chris freeman

cracking set hammers... arg!!!

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iv'e been having a problem with my set hammers cracking at the striking point. at the head. these tools are pretty old, so i guess i'm asking , can i just cut off the end just a little bit and re-harden it or just let it work harden?

if this isn't enough info then i can put up some pics.

-chris.

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pics will help, alloy (if known or assumed) will also help.  by 'striking point' do you mean the face that you put up against the work piece(typically the business end), or the face that you are striking with your other hammer (struck end)?  what is the face geometry of the hammer (flat, curved, narrow, angled, butcher)? are you striking it with a softened or brass/lead hammer or a tool steel hammer?  should you choose to grind the crack out you need to be VERY certain that you have gotten it all out or it will continue to propagate and you will still have a stick grenade.  you say this is a problem with set hammerS, is this happening on more than one tool?  if so, what is the source of the tooling, and if hand forged what information on the hardening and tempering processes used do you have?  aged doesn't typically phase metal tools unless it has been exposed to the elements or abused in a past life (wooden handles, on the other hand, should be replaced if they are old and seem like they are rotted out).

 

sorry to respond with only more questions, but without more information those will be the only responses you will get, condensed into one convenient post to save space :)

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A lot of older tools were wrought iron, or very mild steel, both mushroom badly especially under heavy striking. You can grind it back, I suppose you could try to fill it with weld and grind it back. If you try to fill it back up, keep a close eye on the repair to be sure it isn't going to spall badly and hurt you, or someone else... Tools eventually wear out, make new one's

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yeah, the whole " make new ones" is the best advise. they are very old. and i have already cut off the mushroomed ends. the buiseness ends are fine but some of the striked ends are cracking. i know they're not wrought iron or even low carbon steal because they spark like XXXX. very vibrant... another words i've done a spark test on all of them.

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If there is still enough meat left on the struck ends after cutting and grinding off the mushrooming you might be able to get some more life out of it if you use a brass hammer when striking them, softer hammer faces will take the deformation rather than the tool.

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Dont cut the ends off, fire weld the spalls back into the head, dress it up, and then anneal it by gettting it up to a cherry red and burying it in sand/ashes/lime etc.  This was always a job for us a TAFE when I was a boy and we had finished our jobs for the day and were starting to muck around, we'd get "find something to do, or I'll send you guys back to your employers for the rest of the day, Mr Johnston, you can start by firewelding and reclaiming all the tool heads that need doing, seeing as you are fixated by playing around with that forgefire.  It'll be good firewelding practice for you too, and don't forget to anneal the ends when you have finished".  "Yes sir, no of course not sir".  (under my breath, "and three bags full too Honny")  Tony Honson was our teacher and a very fine blacksmith he was too.

 

Phil

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Well... that's two of us that would weld it up, both Aussies I notice!

 

Our reputation of being too tight to throw anything away if it can be fixed refurbished is still well and truly justified :rolleyes: .... :lol:

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I forge welded a set hammer struck end together after it cracked. Worked fine for another few months but cracked again, it was solid tool steel. MOB brand. We had 2 or 3 of these set hammers crack all the same way at school.

You could forge weld a collar around the struck end to fix it.

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If it cracks again weld it up again, if you use a hot sett and it gets blunt, you grind it up again, dont you, well why not do the same on the other end.  All tools will mushroom with use, if they dont, they will chip and the spall will go flying and most often than not hit someone, I still have one or 2 pieces of spall(shrapnell) in my hand that I can feel now and again, the doc just said we'll leave it, it may come out sometime may not.

Just repair the heads before the spalls get too big and start to crack off, if it cracks again, weld it again, its not rocket surgery.

 

Phil

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