Metal Planishing Tools

Written by shane grey
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Metal Planishing Tools
Planishing tools contribute to the raising and rounding of armour. (metal armour image by musk from Fotolia.com)

Whether for sculpture, Renaissance fair armour or auto body repair, planishing tools finish off the sheet metal shaping process. Metal planishing tools include implements which pound, support and bend material. Whether you're looking for hand tools or motorised machinery, learn about metal planishing tools, and choose the ones that suit your project.

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Planishing Hammer

The planishing hammer performs the pounding required to shape and smooth metal surfaces. Planishing hammers vary in appearance and composition; the broad, flat striking face of a planishing mallet produces relatively soft blows, while the rounded head of a ball-peen hammer delivers rough strikes and heavier shaping. Many planishing hammer heads feature a metal core surrounded by a soft, outer layer, such as leather, rubber or wood. While the use of a soft-headed planishing hammer reduces blemishing, is often less effective than metal-headed hammers for working tough materials.

Planishing Stakes

The planishing stake is a shaped surface upon which metal is placed and pounded. Planishing stakes assume a variety of forms, ranging from mushroom shapes to spherical and bar shapes. A metalworker places a metal sheet atop the planishing stake and pounds it with a planishing hammer. Repeated pounding causes the metal to deform and assume the shape of the stake. Stakes mount to benches or tables, allowing a metalworker two free hands for positioning material and pounding with a hammer or mallet. The blacksmith's anvil is an oversized example of a planishing stake.

Shot Bags

Typically filled with lead pellets, this sealed pouch offers a soft alternative to the planishing stake. Like a bean bag chair, the shot bag's pellets gently yield to weight and force. A metalworker places a metal sheet or form atop a shot bag and pounds with a mallet or planishing hammer. The shot bag cushions the hammer's blow, slightly supports the work piece and allows the metalworker to perform freeform shaping and planishing.

Power Planishing Hammer

The power planishing hammer employs compressor-supplied pneumatic force or an electrical motor to repeatedly drive a hammer-like piston against a stationary planishing stake. The power planishing hammer appears as a bench-mounted or free-standing machine and suspends its piston from an arm above the stationary planishing stake. To use the power planishing hammer, a metalworker places a metal sheet between piston and stake, activates the machine's motor and moves the metal piece through the pounding piston.

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