Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Stamping Drama

January 22, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 3
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Stamping Drama
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode I am talking about stamping jewelry which appears… deceptively simple. I will talk about tools, best practices and share some of the awesome tips our community has shared over the years.

You can create your own custom logo stamp with ImpressArt, they are quick, affordable and come in five different sizes. Shop here: http://shrsl.com/4dwyl

Combination 3" Steel and 4" Rubber Bench Block: https://amzn.to/3Hp8SdR

Brass Hammer: https://amzn.to/3S4Izyn

Tip for stamping large stamps: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C191YsMOfV3

Stamping straight with @everthinejewelry: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0ZFFsEubej

Tips for stamping large stamps from @dangbravegirl https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxw971dHv2E

Sharpie tip is from @southboundsmith https://www.instagram.com/p/CILhQZbBhNF

My Book Recommendations Page includes “The Art Of Stamping by Matthieu Cheminée”: https://metalsmithsociety.com/pages/book-recommendations

Support the podcast by purchasing merch: https://metalsmithsociety.com/collections

Join us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/metalsmithsociety

Thank you for listening!

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metal Smith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metals mith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious looky-loos eager to learn about jewelry making. Together we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me. In today's episode. I'm talking all about stamping jewelry, which appears deceptively simple. I have an entire graveyard of jewelry that I've stamped that didn't come out the way that I liked it, so today I'll talk about tools, best practices and share some of the amazing tips that have been shared by our community over the years. Before I begin, I want to tell you about our sponsor, ImpressA rt. They sell all the stamping stuff and they also have affordable custom stamps available in five different sizes. This is one of our most frequently asked questions anytime we post about stamping where can I get a logo stamp? You can get it from ImpressArt. You could just simply upload your logo and they will send you a custom stamp and you can start adding your signature to your work, which is something I know your customers are going to love. So be sure to check it out. I'm going to add the link in the show notes. A little while ago I shared a tip about getting a good impression with a big stamp, because that can be pretty challenging, and on that post I asked our community to share their stamping questions and struggles or offer their advice and there was a lot of great feedback on that post. So here are some of the problems, stamping drama, as I would call it, not getting a good impression, getting a double impression, stamping crooked, stamping upside down. It's like I said, stamping is deceptively simple.

Corkie Bolton:

Before I jump into some of the community tips we've shared, I want to give some general advice and talk about some considerations. So first, the tools. When you're stamping, you want a solid foundation. I have an anvil in my studio and I also own some bench blocks. You're going to want something like that to place your metal on. The other tool that you're going to need is a proper hammer. Later on in this episode I'll discuss some different hammers, so we'll come back to that. You want your metal to be thick enough. Let's say, 20 gauge or thicker will probably work best. Do people stamp on thinner metal? Absolutely, but if you're just starting out, if you use 20 or thicker, 18, 16, that might be a bit easier.

Corkie Bolton:

Your technique is going to be critical and this includes the height of your work. How's your posture? How do you hold your hammer? Those are important considerations when stamping. Many, many artists that stamp a lot use tall stumps and they have their work surface on it and they sit at it and their work is sort of at their chest height. Annealing is a very important consideration when you're stamping. If your metal is hard and hasn't been returned to a dead soft state, it's going to be very hard to get a good impression. And the other consideration is practice. I always keep scrap metal at my stamping area and I'm always testing, testing out stamps. If I'm going to execute something on a finished piece of jewelry, I want to make sure that I've practiced. And just generally, you will get better at stamping over time the more and more you practice.

Corkie Bolton:

The first community tip I'm going to talk about today was from @everthinejewelry, and in it she shows how she gets straight words with even spacing between each letter stamp every time, which is not an easy feat. The image included in the tip is of a circular pendant and the word loved is stamped on it, and it looks really perfect. So I think we should take this advice. Her tips are to take a ruler and a fine tip sharpie and draw a line exactly where you want your letters to be, and then you're going to take a piece of electrical tape and tape your piece down right over that line onto your bench block, and what this does is the electrical tape creates an edge where you can line up your stamp every time. Another thing mentioned on this post is that she gives her metal a high polish before she stamps, and what that can do is it can actually allow you to see the reflection of the stamp in the metal and that can also help you kind of line things up. The last thing that's mentioned on this post is that she keeps her work at eye level and that it's made a world of difference in being able to see what's going on.

Corkie Bolton:

The next community tip I want to talk about was shared by @dangbravegirl. It's similar to what I shared recently, in that in this tip she's showing how she gets a good impression with a very large stamp. Her stamp is 20 millimeters. In this post Her basics are she talks about her heavy foundation and she actually uses a non skid mat in between two bench blocks in this tip and then in it she's using a very heavy hammer. It's two and a half pound mallet. Now I mentioned we were going to get into hammers, and this seems like a great opportunity.

Corkie Bolton:

When it comes to stamping jewelry, the hammer that I typically recommend for folks is a brass mallet that weighs two pounds. Now why brass? Brass is softer than stainless steel, and so when you're hitting it, your stamps, they're not going to be damaged by the brass mallet, and that's why that's the one that's typically recommended. The weight is also another important factor, because you want a little bit of heft behind that hammer blow, and so having a two pound hammer can help with that. Now, when you're hitting a brass hammer against your stamps again and again and again, it will actually cause a little bit damage to the brass mallet. That's perfectly okay. But if you start getting a lot of chips and little metal edges that are coming, you can simply file those off and re-sand and reshape, but you do want to make sure that you don't put a high polish on a hammer surface that's being used for stamping, because this could cause some slippage.

Corkie Bolton:

@dangbravegirl also talks about the tilting method. So when you have a large stamp, one of the ways that you can get a good impression is you hold the stamp firmly and then you tilt it ever so slightly away from you and tap it at north, and tap it at south and then east and west, really trying to not move it, of course, but in tapping it at those four different angles it can help you get a good impression. With those larger stamps and, as mentioned previously, your metal must, must, must be annealed and sometimes if you're doing a lot of stamping on a piece, you're going to have to anneal before the job is done. So if you get an impression that you feel like, hmm, you know what that didn't feel, like it went, you know the stamp went in easily that might be a great time to pause and go back and anneal your work again. Another tip that's shared in this post is @dangbravegirl is using a thin leather under her metal. Her metal is 24 gauge in this particular tip, so she's using this thin leather underneath and that's helping her get a good impression. So if you are working with particularly thin metal, you can certainly try that technique and let us know how it works for you.

Corkie Bolton:

Lots of people asked about custom logo stamps on this post and that's why I thought it was appropriate to mention that in the beginning of today's episode. So again I'll link where I get mine in the show notes. The last community tip I wanted to talk about today was from @southbounds mith. In this tip she shows how she takes a marker and a template and really draws out where she's planning to stamp, because in this instance a bezel is gonna go in the center of these stampings and she's essentially stamping a back plate and generally I wanted to include this because Sharpie is your friend when it comes to stamping. You can use a Sharpie to create exactly where you wanna put different stampings. You can use lines and a ruler with a Sharpie to make sure that you're doing things in a symmetrical way. So generally I just love this idea because it's gonna really help you visualize where everything needs to go.

Corkie Bolton:

The last thing I wanted to talk about is if you've stamped something upside down. I mean, raise your hand, some stamps don't come with anything on them on the sides of the stamp, and so when you pick it up you're like, what direction does this face? And then if you're like me and you can't see super well, you're kinda looking at it and you're like, and then you just go for it and you're like, oh great, I did that upside down. A very, very easy tip for this is to just take nail polish or Sharpie and just mark what is the part of the stamp that should face you while you're stamping. That easy tip will help you. If you know, you've ever stamped upside down, like me.

Corkie Bolton:

Another thing I wanna address is getting a double impression. I know how frustrating that can be. So my best advice there is to definitely take a look at how well your metal is annealed, because when we're not getting that initial good impression and then we have to go back in or this is happening because you struck the hammer once your hand moved with the stamp and then you struck again. So make sure your metal's annealed and then also make sure if you are gonna hit the hammer a second time, you wanna make sure that you're really inside of that impression with your stamp and that you haven't moved. I also want you to take a look at how flat your metal is, assuming you're stamping a flat piece of metal and not a ring. But when we stamp, the metal immediately starts hardening and contorting a bit, and so if you're finding that that's the case, I want you to pause, anneal and then, once you've annealed, cleaned everything off in the pickle bath, dried it off, put it back on your bench block and just gently tap it with a raw hide mallet. Try to get that metal as flat as possible as well, because that's gonna also help you get a fantastic impression.

Corkie Bolton:

I have a book recommendations page on metalsmithsociety. com and on it I list the art of stamping. It's a book by Matthew Cheminee and it's a great book about stamping and also creating your own stamps. So if this is a passion of yours, be sure to check that out as well, and I'll link it in my show notes. I hope you found today's episode about stamping helpful. If you wanna support the page, you can head over to my website, metalsmithsociety. com, and check out all types of Metalsmith Society merch. That let you represent and support the page. Thank you for tuning in and I'll see you next time.

Introduction
Stamping Drama
Stamping Straight With @everthinejewelry
Tips For Stamping Large Stamps From @dangbravegirl
Sharpie Tip From @southboundsmith
Avoiding Stamping Upside Down
Avoiding Double Impressions
Book Recommendation and Final Thoughts