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I Forge Iron

Would a Treadle Hammer Be Better For Me Than Tire Hammer?


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Hey yall,

I know that I wrote a topic a while back about a helve hammer vs tire hammer, but now I am starting to think that a Clay Spencer Inline Treadle Hammer might be more of what I need.

Here is what would be using it the most for. Tapering (not to big metal, but bigger than I would want to hand hammer), punching, chiseling, tooling, and using smithin Magician.

The biggest metal I would forge would be some thing like a rail road spike, and just metal that I wouldn't want to hand hammer.

I am thinking that this would be cheaper to build than a tire or helve hammer. Am I right?

Thanks,
Trip

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If you're not using outside energy (air, electricity), then you're adding calories from your body to move the metal. I guess I would ask if your legs wear out faster than your arms. I can break a sweat pretty fast kicking my motorcycle to life when it's in a bad mood.

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Well I would say my legs could hold up since I can leg press 800Lb's (i weigh about 170), So I would say that I could hold up, and I break a sweat just peeling an orange anyways. LOL

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I love my tire hammer with a passion. I recently picked up a treadle, and have not really touched it. Now with a shoulder in rehab, I may pay some attention to it, but my advice is get the tire hammer, and make a small sledge treadle for the other applications.

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I find that I rarely use my power hammer much on things as small as railroad spikes (unless they are higher carbon steels). My advice would be to first invest in a good anvil, forge and hammer. With good heats and a good anvil and hammer you ought to find Railroad spikes pretty soft stuff! I remember when I used to think they were too big and hard for me to work... but now the story is different. I work a lot of medium to higher carbon steels and some heavier rods (up to about 2" diameter) and Railroad spikes seem sort of "buttery". A bigger forge, bigger and better anvil, better quality hammer, improved fire control and more skill have made that difference! Do these things FIRST and then you'll likely find yourself ready for a real power hammer as well (but not for Railroad spikes).

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The shop I work in has a 25 lb LG, and it is not very suitable for tooling. First, there is too little daylight between the dies. Second, it is not very powerful at low RPM when the dies are far apart. But, it is great for drawing!

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Hey yall,

Thanks for the info.

But, I got another question.... er make that questions. :) If I bought all scrap metal, how much would it cost me to make a Clay Spencer Inline Treadle hammer, and/tire hammer?

Thanks,
Trip

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I thought you were friends with dave FFF you just need to spend some time at his shop and see what you like better. personally I would go with the tire hammer you are only going to make bigger and bigger stuff

I actually just got off the phone talking to Dave about this very subject. He did let me use his tire hammer once, and I got to use one at JCCFS, and I have to admit I like the tire hammer. But, I also got to use a treadle hammer.
Between yall, and Dave, I think I am going to go with the tire hammer, but the survivalist in me is screaming "build the treadle hammer!!!", but the business man in me say's "build the tire hammer you dummy!!!!!" LOL I feel like my 2 personalities are sitting on my shoulders yelling at each other, like you would see in a cartoon. LOL
I feel confident that I will go with the tire hammer, and hopefully go get some metal this week. So I will be asking a LOT more questions before it is over with. LOL

Thanks,
Trip
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How good a scrounger are you? What are the "pickins" like where you are at? How fast do you need it?

I'm about ready to build my treadle hammer as I have the anvil solid 5-6" round stock about 4' long, 4140---for free, base 1" 2'x3' for $40 and the upright I beam for $15. Arms and springs are free in my scrap pile already. (and I'm trying to talk a mechE student into taking on the project in return for forge time...)

Never priced doing a tire hammer as I've bought two Champion powerhammers at US$750 and $600.

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How good a scrounger are you? What are the "pickins" like where you are at? How fast do you need it?

I'm about ready to build my treadle hammer as I have the anvil solid 5-6" round stock about 4' long, 4140---for free, base 1" 2'x3' for $40 and the upright I beam for $15. Arms and springs are free in my scrap pile already. (and I'm trying to talk a mechE student into taking on the project in return for forge time...)

Never priced doing a tire hammer as I've bought two Champion powerhammers at US$750 and $600.


Well since I am probably the biggest tight wad out there, I am a pretty good scrounger.

I already have a 2500 RPM motor that came out of a washing machine, and a motor from an old wood lathe. As for the "pickins", well there is a recycle yard down the road, and several more in the near by towns.

As for when I need it, well, probably the sooner the better, since I am developing some serious never damage in my hammering hand, so my goal is to have one built by the end of the next 30 day's.

Trip
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I find that I rarely use my power hammer much on things as small as railroad spikes (unless they are higher carbon steels). My advice would be to first invest in a good anvil, forge and hammer. With good heats and a good anvil and hammer you ought to find Railroad spikes pretty soft stuff! I remember when I used to think they were too big and hard for me to work... but now the story is different. I work a lot of medium to higher carbon steels and some heavier rods (up to about 2" diameter) and Railroad spikes seem sort of "buttery". A bigger forge, bigger and better anvil, better quality hammer, improved fire control and more skill have made that difference! Do these things FIRST and then you'll likely find yourself ready for a real power hammer as well (but not for Railroad spikes).


This post here doesn't really answer the question of which to build, but I've got to point out that even though EVERYONE ignored this post, it's the most sound advise out there to ANY smith starting out. Before you put a bunch of cash in a power hammer, learn fire control, hammer control, get a GOOD anvil, good hammer, learn how to MOVE BIG metal efficiently with a hand hammer WITHOUT killing your arm, etc.
If you grab a big piece of metal and try to forge it and it takes forever, and your arm is shot, and your hands have blisters, and you've rattled your teeth out of your head by the time you are done, then you aren't ready for a power hammer. If you can't figure out how to move metal efficiently on the anvil, when you go to the power hammer, all you will accomplish is the mutilation of metal faster than you were doing on the anvil.
I am a FIRM believer in Brian Brazeal's hammer techniques and since following his instruction, my efficiency has GREATLY improved and energy use has dropped.
However, even prior to his class and prior to owning a power hammer, forging RR spikes was not a difficult or overly time consuming process. As an example, with comparitavely poor hammer technique, I could forge a RR spike into a crucifiction spike in 30 minutes, and forge a RR spike knife in an hour or so.

Having said that, I'll address the original post topic.
I have already told Trip that without question I would go with the tire hammer. Trip is wanting to forge metal more than work with tooling. He will use tooling under the hammer, but the primary purpose of the hammer would be moving metal. The same tooling used under the treadle hammer can be modified and used under a tire hammer on the flat dies. You can use tooling AND forge under a tire hammer, but you can't use tooling and forge under a treadle hammer. A treadle hammer shines with tooling and repousse. It doens't really matter how much you can leg press, because a treadle hammer is a WHOLE different galaxy.
We are dealing with a no brainer. TIRE HAMMER!
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