Monday, August 10, 2009


Now that I'm addicted to bronze metal clay, I've noticed it can warp while drying. I tried turning it while it's drying but it can still warp. So what's a bronze metal clay addict to do? The best remedy for warping is to hammer your bronze metal pieces on a steel bench block after you take it out of the kiln. But which hammer to use?

dun-da-la-dum-da-la-dum ---- RAWHIDE!

No, I don't remember watching the t.v. show, I remember the SNL skit where John Belushi sang the theme song to Rawhide.

Digression aside, I always wondered when you'd use a rawhide mallet. Now I know. You use a rawhide mallet on metal you don't want to mar. You can use a wood mallet but a rawhide mallet is heavier than wood. I pound the bronze pieces with the rawhide mallet to flatten the bronze metal clay pieces to smooth out any warping. Bronze isn't as soft as copper or brass so I have to pound a few extra times.

So now if you're thinking, "That's just the tool I need!" - here are a few sources for Rawhide mallets:

The rawhide mallets shown above are from the Contenti Company;

Rawhide and plastic mallets at the Hammer Source;

Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.


EmandaJ said...

Cindy, you are so funny! I'm a bit older than you and DO remember watching Rawhide. Clint Eastwood was HOT! And I was only 6 at the time, ummm.

Rawhide mallets are great, aren't they.


TesoriTrovati said...

I feel a curious desire to hunt down a new tool! And I don't even work with bronze metal clay! But I do so treasure my little flower charm I won from you and have to find just the right design to do it justice! Thanks!
Enjoy the day!

rosebud101 said...

I also wondered why you would ever need a rawhide (Keep those dogies moving) mallet. Well, now I know!

Jeannie said...

Good to know. Now, get along little doggie.

Beadspired said...

Yep, I watched the original Rawhide too. That song's running around my head.

A rawhide mallet...hmmm. I'll have to think about that one.

Stereoette said...

they are also great for things like forming bracelets around a mandrel if you dont want to marr the metal. i've used them on silver to great result.

and I'm a wee thing, but I totally watched Rawhide reruns with my dad on tv in the 80s - they came on early saturday afternoons after my cartoons were over ;o)

Cyndi L said...

I love Clint Eastwood, and I love bronzclay and copper clay. OK, gotta get a rawhide mallet!

Jeannie said...

Everytime I see your brozeclay pieces it just gives me the urge to "go for it."
And of course any chance to pound on something is always a bonus.

kate mckinnon said...

watch out for hammering the bronze; one thing that I noticed right off the bat (because I want to hammer and forge everything) is that the fired bronze becomes very brittle when hammered. I noticed that if I hammered a piece flat, and then turned it on edge, to hammer from an orthogonal direction, the piece often shattered.

I was using the "Bronz" clay from Rio, not Hadar's. This shattering was what made me set the product aside, actually; I kept thinking that if the pieces I hammered flat ever got dropped, and they hit the floor on edge, they would break.

The shattering was most pronounced for me in things like chain links and rings; the very things I want to hammer the most, and didn't seem to be a function of underfiring or poor sintering, as the broken pieces looked well-fired on the inside.