When I visit my family in Lithuania, I never miss the opportunity to spend some time in my dad’s garage (you know, looking for some kind of treasure for my hands). Once I accidentally noticed a big jar full of some kind of round copper rings, very dirty and very used.

round copper rings

These are copper washers from diesel pump injectors.

I had no problem to put my hands in the dirty jar and choose a bunch of them. For my dad it was something to melt into a copper ball, but for me It was a treasure.

Then I got this fun project: to make 26 totems and charms, each stamped with a different personal message.

I rolled up my sleeves, took my tools, and started…

The most boring side, but not less important: cleaning the washers from the old encrusted grease (were used: boiling water, degreaser, soap, brush, degreaser, boiling water again, brush, tumbler). Once I got rid of the dirt and wiped them up with a cloth, they were ready to be punched.

The washers are cleaned and the workplace is ready for stamping. That’s where the fun begins!

Before stamping I always organize my letters in phrases I’m going to stamp, count all the letters of the text, find the middle of it. I start punching from the middle and go first to the right, then to the left. Better not to mix up the letters!

After many hammer strikes…

Finally, finished: stamped, oxidized, polished and tumbled: