It’s only a tiny hammer. Probably the smallest in the forge. Approximately, 10 inches long but the peen is only half an inch in diameter. Slowly, relentlessly it drops onto the sheet of pewter as it’s warmed by the furnace. The aim is to keep the metal malleable enough to work, but not to cause it to denature or melt out the pock-marks that the peen of the hammer drops into the surface.
It has occured to many minds that it must have been possible to create a tool that could make this sort of pattern on a more industrial timescale. Surely that would be easier than this relentless tapping of hammer on pewter. And indeed tools have been created – the most recent one looked like a cross between a rotovator and a pizza cutter. They made trial sheets of the hammered pewter created with the new tool and hoped. They found that although it was seen as a positive, the collector’s eyes were always able to pick out the difference between the mass produced article and the artisan. Every time.
There is a comfort in that for the worker, as the drop of the hammer continues unabated.