photo Hammer forming


In hammer forming (tankin), a mallet is used to shape a sheet of metal by hammering it into recessions in a wooden stump or block. Next, the metal sheet is worked on the end of specially shaped iron bars known as forming stakes (ategane) to gradually create the final form. It takes tens of thousands of hammer strikes to produce a single finished work.
Pieces of hammer-formed metalwork are thin and light yet durable. They can be given a smooth finish that erases all traces of hammering, or the marks can be left intentionally to give the piece character.


  • 1.The metal is heated to 600℃­–700℃
  • 2.The metal is placed over an indent in a wooden block and hammered out with a mallet.
  • 3.A hammer is used to further shape the metal by beating it over the curved end of a forming stake (ategane).
  • 4.Numerous tools are used to strike the metal tens of thousands of times until it is complete.
  • Reference: Nihon Kōgeikai Higashi Nihon Shibu (Japan Kōgei Association Eastern Branch), ed., Dentō kōgei-tte nani? – miru, shiru, tanoshimu gaido bukku (What Are Traditional Crafts? –A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying). Unsodo, 2013.