SReynolds

Coil Spring Punch

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Can somebody explain why I bothered to copy the "how to" from this site on the hardening/tempering of a coil spring square punch as it turns orange when punching through a nail header of (approx) 5/8" thick steel stock? I did drill the pilot hole. I did heat the header to yellow and punched it several times in small stages.

Why harden the durn thing and then bother to draw temper???? One smith I have worked with years back said to make your square header punches from mild steel. He proceeded to make me one and a nail header. I was given the directions from this site to make them from a more exotic steel like spring steel or S class (maybe even H class) steel. Should have cooled the tip off each time in grease (or not at all) ??? I used oil when it was at orange heat after each time I punched the header.

The end broke off but didn't effect the operation as it was originally drawn to a rather small point anyhow. Maybe I should have drilled a bigger pilot hole, but I doubt smiths of old had the option of a dill press to make pilot holes. They probably punched it through.

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Typicaly you don't heat treat a hot punch an it will draw in the hot stock. Cooling after about 3 hits is standard practice, quenching spring from orange will make it glass hard. I use bee's wax for my prichel, but oil, water, greas ext works fine. Some use a pinch of coal dust to "lube" the hole. Wax works for me

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Lets see if this reply disappears on me.

That's a really thick piece of stock for a header. A rule of thumb that seems to work okay is make the header no thicker than the nail shaft.

Drifting something 5/8" thick with such a small hole is going to require a LOT of punches. Two maybe three blows and remove the punch, cool and lube it. Lather rinse repeat.

The problem is the stock will be cooling and it really needs to be screaming HOT to drive such a thin punch through even drifting. You'd be farther ahead to make up say 4 or more punches so you can get right back to drifting while one punch cools. Otherwise you end up with the stock in the fire over and over for every drift step. Or worse bending the drift out of shape with one bad blow.

I don't think I have a nail header 1/4" thick. I did make up a rivet header from 3/4" sq. but I used 2 lengths, clamped together with a card stock shim between the halves and drilled the rivet shank holes between them. A little flap sander action to break the edges and it'll grab the rivet stock HARD to head. Not really the same thing but that's my only thick header.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I thought it quite thick...however I have to upset the stock to get a large round or square head. Then I thin it out a bit. I should thin it more, but then the handle will have to be drawn down far too thin in my opinion.

I use 3/4" hexagon stock as it is free. High carbon steel. I do not harden it for fear of breaking apart when I strike it.  I purchased one from Blacksmith Depot some time back and it is very thick stock, but the underside is drilled out about 1/2 way through the header (about 1/2" dia hole) and thus the punched hole is not all that thick.

 

Thanks for the reply.!!

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When I make my headers I like thick stock but I punch it over size from the bottom creating the dome as I do so.  Just punch partway with a domed punch then finish punch with my square punch.  So my square punch only penetrates about 3/16" of steel.  Your punches are overheating.  Once the tip begins to glow, get it out of the hole and cool it!  I cool mine in coal dust. To keep working between coolings you need more punches.  Whenever your punch deforms at the tip it needs to be reforged, reground or both.  A steeper taper helps smaller punches by leaving more metal near the tip to act as a heat sink.  

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yes, I have some commercial headers that are exactly as you described. I could do that, but I'd have to make a rounded punch. Drilling a large hole in the bottom of it about 1/2 way through would serve the same purpose. I drill a pilot hole anyway w/ the drill press so I'd be  standing there anyhow.

 

I thought the material was too think and also thought I needed to dome the underside or drill a large hole partially through it. It was too late. Lesson learned in punching a square hole.

 

Need to take a couple pics tonight............

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Forged from 3/4" hex stock (crow bar) 10" finish length. High carbon. I did not heat teat them. Simply normalized.

nail headers.jpg

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Lots of work. I have seen folks go the otherway with that stock, slice it in to a wafer, flaten if necisary to get wider and atach a mild handle. Personaly i use spring. Traler spring usualy, cut the blank on the diaginal to save some of the work drawing out

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Yes, indeed. Draw-out of a 3/4" crow bar into anything is a ton of work. But it works and I enjoy it. It is god steel and free. Wears me out and am going blind from all the sweat in my eyes. May need a head band; LOL 

I have made some others and use a round punch from the back side so I don't have to square punch through such a thick section of stock. I also drill a larger hole from the back side about 1/2 way through, then hot punch the finished sized. Doing that saves my taper square punches from destruction.

Edited by SReynolds

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On 10/27/2015, 9:35:22, Charles R. Stevens said:

I wear a dew rag as I sweat even in cold weather. Saves my hats...

For my money, there's no sweat rag like a kaffiyeh.

 

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I have only made a few headers, but what I do to thin the underside is simply use a ball peen. Using a tapered square punch I start punching the hole from below, flip over a punch/drift to desired size from the top. I use spring for the header with a welded on mild steel handle. If I had a power hammer I would probably draw it out of the same stock.

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