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I Forge Iron

Hathorn's Helve Hammer

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I can't believe this is my first post in 7 years of being a member. I joined this forum when I was in high school and was always into old iron and blacksmith equipment. You see, my father raised me with old iron in my blood. He always loved blacksmithing even when he was my age and before he got married. He passed that down to me now- I too love blacksmith equipment and line shaft stuff. He has always had a complete shop from the time I remember. He just never had time to use it working all the over time, and trying to keep the family under a roof. Now he is getting more into it because of me and my brother. I recently scored a helve hammer and a Champion no. 203 drill press. I just thought I would share some pictures with you guys. I already have a common sense no 2 so I am not sure if I need the helve hammer, but I am still undecided. It is a 40 lb. model. They both need some work of course, but they shouldn't take a whole lot to get running. I am glad that the wood beam is still ok, as I thought I was going to have to replace it. The helve hammer has been stored inside a barn for pretty much its whole life. God Bless and Happy Holidays, Jake.










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I don't think the stroke is adjustable at all. Obviously one can adjust the rod length with the turnbuckle and move the stroke's effect up or down and the beam travel could be increased or decreased by moving the rod/spring attachment point. Neither or those seem feasible to do on the run. Regardless it is a very cool hammer. -grant

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Glad I didn't say 100%! Looks like it has the attachment points, although it doesn't have the obvious slot in the connection to the beam shown in "Pounding Out The Profits". On top of the beam where the toggle links attach, is the a slot that the cross-piece can run fore-and-aft in, like 4-5 inches? Can't quite see in your pictures.

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  • 2 months later...

I think that hammer has had a replacement helve arm added to it Jake. I thought you might like these patent drawings and descriptions..might come in handy when you get around to restoring it.


Super little hammer BTW. If you get a chance to photograph the spring mounting on the helve arm I'd be interested in seeing some details.I can't tell how the spring ends are attached to the top bracket.

Good Luck fixing things up !

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  • 2 weeks later...

You're very welcome...hope it comes in handy with the restoration. ( I really like this hammer design!)

Concerning the adjustment feature both your hammer and the one with the motor seem to have the same attachment for the spring. It looks like that plate is an open slotted plate. I'm only assuming the spring is mounted using a leather strap thru that mounting plate and if the adjuster arm was re-attached then the spring could be moved front to back about 6" to control the stroke.

I'm sorta amazed there is so little info on that hammer including any shots of the crank assembly or the adjustment feature.. It's a shame since the design is so simple and could easily be replicated. Simpler than other similar designs anyway.

Your pictures seem to be the most detailed I've been able to find... Please keep us in the loop as you restore that baby. I know I'd be very interested in how it works and how it was built in more detail.

Thanks for making at least one reader drool...LOL

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well ...I've found at least two more of these Hathorn Helve Hammers .... this one is being used http://www.stevenrandallmanufacturing.com/about-us.php and the other looks like the fancy green one I posted earlier if it's not the same hammer.

The link above shows a restored hammer that still has the adjuster in place.

Many "Thanks" to Jake for information on these hammers. It should be very helpful in fabricating a clone of a similar helve hammer. The only complicated (and it's really not) portion might be the adjuster on the helve arm....and it could actually be eliminated ,but it's a cool addition to the hammer.

All the examples I've seen actual photos of all have the adjuster as seen on the hammer that Jake originally posted.... The only example with the curved "slot" adjuster (thru the helve arm) is the original patent drawings & the advertisements.... I have no idea if they changed the design for some reason or if that modification was done by some previous owner. It seems unlikely that "all" the surviving examples would have the same modification though...so I assume the factory made this change to the original design.

I assume the slot cut thru the helve may have weakened the helve arm and may have caused the arm to break so they changed the design to "fix" that issue...

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  • 2 weeks later...

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