Jump to content
I Forge Iron

making a hammer

Recommended Posts

hey, i'm about to make a hammer for a friend of mine who is just getting into blacksmithing... i just realized i had an old axle laying around in the shop. so i figured i'd ask first before i wasted a couple hours.. axles are medium carbon right? if so will medium carbon be tough enough with just a quench and no heat treating? will it be hard enough?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

i misspoke... or mistyped i suppose... i meant to say "quench and no temper". and yeah i was just checking about the temper on med carbon I've read a lot about people making tools out of it and heat treating it in one action... but now that i think about it i believe that was a draw knife which needs to be harder than a forging hammer. hmm well... without knowing the carbon content i guess i'll just test it with a file.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does not matter if it is 1045 or 4140 or whatever. Tempering will be the easiest part of the equation and it will ensure that your hammer is tough.

Even though there are specific temp requirements for each type of alloy, you can't go wrong with heating up to non-magnetic or orange/yellow and then quenching in hot oil. wipe all the oil off, Put it in the oven at 375 degrees F, for at least an hour or so, then shut off the oven, leave it in there the rest of the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An axle is put under a lot and stress just being an axle, therefore the metal is metallurgically designed to overcome that stress. this makes it a very tough material and when you forge it, you will notice that it does not move under the hammer as much as other metals would.

I have heard of people just heating the face to a cherry red and quenching in oil. Maybe they would temper the edges just because if it will chip 90% of the time it chips on the edge.

I once read that someone made a hardy from axle shaft and quenched the cutting edge. They missed the metal and the hammer hit the quenched edge but because it is not a super hard metal and more of a tough steel it did not shatter.

I also knew a professional blacksmith who once made a hammer from truck axle and he told me it was his favorite hammer. If it worked for him why can’t it work for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

this isn't the hammer that the thread was originally about, i didn't get a chance to take a picture of that one, but it turned out nicely. this one is from the same axle though.

overall i'm pretty happy with it. it's tough enough and hard enough. the only thing i'm not pleased with is the transition from the hole to the claw. it isn't as pretty as it once was, i guess i got careless somewhere in the process... oh well, something to work on next time right?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I've made several hammers out of "OLD" axles, which I assumed were 1045. Most of them were cross peen forging hammers. The eye is not hardened, because the thin cheeks will harden before the face and peen, and they may crack. I heated the face area to harden at the edge of a coke fire and quenched vertically in water. After abrading the face to bare metal, the head goes in the vise, face up. I use a 7/8" square, turned eye tempering tool with enough remaining straight for a handle. The turned eye at a welding heat will fit snugly over the hammer face end, and I've taken the faces to a dark straw color, about 465ºF. The "wet rag method" is used by wrapping the finished head in a wet rag and holding it with large bolt tongs when heating the peen for hardening. After the peen is quenched, it goes in the vise peen up and keeping the wet rag in place. I temper the peen usually to a purple using an oxy tip.

Truck junk yards have old 18 wheeler axles which average 2" in diameter. I square them with a power hammer before punching the eye. A 1 5/8" square will yield about a 3 pound hammer.

http://www.turleyforge.com Granddaddy of Blacksmith Schools

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...