Your stamp can be used on any annealed steel or softer metals. You can cold stamp with a hammer, cold stamp with a press, or hot-stamp with a hammer onto red hot metal.
A stamp "displaces" metal to make the image. The more metal being displaced, the greater the force required to get a suitable impression. A typical mid-range image size for both knife makers and blacksmiths is 3/8" to 5/8" but both do go smaller and larger. Those who forge are often more flexible on, both, "image size" and "image boldness" due to their ability to hot stamp. The same applies for those using a hydraulic press.
Farriers' are increasingly becoming aware of the value in branding their work. Some will use a simple logo but, due to space limitations, most tend to opt for a block font name stamp. We typically use 1/8" letter height but, if you have a longer name, 3/32" letter height will work just fine. Most common is a block font name stamp, on one line, with first initial & last name, with letter height of 3/32" to 1/8". This tends to yield an overall image width in the 1/2" to 1.0" range, depending on total number of characters required. If you have a need for more characters, we can put your image on 2 lines, centered on each other. Using 3/32" letter height, your total image height (top to bottom) would be just under 1/4". Hot Stamping is a great way to stamp your shoes.
Whatever is black on your art is what will penetrate the metal to create the stamped image. A "sharp-face" design is generated from line art and represents a "single pass" of the cutter in our engraving process. Sharp face, as the term implies, yields a sharp, V-shaped blade on the stamp that yields the least resistance when stamping. The deeper that V-Shaped cutter penetrates when stamping, the bolder the image becomes. A simple name stamp with block letters is sharp face. If your stamp uses a unique font with line thickness variation, the thicker portions of those lines are something other than sharp face. They are bold and do not penetrate as easily. Sharp face is highly common with knife makers and those limited to cold stamping with a hammer.
If you are designing your logo with line art to be "sharp face", do not be overly concerned with line thickness. We are able to interpret a range of line thicknesses as "sharp face".
Bold" images are not uncommon and can stamp out fine if you are hot-stamping or using a suitable press. A "bold" image is any image where the engraving cutter makes more than one pass to engrave it. This results in "flats" on the stamp rather than a sharp V-Shaped cutting blade. If your art consists of lines that vary in thickness, or if it has larger black areas, this will translate into "flats" on the stamp (i.e. make it "bold"). Bold images require more force for the stamp to penetrate. The more black your art has, the more bold your image.
It is Important to note that "Bold" images can often be easily cold-stamped into softer metals like aluminum, silver, pewter, etc.
COLD-STAMPING ANNEALED STEEL WITH A HAMMER: "sharp face" designs (simple lettering and line-art logos) can generally be cold-stamped up to 1/2" or 5/8". A "sharp face" letter stamp, for example, will likely cold-stamp well at 5/8". A sharp face logo stamp, on the other hand, may be displacing more metal and need to be limited to 1/2" or even 3/8". If your image is bold, resulting in "flats" on the stamp, better plan on hot-stamping or using a press. Click here to see Jig and manual press options. Click here to see Jig and manual press options
HOT STAMPING WITH A HAMMER: Anecdotal feedback indicates that images up to up to 1.0" (+/-) will typically be manageable when hot-stamping. As always, total amount of steel being displaced by the stamp will be the determining factor. Click here to see our mini-video on hot-stamping
STAMPING ANNEALED STEEL WITH A PRESS: Most logo stamps up to 5/8" can be managed with 2-5 ton capability. Stamps up to 1.0" may require 5-15 tons depending on degree of image boldness. It is not uncommon for us to make much larger stamps for use on annealed steel for those with 30-50 ton presses. For knife makers, who tend to need more precision and consistency of stamping, a 10-20 shop press is great option to consider. Click here to see our mini-video on Stamping with a Press
Many knife makers also make their own leather sheaths. Once again, a stamp is a great way to brand your work. Most logos for sheaths tend to be in the 3/4" to 1.0" range. We can design a traditional makers mark for you or use a logo you provide.
Our custom steel stamps are designed from high carbon tool steel and hardened to assure they will give long life when stamping any annealed (non-hardened) metal. Most are designed to be used with a hammer but we can also design for a press upon request. We can lay up simple designs for you using letters and borders (ovals, circles, anvils, etc) at no charge or we can use your logo art. Need graphic art services? We can quote your design based on a concept sketch or photograph.
ART FORMAT: Email your art to us in "black and white only" (no gray shading). Vector art in EPS, PDF, or SVG format is preferred but we can often use high resolution jpg, and png files. If it is not Vector art, please send a large, over-sized version. If the art appears highly pixilated when enlarged, it may not be useable. If possible, print your art at the size you want it. That may be a very good indicator of how it will do on a stamp. For example, if the lines or sections of the image close up at size, it is not likely to get better on the stamp.
SALES PROCESS: Email or phone us with your questions, or to let us know what you want. We will work closely with you to prepare a proposal that meets your needs. Once all details are agreed to verbally, we will put that in the form of a work-order for you to review. Following that, the order is finalized with your payment. You can pay via Credit Card, PayPal, check, or money order.
LEAD TIME: Typical lead-time "to ship" is 3 weeks, but this can vary. We will state a firm lead time on the work-order. Rush Service is available upon request (3 biz day).
New to metal stamping? Watch our Stamping Videos.
Also be sure to check our our FAQs and Letter Stamp Guide.
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