A great hammer

One of the interesting things about using your hands in your work is your hand tools.

When being taught my Copper Sculpture trade, I learned to make my hammers, and I still do.

It’s just a matter of necessity to make a hammer with a three-foot handle. You have to be able to reach into a full fish body and work the metal outward. There is very little room to swing a hammer inside these fish, it is a more gentle process. You might get it to move a quarter inch in that area now multiply that by hundreds of places.

Rotary hammers harden the metal as well as move it, and this type fits in a drill motor to facilitate the rotary action.

Another cool tool I use to make my Big Fish Copper Sculptures is a pecking bar. They come in many shapes and sizes and generally have a small ball about 1/4 inch welded onto the end.

So picture this, a tapered steel rod about three feet long with a bend near the end. One side has a steel ball, and the other end being fatter and heavier where its struck with the hammer. Now slide it into the mouth of the copper fish. With one gloved hand at the mouth and a three-pound hammer in the other, strike it in the direction 180 degrees from the direction that the ball will travel. Thud, Thud, Thud!. This works much better than it sounds and using several different sizes and weights give remarkable results.

Tools are an extension of our hands and arms and the weight and feel are most important to everyday work. So if someone comes into your workspace and says “hey can I use a hammer” NO!

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