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Through my research (read obsession) on steam hammers, massey hammers and all things big and smitey, i have come across so many different problems, and the ingenious methods used to overcome such problems. I have learned that there are many diehard members on this site who, at the drop of the hat (or forging fez) will go on a random rampage about their chosen hammers. the mechanical hammers seem to be over represented (probably due to the relative abundance of such items) but i have become addicted to the air/steam hammer. for we few, oh we happy few, who have delved too deep in these dark arts, these machines have become the stuff of our subconscious. my head is spinning with the many possibilities and incarnations of the valving of these beasts, and pneumodynamics is so mind boggling to me that i am constantly found staring into oblivion.... john n (nonjic), phil, jnewman, ken zitur, john larson, danger dillon, moony, basher, basically everyone who has chimed into the Steam Hammers thread, and not to mention the late Mr Sarver, have given so many hours of thought and knowledge to this subject, and i thank you all. there are so many questions that fly through my head that i think that even if anyone feels inclined, could maybe be answered some day, and i would like to open this thread, basically to ask the cosmos and see what happens.... in pilkington/ alldays hammers, which i have been told operate on a vacuum vs pressure (suck vs blow) above the tup, i am assuming that every stroke of the feed piston is mirrored in the tup, with varying degrees of pressure allowed in for the regulation of the blow. if this is the case, does the single blow /hold down on a pilkington/ alldays vary in its pressure, like a heartbeat (to make it romantic :P ) or is there a way of metering the air to a constant pressure? alternately, on a self contained massey, which i have been led to believe is a pressure above/ below the tup piston, and only gives air on the upstroke of the feed piston, does the feed piston make two pressure strokes for every one return stroke of the tup? or is the volume of the feed piston more than the volume needed for one stroke of the tup? (either up or down) and therefore left with extra compressed air to start the upstroke?? is the exhaust air ever used back into the system, like it is in a compound steam engine? or is the air exhausted at such low pressures that it cannot be re-used? in a steam vs self contained question, could a steam hammer be run with a varying supply (like a selfcontained hammer), and likewise could a self contained hammer be run on a constant supply? what raises the last question is seeing what i would call a transitional massey (basically looks like a steam hammer with a rotary valve, and a feed piston) which seems like an early version of the massey in slides. '> would it react differently to a steam hammer, due to the fluctuation in supply? (would it have a fluctuation???) could a steam hammer with a shuttle valve be modified to run off a retrofit feed piston? or is the valving such that it can only run on a constant supply? just the tip of the iceberg i am afraid....... woody.