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a62rambler

Most used Hammer?

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But a cat's head hammer is a rounding hammer, but with a clipping pein and a cross pein, so surely it must trump yours?
-Dan

Not at all, and not even close, Dan; my rounding hammer has a square flat face with nicely rounded edges. Learning how to tilt your hammer and use its edges will show and tell you what I've been talking about.

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Brian and Dan,

If you can't agree on this I would be happy to assist. Brian, you can send me a 2 lb rounding hammer and Dan you can send me a 2 lb cats head and I'll test both and send them back after I finish a thorough test of them. ;)

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a62rambler, that is an exceedingly generous offer, but I'm afraid I chucked my cat's head hammer in the skip, where it belongs.


Not at all, and not even close, Dan; my rounding hammer has a square flat face with nicely rounded edges. Learning how to tilt your hammer and use its edges will show and tell you what I've been talking about.


Brian, I'm afraid I remain skeptical of your claim, which is quite a bold one!

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Yep, Dan, and you will never know it until you try it and succeed!


If you are talking about the very well established (and besides, self-evident) technique of using the edges of your hammer as a pein, I don't need to try it, because I have lots of hammers, each having a different primary function, as is normal and correct for a blacksmith.
If you are talking about making a hammer with more work surfaces available than yours (which you say has the most) or even a cat's head (which has 100% more than yours, by some wierd metaphysical hiccup in the time-space continuum), again, I don't really need to, for the reason previously stated.
Your hammer looks like an excellent hammer, and you are obviously an accomplished smith, but I feel that one or both of us is courting the controversy that surround claims made of particular hammers by those that have created them and/or use them, and so I'll leave it at that.

Except to say, a62rambler, my most used hammer is about 2.5 lbs hammer with one flat, square face.

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My main hammer is my rounding hammer made with Brian. I own a Tom Clark, Brent Bailey, Elmer Roush, Doug Merkel, and other hammers...I do most of my work with the rounding hammer. I have a dedicated "cold" hammer hanging on the post vice, a brass hammer for cutting off, small hammers for riveting. I hoard as many hammers as my budget allows.

I still go to my cross pein made by Brent Bailey when needing a controlled fuller to be done. I just wish it had a square face and not a round one. I also need to tweek the handle a bit more to be more like Brian's handle style.

I am in no way near Brian's ability to use the dies of my rounding hammer for all the tasks. I had a great opportunity to spend a lot of time watching him work and completely understand his methods...just need to apply them I guess. I have never been able to "see" the dies and their jobs as clearly as the time spent with Brian.

I have never put a hammer in my hand as natural feeling as Brian's. When funds get a little looser I am going to get him to make a cross pein for me like my boss's that was made with Brian. Here that Brian!?!?! As soon as Sarah allows me some funds I need a hammer like Mike's! (the smaller one...not those huge 5# monsters.) :-)

Peyton

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a62Rambler I think that the reason the yellow hammer feels heavier is because... it IS... I have one that looks just like it and mine is a FOUR pound hammer. I use it too. I use so many hammers but by far my favorite is around 2.5 pounds reforged from a heavily abused cross peen into a pseudo Hofi style.

I do like the square faces (with rounded corners) better for most general work. I have made several various shaped hammers for particular uses and they tend to do their assigned tasks quite well. Often, I may use a lighter hammer for heavier work by optimizing it's design in this way.

I find that I am using my power hammer for most heavy drawing work and so now tend to use my peens more for reaching into tight spaces where my hammer faces won't fit rather than as fullers. As my skills at hammer control have progressed I find that I do more complex work with them and am more attuned to carefully aimed strikes than I was before. Often, a few carefully placed blows of reasonable force will get a LOT of shaping done! I am also becoming more careless of conserving my coal supply! I will turn that blower up and get my metal HOT! It is wasteful of coal and sometimes burns my metal too BUT... I save my arm and work the metal like clay! Thus if I burn up a nearly made trowel (as I did just last evening) I can still make another ( I did that last evening too). When running a HOT fire you have to cut back on the irons in it!!! I am trying to learn this!

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Not been smithing long, but up until recently my most used hammer has been either a small 32oz ball pein hammer, which I have used for thin stock.
I have also been using a 4lb lump hammer for just about everything else. I find for punching holes and making cuts, its got plenty of clout behind it, with not a lot of effort. Recently i've had to use it for drawing out the reins on some tongs, from 16mm square stock. That took a lot of hammering, but its building up the strength in my forearms and shoulder.

Currently getting ready a couple of 2.5lb ball pein hammers ready for use. I am also modifying a 7lb sledge hammer into a ~6.5lb cross pein hammer, that I can use in one hand, or as a short handled sledge.

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Hey Brian,

Would you and Lyle be able to produce a short YouTube video showing all of the working dies of your hammer?

Doing so would really show people what you are talking about and be appreciated by many people, myself included.

Caleb Ramsby

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i use Hansel hammers 2lb,3lb and anther hammer i call the hand of God strait peen just under 2lb those are my favs and after that i use any hammer with in reach...............cheers

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a62Rambler I think that the reason the yellow hammer feels heavier is because... it IS... I have one that looks just like it and mine is a FOUR pound hammer. I use it too. I use so many hammers but by far my favorite is around 2.5 pounds reforged from a heavily abused cross peen into a pseudo Hofi style.


I thought it was a four pounder but it has a 3 on the underside and is slightly smaller than the 3.3 lb Nordic. So, I guess I'm going to have to weigh it. My memory says I bought a four pound sledge. Of course, my memory also says I used to be handsome, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound. I guess I've become so skeptical of late that I don't even trust my memory. :D

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my three favorite hammers are a 2 1/2 lb crosspein, a 24 oz ballpein and a 2 lb sledge for hitting cold metal. I wasn't sure how I liked the ball pein until i started forging with it and found it to be a joy to use. I have fit all my handles to me and find every one of them comfortable to use

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I'm really bored waiting for my anvil and I kept looking at my hammers and thinking... They could look better. So...
I cleaned them up and threw a little bluing on the ones that needed it.

post-24321-0-44281700-1335104288_thumb.j

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That's a lot of new handles there. New handles never stay new for long around me...I use a spoke shave and sandpaper on them.

The bluing is an interesting effect. It is subtle and clean.

Phil

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I have just recently changed the way I am dressing the flat side of my rounding hammer, or some of them anyhow. On the flat side I have used square faces for about 20 years and I still use round faces as well, the square are better for drawing as Brian stated and the round are better for freeing punches and I like them better for vaning leaves. I am now grinding some like this, It makes a hammer definitely a right or left handed. So far I really like this but it will be years before it could ever be my most used hammer.post-2097-0-48331200-1335457368_thumb.jp

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Channellock, the slip-joint plier people used to make cross peen hammers for smithing. I bought some new in the box about 35 years ago. They are no longer made. The hammers came in weights of 2.5; 3; 4; and 5 pounds. The peens were a near half-round, similar to a half-round fuller shape. All faces were round because the square body of the hammer was corner chamfered to make them so. They were all painted red. I used the 3 pound hammer for years, and when I got a little age on me, I started using the 2.5 pound hammer. It is my most used hammer, although I have many other types and styles. A few years back, I attended a Peter Ross workshop, and he showed how he dressed his peens. They were ground-flattened somewhat...no more half-round. His peen was slightly crowned in its length and slightly crowned in thickness. There were small radii at the edges. That is what I have done with my peens. As Peter said, you still get "spread" on the work and "there is less cleanup."

I dressed the faces kind of like the crystal on an old pocket watch, and I made sure that the edges of the face were nicely radiused all around.

We got quite a varied group of responses on this thread. It reminds me of a saying my ol' Okie friend used, "You can get used to anything; you can get used to hanging if you hang long enough."

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Phil,
As to the new handles. The Nordic handle feels fine in my hand. Maybe after some use, I'll change it. The Hofi style/Czech I've sanded the sharp edges of the bottom angles. I've melted the edges as we say in the gun world. It feels good now but could be a little wider. The larger two ball peins have barely large enough handles and all are actually 5 years old or so and well used. The three smaller ball peins have too small of handles and I'd like to replace them but I don't have any hickory now and red oak is just too hard on sandpaper for me to work with. The cherry I have is entirely too nice for hammer handle material. I can't seem to find a source for cheap handles or suitable wood for making my own. That's why the handles still have the labels. They are too small to sand unless somebody knows a way to sand them larger. Those stupid safety lables are on there to stay. For cheap hammers they must have used an expensive glue to afix those ugly labels. I hate those idiot safety labels. If you need to be told to wear safety glasses and that hammers can cause injury, you shouldn't be allowed out without supervision! :rolleyes:

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Channellock, ... I started using the 2.5 pound hammer. It is my most used hammer, although I have many other types and styles.


I'd like to see pics of the hammer if you have one and of how you did the radii. I've never been accused of being shy or subtle. ;)

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Most used hammers. The cross peen and the straight peen are my main forging hammers. The cross peen was a Pennsylvania find. The straight peen started it life as a MOB drill hammer but was converted, by me 14 maybe years ago, into it's current state . These hammers both have blunt peens which I prefer.

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The third hammer is my bowling hammer which I made to deep forge steel bowls for bird feeders that I make. It is included mainly because it was in the picture. It is however one of my favorites

a62rambler, Try a heat gun or hair drier to remove those irritating labels. I salvage handle material from sledge hammer, and ax handles. However most of my handles are modified commercial handles or come out of my firewood supply . Usually hickory. In the past I have gotten some nice handles out of discarded furniture found curbside .

post-14777-0-03957200-1335642445_thumb.j

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here brian demonstrates and shows the reasons for a rounding hammer being the most versatile hammer.

alec

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I have a whole rack of hammers and need to build another rack. The one I use depends on what I am doing at the time.

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I tend to scrape handles rather than sandpaper them after rasping them to shape---deals with labels right well too.

Cheap handles: I keep an eye open at fleamarkets and whenever I can find a handle with cosmetic flaws but with straight end to end grain I buy it if it's cheap and then store them till needed. I also stop by a place that has boxes of "seconds" in NW AR on my way to Quad-State and stock up.

Back in my shop I have a set of metal shelves where I ran wire from one standard to the other in front and back and then store the handles lying on the wire to have airflow all around them. Have to let them dry out before using them here in NM. They were always fine at the git go when I lived in AR and OH!

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