Tungsten carbide hardie mounted on a steel base
Made by Giacomello of Spilimbergo
The hardie is one half of the cutting equipment used by classical mosaicists and is always paired with a special hammer. The hammer/hardie combination is particularly good for marble and other stone, and also excellent for smalti. The main body of this hardie is made of steel but, unusually, it has a tungsten carbide tip - this exceptionally hard blade will allow you to make precise and accurate cuts for many, many years. Our hammers and hardies all come from Giacomello SNC. Founded in 1911 in Spilimbergo, northern Italy (mosaic capital of the world), the firm is now run by the fourth generation of the Giacomello family and is renowned for its quality tools. A hardie mounted on a steel base offers an excellent alternative to a log-mounted hardie when you have limited space or need to work with your hammer and hardie on site. Take care to place the hardie on a really solid working surface at the right height (and you may want to have two surfaces, one where you can work standing, and one for seated work). If you haven't used a hammer or hardie before, the combination may need a bit of explanation: The hardie is shaped like a large chisel head. Traditionally it is mounted, blade upwards, in an up-ended log, but many mosaicists today find it more convenient to use a hardie like this one, set into a small steel base. The material to be cut is held, gently-balanced, on the hardie top, and the hammer is brought down in a slicing action; the material is neatly fractured between the top of the hardie and the contact point of the hammer. Once you've got a bit of experience, using a hammer and hardie is a very efficient - and satisfying - way of cutting quantities of stone and other materials. For advice on how to use a hammer and hardie, visit the RESOURCES area at the bottom of our home page. You will find a video from the Chicago Mosaic School which has tips on how to hold the hammer and what kind of action you should use for greatest ease and accuracy. The video also discusses sharpening your hammer and hardie using an electric grinder but our recommendation is that you get help from an experienced metalworker; this is not something to do at home as you can certainly do more harm than good if you hold the tools at the wrong angle against the grinder.
Unfortunately Mosaic Workshop can't accept returns of cutting tools which turn out not to suit you, so please think carefully before buying. If you are finding it very hard to make a decision please contact me as I may be able to lend you tools to try (you will pay a deposit, and for postage in both directions). In the case of faulty goods we will, of course, accept returns - please see notes in the website footer.