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I Forge Iron

rounding off flat dies.....

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So I am the proud owner of a working 224lb two piece hammer!!
the dies are unused brand new and mark my work terribly. My immediate impulse is to round the edges off as I am used to that on my other hammer which has shallow combi dies. . however I have found rounded edges really annoying when trying to get the hammer to bite in on a really steep taper.
Almost all of my work is tapered axes or artistic iron so what do I do?
I would like to tool this hammer up so that i can move my old springer to my school space .
so should I make up a sprung tooling version of my old dies and use them under this hammer keeping the die faces as they are?
or should I round off the edges to a 1" rad or so?
my intension all along has been to tool up with this hammer.

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If you make the top and bottom die the same face dimensions you could have a nice big radius on the 'handlever side' (for working as you normally would, accross the hammer frame) and a much smaller radius on the front faces (ie, for feeding the metal in towards the frame)

Congrats on getting the hammer going!

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Most of our dies are radiused about 1/4 rad up to 3/8 radius even our 450ton forge press does'nt have 1" radius. You need some radius to stop the dies creating galls and cold shuts but too much radius will stop you from being able get in close to a shoulder.


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here in the states many of the guys use what they call a west coast drawing die. All they are is flat dies which are given a 7* taper along the entire perimeter that extends back from the edge about 3/8" to 1/2".I'd try this first if I were you because if you don't like all the other options you've metioned are still available to you. I have done this and like it.

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I had ment to say 1/2 inch (you know the rad on 1" bar). But I will hold back from that. and go 1/4 on the leading edge and leave the rest for the moment.

thanks for the comments.

my old goliath hammer fits me like a glove and I can forge most of what I want to 90% finished on it. it has 1/2 incg rad with a little lead in taper i canf forge in tight shoulderd on it but it leave really smooth forging marks.

It will take a while to work out the new one .

I currently have 3 power hammers in the shop and its a little crowded .

so I will be tooling up the 200 to take the place of my little 1/2 Massey which currently permanently wares a 1/2 inch fuller die for drawing axe beards out.
This place and viewing the clifton ralph videos have already changed the way I use a power hammer . so I um looking forward to increasing the versatility of this tool.

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