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I Forge Iron

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I agree that a smaller surface area would have more pounds per inch, but if too much pressure was applied I could see it distorting the side being struck. Whereas if a flat, but properly crowned, face were employed less pressure would need to be applied resulting in less distortion.

 

Where is the cutoff be for size of the surface area. I feel that at some point you would be swinging a punch instead of a hammer. In fact a punch would provide the most pounds per square inch in that the surface area contacting the metal would be minimal.

 

I don't mean to provoke I am only curious. How did you come up with the radius for the hammer? I heard you say that it was more of a squished semi sphere than a semi sphere. I have many different hammers with many different peins suited to the specific needs that may arise. Do you have one rounding hammer or multiple of different weights and different radii, or a combination of different radii with the same weight hammer, or a combination of different weights within the same radii?

 

It seems I have fallen into a philosophical hole. We found the best type of forging hammer out of all the hammers available. Now what is the best type of rounding hammer for forging?

 

In your video of forging tongs you use the rounding hammer to draw the reigns out. Why not use a straight or cross pein combined with the edge of the anvil? You speak of surface area, which your argument is true, but not in the drawing case. The rounding hammer would be best for spreading, but I try to avoid spreading when I am drawing. When I am drawing I want the metal to move in one direction, so I use a cross/straight pein depending on which direction I want the metal to go. 

 

Now how does all this tie into the "hit turn" method described by Toby Hickman. In his video he claims that to be the most controlled systematic way to forge a bar down to size. He also says that this is employed to power hammer users and hand forgers alike. 

 

I agree that the surface area of the face that is contacting the metal is important. But I also think that control of the direction of metal flow is also important. 

 

I am glad to see the techniques being broadcasted without the advertisement at the end. I also like the lack of large machinery like power hammers and presses. It is very applicable to the average hobby blacksmith.  

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Don't get on Dan's case, it is frustrating when it seems that every so often someone brings a new technique out. In a way it is almost like your means of conducting this craft are being questioned, like you have been doing it all wrong from the get go. He has his way of doing things and has a right to question the new techniques that arise. This questioning is how the good ones remain and the bad ones fade. 

 

I also don't want this thread to close, I am curious about my questions above. 

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Brian,

 

I finally got my "forge" up and running yesterday.  Picked out a piece of stock and started whaling on it.

 

Didn't turn into a pair of tongs like you showed in your video.  I'm blaming it on you!.

 

However, I can say that the lack of "dies" on my 2lb cross-pein definitely hampered my ability to forge in a timely fashion.

 

I will be in contact, soon, to see about acquiring one of your rounding hammers!!

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I'm not trying to aggravate anyone, but as I said, if you make a claim that you have the best hammer known to mankind, it would almost be rude not to poke a little fun.

I mean, really, rounding hammers and using the edge of your hammer as a pein is news where you live? Using the edge of the anvil is news?

You have a good thing going on here, Brian, a lot of teaching skills and people who look up to you. Why jeopardize your integrity it by claiming that yours is the best, or that you invented the wheel?

 

Anyway, I am going to duck out of this now as it seems some of us are getting a little over enthused.

 

Brian has done a lot for the advancement of smithing skills for many people.   You seem to be the one getting upset and stirring the pot . Please behave more like a gentilemen

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ok, as an industrial smith, calling the hammer a "die" is just confusing......(facets are parts of a face...)

to me "dies" go under the forging press swedges (swages) under the power hammer and top tools and bottom tools on the anvil, to be used with hand or sledge hammer. if i want varying faces to forge with (or upon, if you will) i use the different areas on the anvil, or different top or bottom tools.  (but...each to their own)

 

if i need a lighter, or heavier hammer, i use it, and dont stress myself trying to pull my blows over a 3mm bit of steel with a 6000gram hammer, or over exert myself on a bit of 30mm round with a 1000g. there are different sizes for a reason, and all within a second's grasp (as long as it takes to turn or ring yours) i like that your hammer works for you brian, and i like your work, and your ability to teach new blokes, but the art to blacksmithing is learning to adapt and achieve based on the ability to think outside the square. i commend you for doing that, but the newcomers who embrace your hammer as the "next big thing", (to steal dans line) hampers their ability to do these things.

 

to others( it seems this may be "tough love")- i feel we need to do it hard to form our own opinions, or we all become "the next hofi", or the "next brian brazeal"

 

i want to become "the next iron woody" :P

good luck to you, and i value your input to the smithing craft, please dont see this as a heckle, i am just putting my iron in the fire/furnace/forge.......

 

(and the steel is cold a lot of the time you work it, i am glad it isnt a more temperamental grade.... :) )

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I said what I said, and I wrote what I have written. I have no control over how others interpret that.

So back to the reason this conversation was started, since someone asked a question.

EWCTool, The squashed ball, instead of the half ball, does hit more like a straight peen, cross peen, or diagonal peen when tilted at different angles. A half ball will always hit like a ball no matter how you tilt it unless you go too far. And a straight peen and cross peen make the impression they will make, and to make larger or smaller impressions you would obviously choose another size. I do have other hammers also, but the reason for this thread was in response to people asking what would be the best choice of hammer for general forging with a hand hammer. A properly ground rounding hammer has more surfaces available to forge a larger variety of things without the need of changing hammers as often. You can also go places you could not go with longer faces like are on straight and cross pens. The curvature of the fuller that occurs at whatever angle you tilt your rounded face gives you a lead in and out of your work if your material is wider than the impression created by your strike. If your material is narrower, the impression acts like a straight, cross, or diagonal peen.

This is nothing new.

Alec, Lyle, Dave, Kainon, or anyone else out there, could you chime in on this one and describe what I'm trying to convey with your words.

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EWC Brian is not saying you are doing it wrong. What he is asying is there are more options to you as a blacksmith and rather than switching hammers repetadly. Becouse you could have a hammer's have a hammer with a 1/4",1/2",3/4",1",2",3",4"and 5" radious front to back and side to side even diagonal and always hit flat with your hammer. In blacksmithing you should be holding your hammer loose so to turn the strike of your hammer on an angle you get the same results as using many hammers. It is a very old skill nothing new. And you can use the same techique with any well dressed hammer you already have. I hope this helps clear things up for you.

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I will put in my 2 cents worth, having known Brian and seeing him demonstrate dozens of times over the past 10 years or so I fully understand what he is showing here.

Dan P. I have not seen any reference made by Brian claiming this hammer "the best hammer known to mankind" Nor do I recall him claiming to have "Invented the wheel" He is showing how the rounding hammer can be used at different angles to move the metal. And yes for many people here in the states using the edge of your hammer and the edge of your anvil is news. I see many beginning smiths who have no formal training just put the hot metal on the face of the anvil and wail away expecting it to somehow magically end up forged into something they intended. We have no formal training here, there are no apprentice programs. Brian teaches a very simple method, he and his brother Ed have been using their home made anvil to show how metal moves when it is put between the "DIES" Forging is done by putting the metal between the dies, and yes the hand hammer is a die and the rounding hammer has many different dies

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EWCTool, The squashed ball, instead of the half ball, does hit more like a straight peen, cross peen, or diagonal peen when tilted at different angles. A half ball will always hit like a ball no matter how you tilt it unless you go too far. And a straight peen and cross peen make the impression they will make, and to make larger or smaller impressions you would obviously choose another size. I do have other hammers also, but the reason for this thread was in response to people asking what would be the best choice of hammer for general forging with a hand hammer. A properly ground rounding hammer has more surfaces available to forge a larger variety of things without the need of changing hammers as often. You can also go places you could not go with longer faces like are on straight and cross pens. The curvature of the fuller that occurs at whatever angle you tilt your rounded face gives you a lead in and out of your work if your material is wider than the impression created by your strike. If your material is narrower, the impression acts like a straight, cross, or diagonal peen.

 

That makes sense, especially about the squished ball compared to the semi sphere.

 

Just to make sure I am hearing you right. If you want to spread (move metal in all directions) you would use a hammer that creates an impression that is narrower than the width of the material being worked (or tilt the rounding hammer handle to be more parallel to the ground). If you want to draw out stock from one dimension to a smaller dimension you would use a hammer that creates an impression that is wider than the width of the material being worked (or move the handle of the rounding hammer away for parallel and closer to perpendicular.)

 

Consider this type of hammer and tell if my logic is off. A hammer with a cross/straight/diagonal peen but the corners where forged/dressed so that when the peen is laid on the anvil face and the handle was parallel to the ground the curvature of the peen would look like a smiling mouth. This kind of hammer would have the characteristics of a cross/straight/diagonal peen combined with a ball peen depending on the angle of impact.

 

Now what about a hammer that would be a cross between a rounding and standard face. I would consider such a hammer to have an exaggerated crown. It would have the ability to change the angle of the handle relative to the ground to change the surface area that was impacting the material, while still being able to act as a standard hammer face. 

 

In my mind I have more control of the metal with a flat face. It goes exactly where I want it to go (I am thinking of drawing in this example, it would be different if I was thinking of spreading). 

 

From my thinking, a hammer that has a cross/straight/diagonal peen dressed as stated above combined with an exaggerated crown (also described above) forged within a weight range and handle length that was suitable for the user would be the best all around general forging hammer. This would combine the cross/straight/diagonal peen with the ball peen on one side along with a rounding hammer and standard hammer on the other. 

 

Any logic to this or have I fallen into another philosophical hole. 

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i have two rounding hammers and love both of them,whether they are the latest and greatest is up to you.For general forging i pick up the rounding hammer and go at it but there are definitely things that a cross pein is better suited for,an example,being bladesmithing.I really dont understand the confusion about dies though,if this is what brian wants to call them then thats is his right.Personally i appreciate the way he explains the work he is doing including the bit about dies,it makes it easy for a beginner like me to understand.It is a great thing to have a reliable learning source that you can refer beginning smiths to.If ya'll dont like what he does in his videos and the way he does it,why dont ya'll go get a video cameran and shoot some vids and show us a better way?

just my three cents

 rhett

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Brian, I for one cannot thank you and the community enough for starting this thread and posting all the awesome videos, I feel that I've come a long way in the short time that I have been learning.  The tip you gave for working with clay has kept me from wasting a lot of material.  I spoke with you earlier this week about a rounding hammer and you gave me lots of good advice.  I ended up ordering an inexpensive Estwing engineer's hammer because I'm trying to save money near the holidays, it was errantly labeled rounding hammer so I dressed one of the flat sides and ground down the other and I now have a new favorite hammer, that thing really moves some metal quickly and accurately!  It doesn't have squared sides so I don't get the cross pein die but I have one of those if I need it or may break out the grinder again at some point and modify the flat side to have varied radii like it seems your flat side have.  I was using the horn for drawing out and at times in conjunction with the cross pein which I would then have to spend more time removing the waves and straightening the metal again.

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When I think something is bogus, the very best thing I can do is go into the smithy and TRY IT. Nothing separates BS from fact like TRYING IT. Often I prove I am right and that what is being claimed is BS. Sometimes I prove I am wrong and that what is being claimed is what I should be learning.

 

So...

 

Brian: THANK YOU.

 

Everybody else: meh... whatever... maybe you should actually try it.

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EWCTool, the flat side of my hammer is ground so it is crowned and I normally only leave about a nickel size flat spot in the center.

Royce unruh, if you're talking about the flat side, 1/2 inch sounds fine. There are no flat spots on the rounded face.

Thanks everyone that has tried this and reported back. I agree with Thingmaker. You need to try things for yourself. Don't believe anything I say. See things for yourself.

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I have watched all of Brian's videos many, many times trying to figure out how he moves metal seemingly so easy. Long before this topic was posted, I finally figured it out. It's the hammer stupid. I could'nt believe how much metal was being moved by the rounding hammer. I had to have one to see for myself, and after driving 1500 miles round trip I finally have one. I called and talked to his wife about getting one, know what she told me, come make one for yourself! So I did. Best decision I ever made. I have probably 10 hammers that will never get used again. Thanks Brian! And Karen and Ed!

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Just received my very own Brian Brazeal hammer today... Can't wait to try it out! (It was a comprimised my wife would let me do until i can go take a class with him).

I will post my opinion on it when I get a good try at it. I tried a few hammers in my short time in the trade (french, engineer, german, etc). Excited to see the difference :)

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  • 1 month later...

Just got the Big Blu 2.4 lb "X-1" rounding hammer in the mail today, and I'm curious about the setup of the handle.  This one's a full four inches longer than the standard 2.4 lb cross-peen and it's octagonal instead of square.  Does one have any distinct advantage over the other?  I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but the only thing I can think of is that it would let you bring the hammer down at a shallower angle (say, 40 degrees vs. 90), to use more of the corners instead of the face. 

 

Anybody got any thoughts on the matter?

 

 

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I've got a lot of thoughts on the matter, but I'll stick to the questions you asked. I showed big blue how to forge that rounding hammer on their power hammers. The main difference and the reason for the octagonal face is that the new big blue hammer is forged to finish from a piece of round stock and then ground to relieve the edges. The other big blue cross pein and rounding hammers are forged from square stock like Hofi hammers because Uri Hofi showed them how to forge them. They do not forge the faces to finish, instead, they forge the sides of the faces to accentuate the cheeks. When they do that it hollows the faces out on the squares and round faces, so they anneal them overnight and saw them off flat then grind to finish. The cross pein side is drawn out with the drawing dies past length which makes it bulge out then they saw that side off to length.

The handle length is closer to what a horseshoer would want. The short handles like Habermann and Hofi endorse comes from addressing the anvil from the side when using the double bick anvils with no step or forging from the horseshoers side of the anvil. You will hit your handle on the anvil if it is not short enough when forging that way.

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My wife is going to England next week to visit her mum and to pick up a hammer that Alec S. made for me , I hope you taught him well Brian! I am really looking foreward to using a Brazeal Banger !I just gotta find a short piece of galvanized water pipe to weld on it for the handle, and I'll be fixed up

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My wife is going to England next week to visit her mum and to pick up a hammer that Alec S. made for me , I hope you taught him well Brian! I am really looking foreward to using a Brazeal Banger !I just gotta find a short piece of galvanized water pipe to weld on it for the handle, and I'll be fixed up

 

Water pipe, How about using some big 1 inch re-bar for a handle. Then it would have a textured grip!

 

 

Oooo even joking about a steel handled hammer makes my hand hurt.

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