Jump to content
I Forge Iron

To press or not to press (hydraulically speaking)


Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,
I was digging around in the collective, um.... "collection" of stuff on the farm and realised that, short of a used hydraulic pump, I have pretty much everything to build a relatively sturdy forging press. If I dig around more there might even be a pump somewhere, so all I would be investing is the time, the hoses, and the fittings.
My Question:

I know that a forging press can be used for consolidating pattern welded billets, but is there anything else that they are practical to use for? I am just wondering if it would be worthwhile to build one (both in the time, the hoses, and the fact that it would take up floor space). I don't really do any bladesmithing, other than the occasional woodworking tool, and most of what I do is purely artistic/ornamental or practical (like making replacement part for my growing collection of equipment).

The style I had in mind is a double sided (NOT and H-frame or an A-frame), with a 10 ton cylinder on one side and a 25 or 30 ton on the other side (depending on which of the two still works best). The frame itself would be made of heavy (I believe it is either 5/16 or 3/8 thick) I-beam for the central section as well as for the lower "anvil" sections.

Any thoughts, tips, suggestions, or experiences would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone,
-Aaron @ the SCF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used an ax, splitting maul, sledge & wedges to split a lot of wood. A hydraulic log splitter does it faster & much easier.

Now consider a hammer, anvil, and armstrong method of forging and compare to the hidden forces behind hydraulic theory. The older and less healthy I become, the more I wish I would have worked smarter not harder when I was younger!

A press first, then you can start adding the tooling to do just about anything.

I'm easy to find in the chat room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You want me to list all the 30 to 40 parts needed to build one? It's basically a vertical log splitter. I suggest getting Build Your Own Hydraulic Forging Press by James Batson to see the layout and parts. A couple of years ago I landed a large wholesale account and needed some muscle quick. I went to Old World Anvils to order one. Old World Anvils - Hydraulic Press
I have a Little Giant power hammer but use the press 5 times as much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


To answer your question, a properly designed press can be a boon to the smith but it is important that it moves quickly until kick over to high tonnage so you don't lose excessive heat in the cycle. IIRC, Batson recognized this and has it in his design and I think a two speed pump was the solution.

I have a 50 ton Dake manual press but you can't do much with it on stock under an inch because it's slow and smaller material cools too quickly. This basic requirement is the reason fly presses work well in blacksmith shops - fast approach to the work combined with good squeezing ability.

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...