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word to the wise

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The spring blew apart on my LG25 today,made quite an impact against the shielding.
This shield,1/8" sheet steel or so,was built by a man from whom i bought the hammer.I'm an idiot not to remember his name...Or i'd thank him in person.
From what i understand the owner before him was severely disfigured by an identical issue.
The shielding does make the hammer look ugly,but,hey,i'm not a model either,at least this way we're even...



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:) ...Well,the break is over,i've another used spring to put on,back to the shop.

You know,i'm not an exessively safety obcessed person,"It's a good day to die!",any day,but i can't help thinking this:What a xxxx Frederick Wesley Taylor was!I've read(tried to)"The Principles of Scientific Management".I can just picture an accountant nixing some engineer's plans for some safety shielding,on the original LG design.
After all,workers were dime a dozen,a small handout to the widow,after an occasional mishap,was vastly cheaper than an extra part...What a bunch of cheap xxxxxxxx!
It's to people like these that we owe the present, often unreasonable and costly, OSHA regs.
Sorry about the rant, my Bolshie nature will out! B)

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The shield of my little giant has sides too. Both of the link arms had been brazed when I got it, so that was a warning, and then I made adjustable link arms after I got my new spring, and those are kind of scary. I'd hate to be feeding long stock in from the side and have that arm come flying out at me. I tend to lean in just a little too close to things while working.

I made it in three pieces so the front swings open for oiling. I try to make maintenance easy, so I will actually do it. ;)

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Fciron,that's a good point.This type of a shield is easy to remove,it simply lifts off the pins,(and also has sides),but the maintenance has a lot to do with it.
While swapping springs yesterday i've realised that all the bushings are wore as can be...
I'm looking at either a large order from Sid,or a major imposition on a friend with a lathe.Else i'll be brazing the arms,too.
The crack in the spring was old,in part,as obvious by looking at the break.Doubt that even a close inspection would reveal it,though.

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If your hammer is already bored oversize for bushings then you might be able to buy bronze bushings ready-made. Check the bushing in the crank too.

The LG's left the factory with the pins running right in the arms. I bored mine out when I first got it and installed bushings. Just did it again this summer. Need to do the bigger hammer next.

I uncoiled part of my broken spring to make some tools with and it was all cracks. The cracks ran from the inside of the spring about a third of the way in and they all opened up when I straightened it out. Kind of scary that it was so worn out, kind of cool that it wore so evenly.

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Thanks,Fciron,that contributes a lot to my (entirely insufficient) understanding of the machine.
Since i bought it 5-some years ago,all i did was ride it hard,and mostly put it away pretty wet,too...Including the work sessions some -20 and even lower temps,which is the way it is around here.
Oiling,especially the babbits,was all i could really do.I know that Sid offers a course in maint.the LG's,but a trip to the lower 48 is not in the cards at this point.
I do have a buddy right down the road with a 9"Southbend,the vert.mill should be on line soon too.
Got the hammer with a spare set of arms,may try to re-bush those before the present fail catastrophically.
My spare spring is old,and very compressed.
Very interesting about the cracks in yours,figures,but still very educational to hear so straightforwardly,thanks again.

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Jake, there's not really a lot to know about little giants. They're pretty simple machines. Oiling is about the only thing you can do regularly. Less obvious things to do occasionally are greasing the clutch (grease fitting in the center of the shaft at the back) and adjusting the ram guides (the ram should only go up and down).

When you reassemble things you want four lower pins (all the ones that go through the short link arms) to form a horizontal line. That way, when the ram moves up or down from the resting place it is compressing the spring, not spreading the arms. Most hammers come with their arms drooping and the new owners just use them that way. (I did for years.) It's a great surprise when you finally tighten up on the spring and that "clunk" on the upstroke stops. (If I had spliced the belt right my hammer would only make noise when it hit something.)

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You know,i'm not an exessively safety obcessed person,"It's a good day to die!",any day,

Being killed is not the issue. The issue is being injured, dismembered, half killed or more (but not fully dead) and running up bills that (even after you loose the house, car, shop, etc) you and your family can not afford. It sure takes the fun out of blacksmithing.

but i can't help thinking this:What a xxxx Frederick Wesley Taylor was !I've read (tried to) "The Principles of Scientific Management".I can just picture an accountant nixing some engineer's plans for some safety shielding,on the original LG design. After all,workers were dime a dozen,a small handout to the widow,after an occasional mishap,was vastly cheaper than an extra part...What a bunch of cheap xxxxxxxx! It's to people like these that we owe the present, often unreasonable and costly, OSHA regs.

Please provide us with a closer reference to accountants nixing engineers plans and knowingly causing an unsafe product. We need more than just a book you tried to read. If you are going to use Frederick Wesley Taylor as an example please provide specific references for your information. If you are going to use that as a reference, please give us full details as to the book and page number so we can read the original material. Mr. Taylor may want to reply to your comments.

OSHA regs are in place usually because a company did not make the effort to protect their employees or the employee did not take their personal safety seriously. Some if it is overkill, but then you have to figure that someone did just that specific thing so OSHA added it to the regs.

Personal safety is just that, you taking personal responsibility for YOUR OWN safety. IForgeIron promotes safety and taking the time to be safe in everything you do, whether blacksmithing, at work or at home. Your family will appreciate the couple of extra minutes you take to be safe.
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Hi,Glenn,sorry didn't see your mssg,running in& out the shop.

I'll have to do a bit of research into the history of early 20th century industry and the labor mvmt to provide you with the solid proof!I'm definitely not able to do so immediately-mea culpa :P

Just for loose reference,Taylor was H.Ford's inspiration in the great work of taking the responsibility for any thinking away from the workman,to give it to the administration.In the name of Efficiency.Hold off a second,i'll try to find this neat article about this.

I knew that you'd catch me using the language unbecoming a blacksmith,i do apologise,it was silly and intemperate of me.

And,of course you're right about safety,believe me,i do practice it quite thoroghly.Above,that was humor B)

Now let me find this article.

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OK,here we go:http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/shop-class-as-soulcraft

I've gotten Taylor's middle name wrong,it's Winslow,of cours,sorry about that.

Now,naturally this,or any other article or source will not have any explicit proof such as you request.Any thinking individual,however,can't but draw conclusions based on the preponderance of certain data,the direction of it's drift.

I'm not sure what your work background is,Glenn,but i doubt that anyone can work for too many years in any industrial field without coming face to face with the fact that safety is expensive.Following the safety regulations will cost you much,as an employer,contractor,and yes,designer too.Naturally,especially the last decades,it's not overt.

Again,it would be a tremendous undertaking to proove anything of the sort beyond any doubt,but such is my belief,that the present cumbersome liability lwas structure is the backlash following the lawlessness of the late industrial age.That in many ways made their wealth by cutting costs in terms of safety in particular.

Just as "The Jungle",published in 1913,have created a public outcry that eventually resulted in creation of USDA standards,so have the safety record(but more gradually),have caused an increased public outcry,and eventually scrutiny,and governamental control.

Also,as a bottom-feeder general laborer my entire life,i've seen enough to be just cynical enough to hold all these views.But,they are just my views,nothing more.I'd imagine that there're many other ways of looking at things...

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Several items:
1. My home built hammer lost a hunk off the ram on Saturday. Made a great crashing and trashing noise as it tried its best to get through a 16 ga. sheet hood. The hood won, and the 23# hunk fell gently out, straight down. The hood has now retained several broken springs and this hunk. Now I did homebuild this hammer, and it has 10 years of service. (and yes I was wearing my steel toe with metatarsel guard safety boots)

2. I advocate to any who will listen that spring guards on ANY mechanical hammer are plainly needed.

3. I think Mr Taylor was an expert in time study. I have not heard that he advocated the removal of thought from the employees.

4. I would advocate to any that will listen that safety in industry does not cost, it pays. Ask BP how much a poor safty will end up costing them. In my personal case, I work in a factory as the safety guy. By spending some for guards, barriers, PPE and training, we have driven our incident rate down. Way down. Not cooking the books, but less medical bills, and a provable, real drop in people bleeding on the floor. What has been the benefit? First the "Mod rate" for our workers comp insurance has dropped. Dropped a lot. This rate sets our premium and will for several years. Have a lot of claims and your rate increases and you pay That bill for 5 years. When someone loses time, we have to pay overtime. How many widgets does a company have to make and sell at whatever margin they have to pay a $50,000 increase in WC premiun? Our workers notice that less accidents are happening, and morale has improved. Happy employees make more and better products. How many widgets do you have to sell to pay a OSHA fine?
Safety PAYS! ( not to mention some management actually CARE that the people who work in the facility they are responsible for go home in at least as good a shape as when they started that day)

5. Any one who thinks the folks that wrote the OSHA regs has a lick of foresight has never dealt with OSHA. OSHA gets the statistics and crunchs them for about 2 years and then knows what to work on. Open the OSHA reg, it is written in blood. Every regulation in that book was written in the blood of injuried and dead American workers. Recent case, a brand new almost billion dollar power plant was almost finished, and the contractors used high pressure natural gas to blow out the pipes, venting INSIDE the building. It found a spark and destroyed the plant and killed and injuried many. Still say safety costs? still say OSHA knows ahead of time about what to regulate against? the new rules for flammable gas blows just came out and that plant blew up almost a year ago.

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Ptree,thank you,that's put very well,and it's a priviledge to hear it directly from the professional in the trade.

I'd like to reply,but would really emphasize that i'm doing so NOT contentiously in regard to anything that you've brought up,as i see it as self-evident.

That safety PAYS is,naturally,obvious.So dictates the Common Sense.

Your example was a perfect American Classic.An inventive,vibrant,intelligent private enterprise,where the profits are sinonimous with virtue,they follow the same path.
A Constructive endeavor beneficient to all.Personally,i love both the idea,the Ideal of such a thing,and the however many real manifestations of such that exist.My utmost respect and admiration to them all.

Does it stem from the very idea of free-market economy that all consequences thereof will be beneficent?Theoretically,yes!Taylor believed so.Horatio Alger,many others.

Practically,MOST regrettably,no.And that's why the laws are here with us.To FORCE people to comply.

The fact is that there's such a creature as Greed.Like other similar "other sides of a coin" it's a pity it has to exist at all.Yet,unfortunately,there it is.

There are other,no less heinous things in this complex world,too.Again,most unfortunately.

Mr Taylor was,as you say,an expert in time study.He was a brilliant engineer,and many things becides,like the rest of us.He,as a scientist,only suggested.Others put it into practice.The results are there for all to see.

It's getting pretty deep here,i almost regret my short-tempered outburst.But Glenn's point,i think,was that it's not at all a fact that the LG hammers,a standard in factory tooling at it's time,came without any safety rigging because of the manufacturer's cheapness.
I'd have to agree.It's certainly not anything like a fact.
Yet,given MY life-experiences,and the rather obvious mechanical information that we're all aware of,and the position in which the tool is operated...I'm afraid that i'm inclined cynically.Sorry.

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My cynical point of view has always been that the Little Giant seemed to have been designed by a couple of farmers rather than engineers. Design changes seem to occur whenever someone thinks of them rather than as part of a planned design process; the lack of renewable parts, like bushings, in much of the machine; and a generally fussy design.

I've gotten to fiddle around on a Beaudry and a couple of Bradley hammers and they seem be much more professional machines. I think that the widely held opinion of air hammers having superior control to mechanical hammers is because the Little Giant is the default representative of the mechanical hammer. The little bit of work I got to do on a Beaudry was a revelatory experience. (The guy who owns the Beaudry is a much better mechanic than I as well, so I am trying to emulate that, since I won't be getting a new hammer anytime soon.)

My cynical view of safety is that both employers and workers need to be protected from themselves. If safety improvements weren't mandated by government agencies then a lot of them wouldn't happen because they'd be bad for the short term bottom line. Common Sense is well known to be a rare commodity, so it is foolish to expect workers to be fully aware of all the hazards around them 40 or 50 hours a week. As an example, you cannot expect people to remember to put on their safety glasses at the moment they become necessary, so it becomes policy for everyone on the shop floor to wear specs all the time. Magnify that logic for a nation of 300 million people and I think that OSHA is a surprisingly responsive bureaucracy :rolleyes: .

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Thanks again,Fciron,for more insight into the mechanical hammers.Judging by that "c" in your handle you probably do finer stuff under the hammer than my crude banging about.
I've not had the priviledge of ever using anything but an LG.
Also,my internet is entirely satellite-connected,and slower than molasses at -40F,so i can't even watch videos of other hammers.
I was brought out of the Old Country as a child,but keep in touch with some folks there.After the collapse of the USSR many a factory hammer found it's way to the small forge.I'm guessing that the soviets were the ones to help in industrialising China,and that those hammers are basically what has become Anyang,they look very much like them.
Seem to be about 50-100-150 kg.
The thing that impresses me is that handle on the right as you face the machine,controlling the type of a blow.It was the first that i became aware of just how versatile of a job a hammer can do,like hit and remain pressing down(from what i understand),and other finesse.
I'm sure that i'll never use one,but it's very neat to just become aware of the capabilities of the hammer-work,love it.
Compared to those air monsters my dinky 25 seems so puny,and rattly...But i still love it so,with it's waggly motion straight out of DrSeuss.Wish that i didn't have that guard in the way so that i could watch the mechanism,but we've been through all that now! :)

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IMHO a mesh guard around a spring on a Little Giant style hammer is false security. From everything I've heard, if and when the spring breaks it's likely to be in small shards that would go right through the holes in mesh guard.
Make one out of 1/8''plate ,secure it in place with the cross head bolt, take the time to make it fit and look right. Making a pattern with some light sheet metal or cardboard really helps to get it figured out.

A cage off expanded mesh , flat bar and angle around the toggle arms and ram guides is a good idea ,particularly on the larger hammers where the operator is up close using handheld tooling. Again some careful thought and pattern work can make a proper guard that does it's job , but gives easy access to all lubrication and adjustment points on the hammer.

Doing a professional looking job will make the guard appear to be an integral part of the machine instead of an afterthought that you feel you have to make excuses for.

Little Giants get a bad rap for a lot of reasons, not all of them valid. Set up properly , adjusted right and maintained with care, they can and have given many years of service.

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May I humbly suggest that a "Polycarbonate" shield would be preferable to "Plexiglass" Plexiglass is the trade name used by Rhom and Haus for their acrylic sheet. Polycarbonate is the generic name for the much more impact resistant material sold under the trade name of Lexan and several other names as well. To gain any real protection from acrylic sheet I think you would need at least half inch thick.
Polycarbonate is a really nice material for guards. In the case where less strenght is needed say a 1/16" or 1/8" thickness it can be bent in a sheet metal brake as well as sheared in a metal shear. It also can be sawn drilled and scoured and snapped.

In a case where long term clarity is needed in a guard, especially in a metal working environment "MR" Versions, that is mar resistant can be had that make the surface scratch resistant.

And Jake, I have worked in those penny wise, pound foolish factories where safety costs are avoided like the plague. One is now gone and the other near bankrupt.

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