Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly
by Karen Meador, Ph.D.
Of course, you already know how to grasp a jewelry hammer; you've been doing it for years. Unfortunately, even though hammering is a mainstay of making jewelry, it seems to me that little time is spent considering how to hold a hammer. You likely knew how to hold a hammer before you took your first class, read your first tutorial or watched that first jewelry video. But give me a minute and let's think this over.
Instructions
Grasp the hammer close to the end of the handle and wrap your fingers around it as though you are shaking hands.
Karen Meador, Ph.D.'s Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly - , Tool Tips, , grasp a hammer
Karen Meador, Ph.D.'s Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly - , Tool Tips, , grasping a hammer properly
If you grasp the handle closer to its head you are "choking up" on it and you lose some of the weight and potential of the hammer. Try it both ways and feel the difference.
This may not seem detrimental when you are hammering small pieces of wire; however, when doing larger jobs, you will want to use the weight of the hammer rather than extreme effort from your muscle. We negate some of the power of the hammer when we "choke up".
Karen Meador, Ph.D.'s Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly - , Tool Tips, , don't choke up the hammer
Karen Meador, Ph.D.'s Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly - , Tool Tips, , holding a hammer
In many of the videos and tutorials I see people holding a hammer as if it were a knife, i.e. pointing the index finger over the hammer handle.
Before thinking this is fine, consider what happens to the hammer when you strike it on the bench block. There is some "push back" to your hands and especially to an extended finger. Do you really want that index finger to be continually pushed upward as you hammer? This becomes more and more dangerous over time; even the small jewelry hammer will eventually take its toll.

I hope, if needed, you will begin thinking more about your grasp and simply shake hands with the end of your hammer. Your hand will thank you!
Karen Meador, Ph.D.'s Holding a Jewelry Hammer Properly - , Tool Tips, , don't extend your index finger

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  • Category: Tool Tips
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