Hammers...what kid doesn't like to bang on things? Fortunately I was allowed to investigate tools at a young age at my grandfathers feet as he puttered about in his workshop. There were old tools, odd segments of pile fittings( which I assembled and dissembled endlessly), scrap wood, nails and HAMMERS! whoo hoo kid heaven.!
Later, in College I took a metals/ jewelry class and was required to buy some specialty hammers and accidently got a great planishing hammer that I use to this day with joy. It is well used and refinished by polishing many times, and it gets even better with age. ( like me. haha)
My 2nd major hammer was a large cross peen with a square flat head on other side. I think it was called a boxing hammer but I used the cross peen end for forging. A square hammer face was of no use to me so years later, given access to belt sanders, I rounded it and made a high polished dome out of that square flat end and have used that more than any other hammer , except for my beloved planishing hammer. I made what I called "puffed cuffs" long before the term "synclastic" forming was popular to describe this form. I taught others how easy it was to form bracelets with a hammer and a piece of wood, but there was a small problem: you could not buy a hammer like mine because I had altered it to its favored form. Believe me I searched everywhere and even approached a couple of people to make them for me. Fortunately ,I crossed paths with Chuck Kennington of NC Black Co. I own many of their fine quality, made in USA, hammers so I asked Chuck if he would consider making my fav hammer. Chuck was patient and cooperative, after several prototypes and testing sessions the "April" hammer was born. This bad boy hammer is big, but not too heavy; which is important so you don't wear out your arm when hammering. It has long "neck" between the 2 polished high domed faces of different diameters. Its long "neck" allows you to work INSIDE the bracelet as it curves around during forming. The other benefit of this hammer is you can clamp the head in a vise and use it as a polished stake and shape your form from the outside. Plus, Chuck made it AFFORDABLE! What a great Guy, who has a great company and made us a great hammer. You can check it out, as well as all the other great hammers NC Black makes at www.ncblack.com. I usually bring some to classes & workshops so you can try it out and fall in love for yourself. Here is a link to NC Black company and the "April" Hammer, named after.....well I'm sure you can guess. http://www.ncblack.com/product/april