Making a hand-engraved hammer, using only simple tools and no forge

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If you want a decorative hammer, then great. Or maybe a hammer to use as a mallet on wood.

If you want a functional hammer, you need some sort of hardenable steel (I use 4140 for mine).
And if you want to heat treat a hammer, you’re going to need a forge or a HT oven. Heck, even a blow dryer and a charcoal BBQ will work in a pinch.

If he did a selective face HT (like some japanese hammers), he could have still engraved it.


what Bobo said, as far as utility of the tool.
I went through a “hand engraving” obsession for a couple of years in my late teens. I never go all that proficient, but i still do little engraved touches on big projects I finish.

Beautiful demonstration of basic engraving technique, very satisfying.

The difference between types and treatments of steel is made abundantly apparent as the hardened engraving tools chew through the soft steel hammer blank.

You don’t always want a hammer to be too hard. He seems to do a lot of work with brass. A softer hammer transfers less vibration to your wrist and is less likely to send a chip of steel into your eye. I have a couple brass and copper hammers that do the job and they are way less hard than this hammer.

Also- this guys videos are awesome and quite often more artistic than functional.

I guess there are applications (non-sparking or non-marring are two that come to mind). That being said, one doesn’t generally think of the classic dual faced sledge as a non-hardened hammer.

But yeah, an over-hardened hammer is a big problem. An under-hardened hammer, IMHO, makes the work a lot harder due to lack of good energy transfer. I’ve used bladesmithing hammers that have a slot cut in them, with a hard rubber piece inserted the length of the handle, that really seemed to reduce the force returning to your hand, while not affecting the force you could impart to the work. Cool stuff.

And cool blacksmithing tip: there are a lot of really cool designs for hammer handle mods that drastically reduce vibration/elbow wear, which makes working for a longer time much easier.

Just as long as you can pick it up…

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