How to Fix a Hammer Head with Dents

Mar 5, 2010
Helen Driggs Spacer 10x10 pixels

You know tools rule when . . .

You feel the way our guest editor Helen Driggs does if her jewelry hammers are used for (gasp!) anything but jewelry. Has someone abused your tools for home repair? Listen up as our managing editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist tells you how to smooth out a damaged hammerhead and avoid divorce at the same time. –LR, Beading Daily editor

Dents can be undone
Suppose your unthinking significant other (SO) used your planishing hammer to drive a finishing nail into the trim and damaged its surface. After you come to your senses, resist the urge to commit homicide and install a lock on the studio door, you’ll find it’s possible to remove scratches, dings, and sharp edges from any hammer face by following these directions.

Spacer 10x10 pixels 1: Trace the contour of the hammerhead for reference on a piece of paper. Make a tracing of both axes of the curve. Take measurements with a caliper if you desire total control over replicating the hammer face prior to the ding.
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Spacer 10x10 pixels 2: File down to the deepest depth of the offending mark with a #3 or #2 hand file. Preserve the contour of the hammer face prior to the ding by comparing it to the tracings and measurements you made.
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Spacer 10x10 pixels 3: When the mark is filed down and the face profile of the hammer is to your liking, proceed through several grades of sandpaper from coarse to fine until the steel is absolutely smooth and scratch free.
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  4: Buff the hammerhead on a polishing arbor with Fabulustre compound until it is polished to a mirror finish. Remove excess compound with a lint-free cloth. Hide the hammer, so no one will ever use it for home repair again.
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You're only as good as your tools
And for shining examples of how the right tools help you be the best artist you can be, wait until you see Kate McKinnon's forthcoming book Sculptural Metal Clay. You can preorder it here.

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How do you keep your tools in good shape and out of harm's way? How do you keep your cool if you find your jewelry pliers being used to fix the toaster? Share your tales here on Beading Daily

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on Mar 5, 2010 7:26 AM

The projects in Kate's book are GORGEOUS. Makes me want to put down my needle and thread and roll out some metal clay, no kidding! The designs are so modern and interesting. I drink in  every page.

LynetteF wrote
on Mar 5, 2010 7:55 AM


What a timely post! Any help on how to TIGHTEN a loose planishing hammerhead? Mine has begun to wiggle, so sometimes it turns causing unwanted dings from the edge. Can you give me tips what to do?

on Mar 5, 2010 9:34 AM

I work best in controlled chaos. To my husband it's just CHAOS. He won't even come into my studio. He stands at the door to talk to me. So my tools are SAFE!