Here's a few chasing hammers that I've collected over the years.These are my favorites - one at Bench #1 and the other at Bench #2. #3 is in my travel/teaching case. They are used daily - couldn't work without them.
They were made by A.G. Duncan who lived in California - he had an ad in the early Engraver Magazines and they were named the "1800's Chasing Hammer." Mr. Duncan is deceased so they are no longer available.
Notice that the heads have a heavy and light face. That helps balance the "strike." Notice also that the handle sections are very slim...about 1/4" wide near the center, allowing the hammer to rebound after the strike (deadfall hammers are no good for chasing). I have also added registration pins (a 3/32" steel rod) into the palm. Those are used to register the hammer in my hand without having to look at it when I pick it up. I can pick up the hammer, register the pin between the second and third finger, and I know the hammer is properly aligned in my hand for the strike, i.e., the heavy face is down. It's an auto-response, and it happens without thinking every time I pick up a hammer.
Having engraved for about 15 years before the advent of airpower I think it is valuable to provide basic hammer technique in all my classes. The chasing hammer technique I use and teach is described in detail in James B. Meeks book "The Art of Engraving."
I also like Sam Alfano's chasing hammer, although I have thinned the handle section for a more lively rebound.
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They were purchased by the late Bob Lee who donated them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.Yes, they are Louis Daniels Nimschke's - sorry to say they are not mine.
Here is the larger collection of Nimschke tools. These photos are from an auction conducted several years ago.
I found the photos while doing an LDN search - the auction was held in the early 2000's, and the price of the sale was not given.
You might want to try pecan. We used to make bows out of pecan.i must be the only engraver on the planet with just one chasing hammer, but it is a Friedrich Dick with the coveted, long out of production, 7/8" face. i made the replacement handle and would not recommend using beech for that. it's been re-wedged about six times...