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Posted by John Larson, 06 April 2012 · 90 views

The sowblock was completed, the wedges were heat treated, tubing for the treadle was fetched in the morning before Access Metals closed for Good Friday and Passover. And the Orioles opener here in town. Also bought steel for the next 50's tup and some other inventory items. That shopping took a bit of time, but back at the 3rd world I just kept plugging away. Detailing takes much time.

I've said before that the anxious moment in my hammer builds is when the sow block is done and the dies are mounted so that the dies' faces' alignment can be verified. Today they fit perfectly to my relief. At the risk of tedium from stating the reasoning yet again, the hammer is sequentially built first to get the frame attached to the base plate, and then the machined anvil and the cabinet are fitted. The frame has to be straight, the anvil has to be squarely machined, and the cabinet has to be squarely fabricated. The guides are installed, the tup is installed, the plumbing is done to enable tup actuation, the sowblock is made, and the dies are finally fitted. If they don't mate perfectly then something has to be done (such as sow block modification) to get the alignment. Bad alignment means producing banannas.

When I was doing the sow block plate's 8 holes for mounting the octagonal holder of the bottom die receiver block I broke a tap. Drat!!!!!!!! I couldn't budge it by light hammering on a directed chisel to attempt unscrewing it. So I turned the plate over to access the tap's bottom. It had a manufacturing center point hole. So I fetched a solid carbide drill bit and managed to drill through the tap's center with that center point starting spot. Almost, that is. The carbide drill bit got very dull. I didn't want to run into town for another bit (and the store was likely to be closed anyway), so I tried a small punch to knock out the remaining plug of the tap. It worked. HURRAY!!!!!!!!!! I then poked out the rest of the debris and manually retapped the hole to clean it up as if nothing had happened. Gotta love solid carbide bits.