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Bradley 300# Hammer

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Just made the deal on this one. Perfect working order, just rusty. Only trick now is to move it 300 miles.

7 foot tall, over 8 feet long, and 4 feet wide. And of course 8 tons. Built in 1909 in Syracuse NY, for those who don't recognize it its a Bradley 300# guided helve hammer. Takes a 10HP motor to run it.

I hope to have it hear in the late fall. I'm gonna have a rigger pick it up and drive it here, then unload, but I'll have to place and hookup.

This should complete the full range of hammers for the shop. 25#, 75# and the new 300#. We'll be able to work from 1/4 inch to 3 inch.

Anyone got plans for a foundation? Shop floor is gravel and the new foundation will be independent of course, but how thick? Isolate the anvil and support with wood?

Any thoughts on any part of this project would be appreciated. Its the biggest thing I've ever moved. Well heaviest anyway, I moved a small house once but was lighter by far.



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Congratulations! You'll have much fun...

I'd say at least 3 feet deep of concrete - 5 might be better depending on your soil. Make it flush with the floor and a foot or so outside the footprint on all sides. Bring the hammer up to a comfortable working height with wooden beams as both cushion and spacer then add a 1" or so rubber mat under the wood to make up for any misalignment between wood and frame/anvil. Just my 2 pence...

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Thanks HW. Those are along the lines I was thinking.

Frank W. A ten horse will run it just fine. I actually will be getting a very old GE 10 horse motor with it. With a phase converter it will be about 7.5 horse, but that will still run it OK.

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The phase converter will convert the so called single phase 240 voltage that I have to the 3 phase required to run the motor. Its not uncommon to have 3 phase for industrial stuff, but around the mountains here it ain't so common.

Helve hammers were and are excellent machines, not at all weird and will work their butts off all day and all night. I like them better than air or steam, they are more energy efficient and for me easier to work on. I never liked having all that static pressure around anyway. The "arm" is a huge timber, I think its maple and could probably lift a truck so 300lbs is easy.

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my 3b nazel (in case you your not familar with them :) its a 300lb 2 piece hammer) sits on large timbers, with no special foundation underneath.
It came out of the mine like that, they had it buried in the ground.

It work for them so I never changed it,beams must be at least 30-40 years old, I had it in my old shop sitting on the concrete shop floor which was about 4-5" thick with no problems.

It sits high off the ground around 1'. lower row of beams is ran lenghtwise and a second set on top is ran widthwise all held together with large bolts and steel strapping. since the floor is concrete I run 2x8's underneath the beams so the nuts and bolts that protrude don't dig into the floor.

At the old shop I built a large sandbox for my forge area a foot deep so I was at the right level for the hammer and gave me a nice dirt floor to forge on.

The wood beams seem to be a nice cushion for the hammer and the vibrations didn't carry into the ground, my wife in the office 10' away couldn't feel it running.

one thing I do notice when compared to hammers I have run with proper concrete foundations is mine with older well used beams seems to have a more cushioned blow when working large heavy material near the hammers max capacitys.

I'm just getting it setup at the new shop so I could get some pictures of the base if you'd like.

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here photo's of my base, the dirts left over from when it was buried at my old shop, not sure if I'm going to just build a moveable platform at the front of the hammer this time or put it back in a sandbox.

There's a piece of 2" plate between the beams and the anvil block.



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Hi Frogvalley, I have a copy of the manual for the Bradley hammer (including the 300lb upright helve hammer like yours) which has details of the foundations reccomended by the manufacturer I'm happy to send you a copy via mail or scan it and send it via email but it will probably be a pretty big file or I will have to split it and send.
Cheers, Bruce.

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  • 2 years later...

After two years of waiting, the hammer is finally here. Weighed in at 11,000 lbs. without motor.

Gonna take her apart and clean her up, but everything looks to be in good shape, no cracks, bushings/bearings good, just need to clean her up, dig a 4x5x8 foot hole and fill it with concrete for a foundation.

other than that its a peice of cake..

I'll have her in service by the spring. Here are more pics of the arrival-

Mark Schwenk's Photos - The Arrival | Facebook


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Frosty, congratulations on your new machine... looks like a fun project. Isn't it great where you can get so much information so quickly on IFI.
I wanted to comment on phase converters... I have bought two, my first was for my cold cut saw. Gave the supplier all the specs and when I hooked it up, I was not able to run the saw on the highest speed, not enough power. Not a big problem, but frustrating. I just got a 165 Anyang and again gave the specs to my supplier. Told them it would be "hard start" and that I wanted to make sure that if I made a mistake, I wanted it too big (I can live with that). Hooked it up and have to take 4 belts off and slip the belts at start up... when the hammers get's warmed up, I put the rest of the belts on. Hammers are "hard start" and have lot's of "rush amps"... the supplier is working with me and we are going to get it fixed but phase converters are tricky (in my experience) to get right. My advise... make sure you have the right to return if it does not do the job for you or way oversize. I am not a electrician but have been working with a licenced electrician and the supplier is a recognized national retailer... we have all struggled getting it right on the first try. James

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I just made a deal on a 200# Bradley upright strap hammer and one of the guys on the forum was kind enough to send me the manufacturers stats for it... This may be overkill but here goes:

Length of the concrete pad on top...8'3"
Length on bottom..........................9'8"
following a slight taper like a truncated pyramid

Width at top.................................4'3"
Width at bottom............................5'10"

Minimum depth recommended...........5'6"

Recommended to use 1 1/8" bolts...30 9/16" long...

My foundation guy says to use 5000LB concrete and let it cure for about 8 days before trying to use the hammer... Also recommended is to put a piece of oak plywood ( 1" ) on top of the pad...useful for marking the bold configuration too.

You can request a copy of the manual for Bradleys from:
Cortland Machine and Tool
Cortand, NY

They have an 18 page booklet that has general info on the monsters...but they want 35.00 for it... I'd be happy to copy mine and send it along but it's already a copy of a copy and the quality is pretty degraded. There are a couple of resident experts on the forum that may be more helpful.

Edited by Falconer
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8 days is pretty short cure time for concrete particularly under a big hammer. 28 is more like it as you'll be at about 80% cure and will reach maximum in about 40 years!
On the foundations for the 3 hammers I've installed, I lined the excavated pits with plastic sheet before putting in the steel armature . After the pour, I screeded the surface ,floated and troweled it level and smooth and then covered the whole thing with wet cardboard and plastic for a couple of weeks. This was to allow the water to cure out as slowly as possible, giving the highest strength possible to the block. I also used a 6 sack mix with chopped nylon added as well as a whole bunch of rebar welded into a big armature. Maybe it was overkill, but redoing an inadequate job seemed a poor option.
I made a plywood template of the hammer with die location and orientation indicated and moved it around the floor of the shop to get the hammer located in the most optimal position. Even a small adjustment of a few inches either way made a big difference in having a hammer located where I had maximum access at all angles to the dies as well as being able to work long material without running into other things in the shop. Mocking it up and carefully laying things out has paid off handsomely in efficiency and ease of use.
My two piece Beaudry was assembled outside the shop with a crane onto its 6'' thick timber riser block which was bolted to a 1'' steel plate with tapped and welded 1'' bolts We winched it into position on the cured concrete pad using comealongs anchored to anchor bolts cast into the back corners of the footing. It went so slick it was almost an anticlimax. The steel plate was anchored to the concrete foundation with 20-30 5/8'' by 8'' bolts drilled in and set with Hilti epoxy which was allowed to fully cure before the hammer was run. The hammer is bolted down with marine grade plywood washers under the steel flat and lock washers and nut to give a bit of resilience to the connection.
Anyway that's how I did it and it has worked out very well. The concrete footing was 6'x6'x2' deep onto solid subsoil.
Someday in the future, someone will wonder what these mysterious giant blocks of very hard concrete were doing out in the woods. Probably an alien ritual site [ which is probably not too far off the mark! ]

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Hi Falconer,

Did you ever get my emails? I know you contacted me twice and I responded to your first email, but you second one made it sould like you never received my reply and I didn't hear back after I responded to your second request.


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