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Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chain Making

Lesson 20 of 22

Adding Hammer Texture and Flattening Links


Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chain Making

Lesson 20 of 22

Adding Hammer Texture and Flattening Links


Lesson Info

Adding Hammer Texture and Flattening Links

So now that we have talked about finishing we have one last variable, and I have a feeling while this is not necessarily my favorite variable, I think it's gonna be a lot of other people's favorite variable, which is adding hammer texture and flattening links. So as you can see here, we've gone through, whew, nine of our 10, and again we're not gonna hold on this, if you guys purchased this class, you can get the PDF bonus that includes all of these variables and the worksheet to kinda work through them. But our final variable here is adding hammer texture. And so, with hammer texture, you actually have a couple of choices. So you can, use hammer texture, either just to add texture to your piece, or you can actually do it to change the shape of your link. And I'm gonna show you guys a couple of examples here. So you can see in this thicker gauge here, I've added some texture, kinda to this one, whereas on my thinner gauge wire, I actually pretty much literally flattened the link. So wi...

th hammer texture, you have that option, where you can just kinda rough it up a little, create a more interesting surface, or you can literally change the shape of the wire itself. So a couple things to think about, in terms of our process. We only ever want to hammer on clean, dry metal, because we're gonna hammer on a steel block here. We're gonna use metal hammers, and we wanna make sure that our metal is clean and dry, so we don't have any rust on here. Now, in terms of work flow, hammer texture is going to happen after your final pickle, after you've done any filing to clean up, but before you tumble. And the reason for that, of course, is that tumbling is work hardening, so we don't wanna work harden this and then try to smush it with our hammer, right? So the other thing that we wanna keep in mind is that we always want to wear ear protection when hammering. So this is gonna be loud, we're gonna keep it to a minimum in here because we're not wearing ear protection. But in your own studio, if you're doing a lot of hammering you definitely wanna wear ear protection, whether it's little ear protection, or invest in the big guys, but you know, this is not something that you repeatedly want to expose your ears to, so again we're gonna keep our hammering kind of short, but just know if you're doing this in your own studio, you definitely want ear protection. The other thing is that hammering will work harden your metal. So if you are wondering how to preserve your shape, and you don't have a tumbler, hammering is a good option. Obviously it will flatten your wire a little bit but it'll also, you know, as you're hammering, you'll kinda keep the shape, and it'll keep it a little bit more preserved. I'm gonna use the word preserved from now on. It's gonna keep it preserved for you. So I have a couple of different hammers here because different shaped hammer heads are going to do different things to our metal, or create different textures. So here I've got, you can see, what's typically called a chasing hammer. It's used for a very specific process in jewelry called chasing and repousse, which we're not going to get into here, that's a whole other thing, but it's typically called a chasing hammer and what you usually have is one round and one more flat. So if you're just trying to kinda do, like a little bit of a divot texture or something, this is a hammer that's gonna work for you here. Then I also have, this is technically a riveting hammer, so it's used to make rivets, not ribbit like the frog, but rivet like r, i, v, e, t. But the reason that I like it for hammer texture is because it has this, what's called a cross peen face and that actually kinda gives us lines. The other thing that you can get, if you are super into hammer texture, they make these hammers that have interchangeable faces. So this guy actually comes apart, and you can drop in, this came with 10, but I did not bring them all with me because they were very heavy, and my suitcase was already at 50 pounds. But you can change out these different faces so it comes with everything from like a smooth, so if you're like I think I'm gonna get into hammer texturing, but I don't wanna buy a ton of hammers, you can get one of these interchangeable face hammers, they're fairly inexpensive, and you can play with lots of textures that way as well. So again, hammer texturing is something we're gonna do after we've soldered, after we've pickled, and then once we've added, you know, clean up any files. And so, it's good to work on a steel block, and because you have the rest of the chain here, you're always gonna kinda work on the edge. And so you can do things like just add a little bit of texture (hammer banging on metal) So I'm not really changing the shape much with this round face, I'm really just kinda giving it a little bit of a sort of, I lost my link, I'm just kinda giving it a little bit of a beat up texture here, I think it's this guy we were hammering on. It's like a little bit kind of a beat up texture. If I wanted to flatten a link, I'm gonna use a thinner gauge cause it's gonna take a lot of force to flatten that big guy. If I was gonna flatten a link, I would use like the flat face, right? So just come in here (hammer banging on metal) and if you want to, so one of the things to keep in mind with hammering, is that anything you hammer is gonna pick up both the texture of the face of your hammer and the texture of your steel block. So one of the rules that I have is, I do not use any old hammer if I'm center punching a hole so if you have, you know, when we talked about drilling, for those of you who were in the previous class, we would take a center punch and we would hit it with a hammer, these hammers don't get that, right, because that could dent our surface. So we wanna keep our surface clean, but any surface that we have on our steel block is also gonna imprint, and so if you're putting on a texture (hammer banging) you'll actually texture one side, but the other side will get smooth from your steel block. So you wanna flip it over and kinda make sure that you're adding texture to both sides. So I'm just gonna work through here, (hammer banging metal) and again, ear protection, so I'm not gonna hammer crazy amounts because I don't wanna kill all of our hearing. But the other one that I kinda really like, again is this cross peen, and so what you wanna do with this guy, is hit this so that it's perpendicular to the shape of your ring (hammer banging metal) and you can create (hammer banging metal) little grooves in there. And you can also use that, I'll put that back under there, so we can create little grooves, and you can also use that to flatten as you work as well, but it'll flatten with kind of like a wave pattern instead of a nice, flat shape. And then our little texture guys, depending on again what you're using here (hammer banging metal) and a lot of these (hammer banging metal) a lot of these texturing hammers are kind of become indistinguishable in a jump ring, right, like a texture just sorta looks like a texture, just sorta looks like a texture, so where these really kinda come into play, if you're texturing sheet metal. So if you're like oh, I wanna put a texture in all the things, Megan, play with some sheet metal, 'cause you'll really start to see where these patterns come up. But it can give you a little bit of different texture on your jump rings. So any questions about hammering? Yes, Michelle would like to know can you hammer right on the solder line? Does it weaken the solder? If your solder joint is right, it will not. [Man with Glasses] Great. How do you avoid distorting your ring when you hammer on the edge of the bench block like that? So the reason that I'm not distorting it is because even though, let's see if you guys can kinda see this. Even though this is hammering over the edge of the bench block, the surface of my hammer is always here, so I'm never hitting like, at the edge, I'm always keeping my surface on a part of this that's flat, and then I'm spinning my ring. And so, if I was hitting out here, it would distort but because I'm hitting in here, it's not distorting.

Class Description

Go beyond the basics of handmade chain making and discover your own creative voice.

There’s no need to buy boring, store-bought chain. In Explorations in Metalsmithing: Creative Chainmaking, you’ll learn the basics of creating your own handmade chain (including how to get comfortable soldering with a torch) and how to take the basics of chain making and add endless variations to create designs that are uniquely yours.

Designer and metalsmith Megan Auman has built her own jewelry line by discovering her signature style in chain making, and now she wants to help you do the same!

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Make and solder jump rings into a basic link-in link-chain.
  • Create variation in your chain making through wire gauge, link size, shape, and more.
  • Hone in on your aesthetic to find a style that’s uniquely you.
  • Finish your chains so they’re sturdy and stunning.
  • Turn your chain making explorations into amazing earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing, or you’re looking to inject some creativity into your jewelry designs, you’ll leave this class with the skills and ideas necessary to create your own unique chain. Plus, you’ll explore your ideas by creating a series of chain-link statement earrings - perfect to wear, share, or sell!



Megan' an excellent instructor and lays things out very clearly, with a lot of good tips based on her extensive experience. I've experience making wire wrapped chain and have taken a beginning metalsmithing class before, and this class had some good refresher information. I particularly appreciated seeing her techniques and process for streamlining production.

a Creativelive Student

Megan is an awesome teacher! She is genuinely enthusiastic about sharing her metalsmithing skills with us. I am really looking forward to trying my hand at designing and making a chained necklace on my own soon.

Vernell Bevelander

Another excellent class! Thank you Megan!