Touchmark Metal Maker's Stamp




Introduction: Touchmark Metal Maker's Stamp

Make stuff? Want people to know you made the stuff? Then make a stamp.


Piece of suitable tool steel with shaft wide enough for your design. I used an old cold chisel.

To scale printout of design




Dremel or similar


Forge (to temper steel)

Bucket of ashes or vermiculite or similar

Quench pot and oil

Step 1: Temper Temper

First we needed to soften the steel so that we can engrave it. We do this by tempering the steel.

Heat it until it is literally red hot. You can check that it is no longer magnetic if you have a suitable magnet. Now allow it to cool as slowly as you can manage. I did this by putting it in a metal bucket of vermiculite. Ashes will work as well.

Step 2: Here's a Tip

Now you have softened the steel you should easily be able to saw the tip off. Using a file make sure it is smooth and level.

Step 3: Transfer Your Design

Come up with a design for your stamp. In my case I combined my initials, LB.

Use an art program to get your design right.

Reverse the image! You will see in the photo that I didn't. Luckily I figured out my mistake before going any further and quickly rectified it.

Print it out to a scale that will fit. The easiest way is to print one sheet with lots of different sizes and use the one that fits best.

Superglue the design on the chisel.

Step 4: Etch

Start off using a metal file. File downwards at a steep angle around the outside of your design. Think of the angle of a sharpened pencil.

Remove all the metal and white paper around the outside.

Switch to the dremel and carefully carve away the inside. The bits you carve away don't need to look neat, but the raised parts do.

Step 5: Check As You Go

When it looks good, gently file the paper off and check it's level and looks good.

Try it out on some soft material. Lead would be good, but I didn't have any so I used wood.

I could see that there were a few lumps and bumps so I corrected it.

Once you're happy...

Step 6: Harden That Sucker...

Get it back into the forge. Heat it until at least red (non magnetic). Quench immediately in oil. Any sort of oil will work, car oil, vegetable oil etc.

Test it has hardened successfully with a file or hacksaw.

Step 7: Done

You now have a touchmark. You can use it to punch hot steel, cold thinner metal, leather, wood, plasticine etc etc.

In this picture I drew on it with a sharpie then pressed it onto a piece of wood.

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    Old Clunker
    Old Clunker

    7 months ago on Step 1

    When you soften the metal with heating to nonmagnetic, it is called "annealing". Tempering is the process of hardening the metal.


    3 years ago

    Cool! I'll have to try this.

    I don't have a forge, but I do have a fire pit. If I leave the chisel in the fire pit, burning, for several hours and let it cool slowly with the coals, would that be sufficient to anneal it?


    Reply 2 years ago

    It should be, as long as you're able to get the steel hot enough to turn colors. Ideally to the critical temperature when it becomes non-magnetic.


    3 years ago

    Very nice.