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I Forge Iron

A sublime smasher

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Hi all,


Lately I've been having fun adding some decoration to some of my hammers. Does not take that much extra time, but the thinking does. Figuring out proportions, and the overall "business" of the piece can take some time. I usually don't do much layout work, but if I do, I use a simple fine tip sharpie. Inspiration came from several medieval war hammers. I originally had browned this one using "Dr.Caseys Birchwood plum brown", but decided to lightly polish it.  


Without furth ado, I give you one of the latest. This decoration was done with three simple tools. 



these pics are of the same tool. This is a concave "fuller" of sorts. Instead of a fuller that pushes material, and creates one valley and two hills, this one creates two valleys, and one hill. Think of it as a "top swage" (half round) with two leading "cutting" edges. I do this hot, until the deepest part bottoms out. After I had all four sides established deep enough, I then had to re-work each side (hot) on a block of hardwood so I would not mash the opposite side when I was working on the other side. If I did this on the anvil, I would have been left with flats in the middle of the roped bubble.
The roping itself was done with a concave chisel that comes to two points. This corresponds to roughly the same width as the first tool, and the same curvature. Actually, this one is a bit wider, so that when tilted at an angle to create the roped effect it is then the same width as the first tool. This is established cold, then set in deepr hot-but only at a dull red heat. We're not forging at this stage, only changing the surface, and I did not want to mash the metal to the core-only the surface. 
the small cut lines in the shoulders of this hammer were done with a very small chisel-cold. I did this on a piece of leather on the anvil. The leather helps add some grip as well as helping to not deform anything. 
the handle was hewn from a hickory stave then roughed out on a belt grinder, then finished with a spokeshave, rasp, and files. the roping was carved in and then wood burned. The other decoration on the handle was filed in with wood files. 
Hope this all makes sense. Any questions please ask. 
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I like the roping too; but would like it further back from the face the "thin" edges of the hammer face look like an accident waiting to happen as those are the areas that tend to mushroom or spall even on hammers with the body solid back from the face.

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Greetings AJ and Rashelle,


You both are very talented artist and add a personalized touch to your fine work...  I love originality ...  Signature pieces are fun, It reminds me of the famous twisting wrenches that Dan Boon makes...  Keep up the fine work..


Forge on and make beautiful things


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Thank you Jim. I enjoy the opportunities to get "artsy" with functionality.


I've been looking at some medieval war hammers since Aaron mentioned them. Like a puppy chasing it's tail I go round and round in circles trying to avoid the war hammer game. It can be inspiring when finding a decent site giving good pictures. Heehee good thing I don't have ADHD or anything similar. I'd be running around in here going ohhhhhh wow a neat idea ,,,,,,, oh neat idea, turn around and there's another one and I no longer remember what the first one was. OHHHHH look a butterfly ...........


I enjoy your hammer decorations Aaron and they give me more ideas for myself to try. Keep up the good work inspiring others.

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I like it but can see how concern for eventual chipping would worth considering. Still it's just plain pretty and even if it turned out to be a wall hanger I'd show it off you betcha.


Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 2 months later...

Great stuff,   And Thomas I think your overthinking it.   With modern materials and good heattreat that hammer will never spall and even if it did minimal dressing would solve any issues before they became an consern.    If it was made a hundred years ago with what they had it might have been an issue.

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