvil block—a square block made of steel that supports metal for hammering.

  • Strike copper jewelry components with a chasing hammer—a steel hammer with two sides, one flat and one rounded—to add a variety of interesting marks to their surfaces.

  • Hit copper jewelry components with a ball-peen hammer to make round indentations in their surfaces.

  • Shape copper into a ring by hammering it around a ring mandrel—a cone-shaped cylinder used to measure and form rings—with a ball-peen hammer.

  • Form copper into a bracelet by hammering it around a bracelet mandrel—a cone-shaped cylinder used to measure and shape bracelets—with a ball-peen hammer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Find copper wire, copper sheet and copper casting grains, as well as anvil blocks and various hammers, at jewelry supply stores and online vendors such as firemountaingems.com and riogrande.com.
  • You can also embellish the surface of copper jewelry components by hammering them with lettered and numbered stamps, or stamps bearing symbols such as hearts and stars. Alphabet, numeral and symbol stamp sets are available at the jewelry supply retailers and wholesalers mentioned in the tip above.

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References

  • "Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight, 2004
  • Photo Credit peen hammer image by vnlit from Fotolia.com
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