Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

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.






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

What he said!

Especially THANK YOU to Brian B. for such a great explanation of the rounding hammer....

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 87
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Hi,  I had the opportunity to go to Brian's this past Nov.  I wasn't his best student.  I was a little overwhelmed with information, and the processing and implementation of that information wasn't easy.  This is not Brian's fault it is mine.  I have always been somewhat mechanically retarded.  (I use that word correctly.)  After a few days I did start to put the pieces together.  When I got home I began to build a smithy.  Now it is almost done and I'm getting some good time at the forge and having fun.  The things I learned at Brian's are becoming clearer and the idea of multiple dies on a hammer face makes sense.  Definitely give these techniques an honest try.  I've taken the advice of a number of people on this site and I pick and choose what suits me the best.


If you teach blacksmithing, go out to your forge sometime and work with your off hand (mine is left).  It's a good way to know how a beginner feels.


Thanks Brian. 



Link to post
Share on other sites

Having recently brought back into action an old rounding hammer  of mine made from a cut down railway workers hammer in 1994 I must say that these are versatile hammers (squashed sphere and radiused face). A lot of the techniques going on here are things that I was naturally doing any way as I have always used the corners of my square faced hammers for sideways drawing etc.

 I find the term die confusing in the context of hand hammers but I understand what you are talking about with the contact radius changing as you rotate the changing radius gradient of the hammer to the work.

 I also see the merit of having the faces short to keep the c of g behind the striking points at edge and the corner.

 Brian It would be good to get you over to the uk some time , If I pass near you in the states I would love to do a days learning.

 As someone who teaches people hammering techniques I am alway on the look out for best practice and am very aware that my own way of working has evolved over time as new (or old) techniques come to light.

 having said all that I still like my diagonal and cross peins for big scale directional metal moving (smaller rad = more psi)  as well as my very lightly crowned dogs head hammers that I use for most of my work.

 I have a very specific way of working for forging blades and Brians techniques are another specific way of doing things that obviously works for him as well as a lot of other people.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Basher, I'd love to go to England. We've been invited but just haven't put anything certain together. Definitely come by if you ever come this way. I was recently up in Canada where we did a class, and Contryforge, the one that organized the class was asking who else to get up there for classes and we were specifically talking about you. If you plan to come or end up doing some classin Canada, for example, let us know and I'll try and talk to other smiths to get some more work for you to do while your here.

I hear what you're saying about old and new techniques. There is nothing new under the sun. I don't call the rounding hammer my hammer just like I don't call the hammer blows my techniques.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Hidden by Steve Sells, January 28, 2013 - starting a fight
Hidden by Steve Sells, January 28, 2013 - starting a fight

Brian! Why on earth do you waste your time getting into these circular discussions?!! You're a teacher (and dang good one too I hear) and by now I'm sure you can recognize those who 'get it' ...and learn and digest ...and those who just like to challenge, state their red-herring opinions, and just clutter forums. I've seen this repeated in flintknapping forums over the years where, instead of mentally processing the nuances of flake detachment physics (using hammerstone, antler or copper batons/billets/boppers) presented by experts, there are those who whip out machine-gun posts that only derail the topic. Usually never see those kind advancing anything very useful. Just saying. More vids.!! I'm hungry to learn! Take off on the application of dies, and weave in effect of metal temps as related to metal mass when fullering from a thicker area (more mass/resistance to move) to an area of lesser mass/resistance. I think you've already covered how smaller radius can deliver more pounds/sq.in. Talk about strategy for juggling these factors in the context of die selection efficiency, force of blow, hammer weight, speed, etc. Make the rounding hammer talk to me (tho' I don't actually own one)! You da man Brian.

Link to post

The moving of metal via hammering is a science. Freeman Dyson wrote a work titled "The Scientist as Rebel," in which he stated that many scientists were engaged in "a rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture." The context in which this was written was the debate between science and religion, but I felt it can be applied to this topic. 


Science advances through questioning, experimentation, and criticism. The theories that stand up to this criticism are the theories that are remembered and passed on. The questioning is not because some of us do not simply "get it," but because we want to further our understanding of not only the tool under question but also the method and logic under which the tool is to be used. The questioning is necessary for the advancement of the craft. 


With that said, can something be clarified for me? If the best and most versatile of all the blacksmith's hammers is the rounding hammer, why is it not marketed at the local hardware store? If I go into Lowes or Home Depot right now and ask someone there for a blacksmith’s hammer they will point me to the standard cross peen. Even on the tag it is listed as a Blacksmith’s hammer. (Just to share, I was looking at some pipe in Lowes one day and I overheard a conversation between the helper and the customer. The customer wanted pipe he could weld to make some stand. The helper stated that the galvanized pipe would be the best because you do not have to weld through all that black paint. This story shows that I realize most people do not know as much about metal working as the average blacksmith, but they still connect the blacksmith with the cross peen.)


My point being that after a couple millennia of metal working, and the cross peen is still the public’s perception of the “blacksmith hammer.” Is it because the general population is not in a real need for tools that are specifically designed to move metal and the sale of the cross peen is a way that they are able to sell more hammers? Or is it the most versatile of the hammers?



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Im a huge fan of Brians but I am not totally mesmerized by the advantages of the rounding hammer other than the realitive ease it lends itself to making.

I have several of Brians hammers up to and including a 5 pound rounding hammer and a 5 pound crosspien.

My favorite hammer and my ( GO TO ) hammer for most all of my work with a hand hammer is a 2 1/2 pound crosspein that me and Brian forged when he was here.

Heres a photo of it.  -.post-26-0-92512100-1361733570_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

I am a newbie to blacksmithing, and often overwhelmed with what seems to be an unending variety of ways to forge things, tools, etc.  I was aware that there are many, many forms of hammers being used by smiths and since it probably is the most important tool aside from our anvils I need to learn the various uses of those hammers.  After watching Brian's video, I have a much, much better understanding of the importance of the rounding hammer, it's many "surfaces" and the ways to utilize them.  The video clearly explains the versatility of the rounding hammer and that it's not just a "neat looking hammer".  Brian's video really made an impression on me and gave me a new insight into forging things.  Great video and instructions, Brian!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...