Here's something neat I discovered while playing around with my new ball peen hammer. After hammering a coin and making it bend outwards, the indents from the ball peen make little plateaus on the other side. By sanding this side of the coin, you can take off the edges of these plateaus and show a branching pattern. Pennies look spectacular with this, the zinc pokes through out of the copper coating and shows a great contrast. the only trouble with pennies was that there wasn't much metal to work with. the end product turned out very thin, and kind of warped. I annealed a nickel and random arcade token i had before I hammered them, and the color from the flame stood out quite nicely against the brighter insides. I'm not sure how these would take polishing though.

   The ideal procedure would be to first flatten the coin on an anvil or hard, smooth surface with the flat side of the hammer, then really go in and hit the back for a while, making it bow outwards. After this, I just sanded the outward face of the coin with some sandpaper. Unfortunately, I lost my really fine grit stuff, and had to settle with some pretty rough sandpaper until I get some more. However, if the time and tools are at your disposal, you can do a similar process to Mrballeng's Copper and zinc pendant (https://www.instructables.com/id/Dimpled-Pendant/ Major props to this guy, he really inspires me) and solder a nail to the back for circular sanding and smoothing on a drill. You would have to sand pretty lightly on the face of the coin, but this would be ideal for the edges, as the hammering process tends to turn the shape of the coin into something that only vaguely resembles a circle. 

   I've made a couple of these things now, and they're great if you are a beginner and are just getting in to metalworking. You could definitely drill a small hole in the top for a jump ring if you are making a pendant or charm, I just like them as something nice looking to fiddle with and carry around as a good luck charm. The design on these look reallly interesting, almost otherworldly, and they only cost you about 1-25 cents apiece. Anyway, if you do choose to try this out, have fun Hammering!
i lock my ball peen hammer into a vice, using it like a doming block while striking it with my mighty 4-pound smithing hammer. it works wonders.<br>
This is an inexpensive way for a beginner to explore the art of mokume-gane patterning! <br><br>Mokume is usually dozens of layers of precious metals - but the techniques used to draw patterns out of the strata can be explored with far fewer layers and simpler materials. <br><br>The trouble is getting a piece of material with layers of contrasting metal in the first place. Problem solved!<br><br>A number of modern coins are composites now. American pennies are zinc, with a thin layer of copper serving as the shell, and American quarters have a copper-core. <br><br>Thanks for the great idea!
hey! These are really pretty. The british coins are tough but a little bigger, so they should do this nicely! When you are hammering using the round end, what were you hammering on? On a flat hard surface? On wood maybe? (which can take the curve of the coin as you go?) If its a flat surface, how difficult is it keeping them still?
unfortunately, wood isn't hard enough to give the metal those plateaus i was talking about. I'm not sure how well it would curve it either. if you don't have some heavy, smooth metal object, a concrete floor could work pretty well. I used to use the floor in my garage. it does make it a bit rougher, and you may chip the concrete though, so you may want to look into any anvil-like thing. look around in junk stores and hardware stores, I've seen the sides of sledgehammers used pretty successfully.

About This Instructable




More by ArtfulAl:Little Dragon Eggs from Polymer Clay Harry Potter Inspired Wand branching or veiney coin pendant/charm 
Add instructable to: