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Building a rusty style hammer, some questions (with pictures)

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Hello Guys;



As this is my first post, let me introduce myself. I am bart; hobby knifemaker/blacksmith. Professionally I am a linux / unix system administrator. Because I cannot train my shoulder ( lack of time), and have the parts lying around anyway; I decided I needed mechanical help.

i'm building something resembling a appalachian power hammer; with influences from Norm Tuckers machine and James Helms gunhilda. John Perks in the UK has something similar as wel on youtube.

I have a anvil composed of discs that interlock to form one cylinder. I'll attach a foto; they are about 30 cm across; 5 cm high and 25 kilo each; I have 17 of them. they resonate as one solid block, so I figured it should work if I clamp/weld/tighten them down good enough. I can always replace it later with a bunch of stacked solid bars and invest the money in that.

Anyway, this makes my anvil up/down gradeable in height.I plan to put it directly straight under the hammer; but for this I need to mount the hammer and the guide first.

I have 3 questions:

1. Where - in height - do you position the guide ? my central colum is a heavy I-beam, 25cm x 12 cm standing about 2,5 meters high. Or is this "adjustable" by modifying the other parameters of the moving parts (drive shaft) ? The anvil is about 85 cm high without head, and it sits on 3 I beams 25 cm high. so the anvil with die will arrive somewhere 120 cm high. I'll attach an older foto when it was still under contsruction. The rubber pads go under the frame :D, I use the chain thing to be able to lift the frame ... one-man shop; lifting this is not possible otherwise.

2. I don't have a plate steel base; BUT i have a LOT of heavy I-beam; so I welded 3 of them together to create a 40 cm wide 2 meter long base with 2 legs about a meter sideways. all extremities have boltholes to attach to the floor. Under the I-beam; I have alternating plates of wood/rubber; 3 times. Is that enough ?

3. I have a choich of 2 leaf springs: one more curved with more leaves but each leaf is about 1 cm thick. Or one about 2cm thick and more straight, but also 5 cm shorter, with tapered ends. which would be best ?


greetings, bart.


P.S. great forums; great info can be found here.



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First you need the ram (tup). Then you can make the guide. Then you can figure out how high to mount the guide. 

Neither of you springs sound right to me, but of course I have no idea how heavy your tup will be. Mine weighs 75 pounds. I use one main leaf and 2 shorter leafs, one over, one under. My leafs are 5/16" x 2" wide (3 total) and are plenty for a 75 pound tup. Brand new, straight springs are a cheap investment. 


Also, what are your disks made from? They look a lot like cast iron to me. 

Use all the wood you want under it, but only one set of rubber pads. Too much rubber and your hammer will bounce off a broom stick and barely dent it. 


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Welcome aboard Bart, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance. You're going to find out sooner than later a lot of your questions have region dependent answers. I assume you're not in the US, we don't do metric. <sigh>

Those look like cast iron counter weights a poor choice for an anvil. Sure commercially made power hammer anvils and sow blocks are cast but they're NOT stacks of disks. Two problems being stacked they aren't coupled well enough to conduct energy and will dissipate it rather than return it to the work. This same effect will cause the energy to concentrate at impact boundaries and cast iron doesn't really like impacts. counter weights are only intended to be heavy, not take a beating.

You are getting WAY ahead of yourself with your questions. There are things you have to have in hand before you can determine how to mount them.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yea those discs probly are cast and if you don't have the steel for an anvil post just wait and save . You will REGRET even wasting your time . I built a rusty/ dusty and tryed a hollow tube and gues what it came back off quickly. And more than likely that plates would break once hammered on. Use them for weights to lay on the base once its built. And it looks like if you go any taller your gona go through that sheds roof .lol. just an observation 

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local scrapyard has around 400 9' long 3.5" square pieces of sq stock going for 20 cents a pound; couple of those cut into lengths and oriented vertically would make a pretty good anvil---if you didn't find a solid piece that would suit you to a T; Place is in Polvadera NM, USA,  Amador recycling.

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Good points.


I added my location; very good suggestion.

Anyway; the discs are not cast iron. what you see is actually paint. I beat one of them up pretty bad, and they will bend rather then break. I think it has something to do with safety; they should survive a fall of several meters without shattering. Anyway; I am thinking of at least trying them; see what gives. I'm already saving up my heavy plates; so I can bolt/weld them together for an anvil.

My hammer is done; I probably should have taken a picture of that too and put it in the post.

In fact; the spring has been mounted once before; and I attached the hammer once before too.

This evening; new picture session. stay tuned :-)


greetings; Bart


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