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hi am just a beginning blacksmith about 4 yrs exp making knives and other small work in my garage. any way i am planning on building my first treadle hammer this winter and i was wondering what alloys you all would recomend. i have clay spencers plans and i like the desighn for it's small footprint. important as my entire shop is 20x12 . any way the clay spencer plans just specify hot rolled steel for the hammer and anvil my question is hot rolled what? i work for a steel company that gives me a substantial discount (new stock at XXXX near the scrap price) so cost dose not scare me much. any way 1020 seems too soft a36 and 1045 are options or even 4140ht  can get the high alloy stuff too but welding becomes a problem.


let me know your thoughts




My first thought is that you need to read the ToS about language

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Welcome aboard Dave, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.


Mild or A-36 is good for the frame, hammer and anvil body, more is a waste. The dies can even be mild if you only work HOT steel but if it's available 4140 is outstanding die stock. It's very impact resistant if you don't get over enthusiastic hardening it. There are a number of posts here from guys who use 4140 for die stock. I'm thinking it's one of the more popular steels for dies, treadle, power or hand hammers all. It's what I made the new dies for my 50lb. Little Giant from.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Ok so looking at what i can get for .30 Cents a pound my options are 8620 0r 1020 6" rd for the anvil and 4150 3" for the hammer is there any reason to avoid 4150 or 8620 0n the welding and fab front  unless i am mistaken they should both be tough enough as they are fairly low to medium carbon i have rather limited stick welding expirence and an ac only buzzz box.


i can purchase new stock for slightly more money but usable drops are cheaper.


thanks for your help btw i am in michigan



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When carbon or the carbon equivelent of a steels gets above about 0.43 you'll want to preheat before welding. The 4150 will absolutely require that so I'd avoid it unless you are using mechanical connections. A36 or 1020 is fine for all but the tooling on a treadle hammer and these grades can be welded without preheat. Since you have limited shop space you may want to consider some of the in-line treadle hammer designs rather than the Clay Spencer design simply because it takes up a bit more space.

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