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I Forge Iron

Hammer Faces


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In another three descusion the same thing, for the flat face it was recommended it actually be crowned by about a 12" radius, and the corners radiiised to about 1". If the face is flat, and your hammer controls less than perfect the hammer will tend to jump in your hand, leading to you takin a death grip on it.
In the same thread it was recommended to used a 6" radius on your rounding hammer. For your peins, it can be all over the place, I have seen recommendations for 6" radiuses on them (wich works remarkably well, as you have a "edge" to work on like a rounding hammer) as well as as 2" for a slege" 1" for a 4#, 3/4 for a 3# etc.
for general work I would stick to the 12" and 6" guide, with 1" corners. I also recommend flare in the sides of your handle and smithing off the knob at the end. The face shape, and handle shape help keep the hammer from jumping around in your hand, so you can " shake hands with it, in stead or trying to choke it to death.

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In the Shelburne Museum book,* they likened the smiths' hammer face to an old pocket watch crystal shape. The corners should be radiused. New hammers usually have a corner chamfer leaving a visible ring line. This should be removed.


I personally use a round hammer face only because I fuller with it sometimes on the far radiused anvil edge, and I can catch it at various angles. The fullering imitates top and bottom fullers in use.


Farriers' hammer faces are somewhat flatter than smiths' faces, probably because they are leveling the shoe with overlapping blows and they normally do not flat the shoe with a flatter (the tool).


Peter Ross crowns his peens end to end, and they are semi-rounding; ie., not half round in section. They still move the stock well, and there is "less clean up," meaning fewer blows to level the surface than if a half round shape were used.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like my hammers from moderately hard---slightly fileable with a sharp file to dead soft depending on the job it's to do.  On the whole I would prefer the hammer face deforms rather than the anvil face.  (For new students who hammer like lightning I often suggest they use the dead soft hammer...)

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