This morning I finally got around to doing the first round of testing, using copper as a cheaper analog to silver. While it does show that just using a hammer won't be enough, it does indicate that we're on the right track.
As can be seen from the results if using the hammer and the sledge, neither creates a satisfactory image. However, both did create a faint image, with the sledge version being slightly better. I know that the pictures are hard to see, but the flower-like marking on the prototype die face is visible on the resulting pieces.
It should also be noted that the cutting portion of the strike was incredibly easy. Even using the hammer in one hand, the die easily cut the sheet metal. One thing to note though, is that the sheet metal left over is a little tough to get off of the die rod.
So, the next step is to get built a bottle jack based press, and then a modification for the wood splitter. We are hoping that the bottle jack press will be sufficient to create a nice piece, and we are fairly confident that the wood splitter mod will do so nicely.