What is the Best Surface for Stamping on Washers?

by Melissa

QuestionWhen stamping on washers…I am using the metal block, but where are you stamping? I am sitting on the (hard, cold) garage floor and using the step into our house as my “table.” It is NOT comfortable and my arm and neck are paying for it.

Of course, I am making LOTS and LOTS of items…so spending hours out there. BUT as hard as I have to hit to make the impression in the washers (usually 6-8 to make it deep enough.

I guess they are really hard compared to what you are buying?) but I am sure I could not do this in my house on my wood floors or ceramic tile…any ideas??


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  1. Any sturdy surface is fine BUT you have to have something beneath the block. Some use a thick leather pad, others use a sand bag. It cushions and protects the surface the block is sitting on, as well as muffles the sound of the hammering.

  2. Hello Melissa says:

    The obvious answer is to build an outdoor bench. Or maybe go around neighbourhoods and scrounge for something you can use for one. Look out for stools too. hey.. ya gotta sit at the bench, standing up gets a bit tiring on the legs after a while.
    You can build benches out of pallets even. anything scrap really. but timber is always best. people discard pallets every day. put your boyfriend husband to the”TEST”
    pallets are also extremely hard wearing
    you will need nails hammer saw(s) glue and electric drill and electric saw
    When i did it i solved the problem of size by thinking computer desk width
    Since those days i invested in a REAL bench

  3. I glued a piece of the white foam core poster board to the bottom of my steel block.

  4. I’ve always put my bench block on a bead mat on whatever table I’m working at and had no problems, although I wouldn’t dream of doing any hammering on a “good” wooden, granite or ceramic-topped table or surface. Using a bead mat under the bench block keeps the noise down and, since I normally work in piled-up chaos, prevents most of the chaos from jumping around and falling off the table every time I whack something.

  5. sandi m says:

    I have a thick wood kitchen table that I use for stamping. But when stamping out letters I never, never use a sandbag under the bench block/anvil as it creates an unstable surface. I have a large square of plain leather that I use. Sometimes I will stamp on my floor.
    Have you tried annealing the washers first? Makes them much easier to stamp.

  6. Caron Lambert says:

    I have found that using a thicker mouse pad provides a good pad and some noise reduction. Hope this helps.


  7. Can you anneal the washers so they are softer and take the stamping easier?
    You must not have a work bench in your garage, an easy way to build one is to run a 2×4 across wall at correct height then measure out for how deep you want it. Use metal pipe with flange for front legs. Turn your top upside down and attach 2×4 flat around edge with screws. Don’t use nails because the hammering will eventually loosen them. The attach pipe screwing thru holes in flange. Turn over and attach to wall 2×4 again use screws from top side. This can be any size you want. I wouldn’t go any smaller than 3 ft in length.
    If you have a metal barrel turn it upside down and place a piece of wood on top of it for a base to hammer on. I’d place a rubber mat under it.
    Hope this helps.

  8. As several have mentioned, you will have a much easier time stamping if you anneal the washers first. Annealing is heating metal – it realigns the structure of the metal and makes it softer. For copper I have found that you can anneal without a torch by using your stove. If you have a gas stove, simply hold the washer in the flame (using tongs) until it turns cherry red. For an electric stove, turn the burner on high, and set the washers on them and again let them turn red… you may need to move the washers around to get the entire washer annealed. Once the metal cools back down, you can stamp it, clean it, and patina how you want. Be sure to stamp before you clean it, as in some cases you can rework hard the piece just by rubbing it vigorously. If your metal is too soft after stamping, you can also work harden it by striking it repeatedly with a rubber mallet, or by using a tumbler.

  9. Veronica says:

    Good ideas all around. My studiomate uses a scrap from some thick plastic floor tiles. They are gray and interlock (not adhesive). She puts that under her steel bench block. Our benches are 1/2″ plywood with 4×4″ legs. VERY sturdy. If you can afford it, a brass head mallet would help put more oomph in your arm swings. You can find them at riogrande.com; they’re pricey, but sounds like you would get your money’s worth out of one. Save your elbow/wrist, too. Good luck!

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