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I Forge Iron

Touchmarks Revisited

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In the past I've designed 1 or 2 touchmarks for different smith's here and there. That was before I was ever into smithing and before I knew anything about it. It was just an image to me at that time. Now touchmarks have come to mean something else to me.

For some people, it is quite simply a way to identify who made the piece. For others, its an extension of there personality. Sometimes its fun, sometimes its serious. They are themselves just as varied as the people that they represent.

My goal with this thread is to get our bearings and find out how YOU feel about touchmarks. Do you think it should be strictly professional? Do you think it should reflect the smith? Do you think it should simply be an identification mark? Etc. Personally I find myself drawn to the touchmarks that are somewhat artistic. Sometimes its the fun ones, sometimes its a very clean bit of art.

Richards is great to me. Its fun. Its friendly. And it seems to fit his personality. Well, if you can picture a guy of RT's size and stature dressed as a frog dancing on an anvil....

This is quite nice to me as well. Its not a mascot, but it isn't just a generic stamp. I like it. It has personality.

This is the image I've created for myself. My Initials being BB, the back to back B's just made sense. Then I decided to have fun with it and make an actual Bee because my wife said it looked like a B's wings.

If I didn't post your touchmark here please don't be offended (umm, please don't be offended if I did), I simply picked a few that I really liked the look of to give an idea of what I think a mark should be. That is, to me, a touchmark should be a reflection of the smith and the type of work he does. If you're a professional smith, and you think your mark should be just a logo and nothing else. That is just fine. That in itself is a reflection of you. I don't think there is a right or wrong way on this, I just want to hear everyone elses thoughts on the topic.

Would also be nice if some of the people that actually make touchmarks could weigh in. What are the different sizes recommended? If someone can only afford 1, what size should they get? When having artwork done, or a logo converted, what image format is it that you guys prefer to work with? Considering most of the people who make touchmarks are smiths as well, what can we do before hand to make your life easier?

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Personally I have no touchmark as such, what I do have is three main identity stamps.

Two have my name on, one in Old English script for the more traditional work, one in a modern script for more general work.

The third one is the company name which I use when making tooling type work for clients.

Sometimes on a piece I will also stamp a date on using standard letter/number stamps

It is always useful to have your work marked for dispute or recommendation.

My name stamp is my guarantee, for me, and my clients.

I also like to stamp details on in an unobtrusive place.

Many years ago I had a client who wanted me to make a matched pair of Candle holders, the same as the ones in the photo type job, and he would have them gilded.

These were 16th century Spanish Cathedral candleholders, silver gilt on fluted columns, a tiered base with a jeweled box base supported by four tapered pillars, the candle holder itself was on a disc supported by four scrolls and consisted of four "blades" riveted on to the base and supporting a ring at the top again rivetted on, all to be made traditionally,

After the job was completed, it became apparent that the finished item was going to be exported and sold on as an antique as per the photo, which turned out to be a page out of an auction of fine arts catalogue, (I was making these at 10% of the auction selling price which was in 5 figures)

Whilst having no problems with copyright etc, I was happy at that time to take the job on as a learning curve for me. I was not happy with what happened after it was sold, and if I could be implicated in a fraud claim.

My peace of mind was saved as I stamped my name and the date of making under the top disc, and between the disc and the scroll supporting it, so it was on the piece, but not easily accessible, this at least gave me the satisfaction of making it in good faith without being involved in any potential fraud claims.

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So far I don't have a stamp and the only mark I've used is the back to back B's with a date.

Thanks for sharing that bit John. Kinda shows the importance of marking and time stamping the things we make. Also speaks volumes to your character and honesty that you made sure to have them on there, even without affecting the asthetics of the piece.

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I use one on the items I make at the historical society and sell at the historical society. It was their idea. I had one made by a comercial stamp/die maker near here (in Northern Ohio)

It simply consists of letters and is 1/4" tall and slightly wider. It simply says; ZOAR in block letters. Cost about 70.00 I think it was???

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I have seen many stamps over the years my first exposure to different stamps was from Armour makers of the 14-1600. Most were not names but symbol. I think it is what you want to use to identify you. My stamp is the moon goddess when I did my first commission it worked at night under a full moon and I live in Nokomis Fl. Your design is nice. mine is 1/4"

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I don't have a maker's mark, yet. I don't produce enough stuff for sale that I have to worry too much, but I would like one. My problem has always been getting a design that I liked. I'm not very "artistic" and figuring out a way to turn my initials (VT) into an identifying mark has been problematic.

I really like the old touchmarks you see on silver goods and the like. A simple cartouche that contains the mark is, in my opinion, very classy. Andrew Jordan's mark is very classy and does a lot to NOT distract from the knives he makes.


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