intrex

Tennis Elbow taught me proper hammer technique

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Back in December I tore some tendons in my right fore arm from too much table tennis (ping pong to most people).  After the injury I couldn't swing a hammer at all without immense pain in my fore arm and elbow.  After a few months of physical therapy and taking it easy I started to try to smith again.  I had always read about proper hammer technique and the importance of being relaxed but I can now tell that I have always been too tight on the hammer.  The only way I can forge for any extended period of time now is to be completely relaxed with the lightest grip on the hammer possible without it falling out of my hand.  As soon as I start to tense up on the handle my fore arm immediately lets me know I am doing it wrong.   

The funny thing is that forging this way I can forge longer and more productively that I ever did before while trying to muscle through things.  When I was just starting out and reading everything I could about hammer technique I knew all of this but it just didn't properly sink in.  I am writing this in the hopes that someone just starting out reads this and takes to heart how important it is to be loose while forging.  If you are tensing up on the hammer at all you are putting extra shock on your body that is either going to wear you out more quickly or lead to injury.  

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I had a similar problem a few weeks ago as well. My arm is recovering and I didn't let myself get too bad. I probably shouldn't have but I "played through the pain" and was able to figure out where it hurts and where it doesn't, proper technique is a very good thing.

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There is a book still in print that addresses hammer technique. I do not know the exact title but it is entitled something like "hammer like a girl ( lady, or woman)".

Someone please help here. (lady blacksmiths do not muscle up on metal they use technique and it works way better.

Regards,

SLAG.

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I totally can empathize with you. I got a very, very bad case of tendinitis in my right arm (I'm right handed) when I was working at GM back in 2005. It was so bad I could hardly lift my arm to run the hoist on the job I did. That coupled with a carpal tunnel release on the right hand the year before and it was almost agony to work. I gobbled handfuls of ibuprofen every night. Vicodin wouldn't even touch it. I also iced it during every break.

Took a good four months to get where it wasn't excruciating to just use my right arm. I've found, proper hammer technique and not going nuts with grinders or hand held sanders goes a long ways towards keeping pain and numbness away. I still have problems with my left hand (CT related) but I don't have insurance so I'm pretty well stuck with it for the time being.

Charles, do you run into numbness problems with gripping the tongs? I can't hold on to anything very tightly in either hand, I have to be very careful what I do.

Sorry for your injury intrex, but hopefully your experience will save someone else the pain of tendinitis. It's NO joke. The pain would bring tears to my eyes when it was really bad.

Best of luck healing. Wear the forearm pressure ball band (it helps take stress off the sore area) and take it easy killing it on the table tennis matches! :D 

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I'm just starting out and very sorry to hear about all your injuries. I will make sure to keep this in mind so i don't have the same thing happen to me. Hope your able to keep from hurting yourself again

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Just be careful and don't be afraid to get a hand brace for your hammer hand if you think you need it. I really need to start wearing mine again.

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I can sympathise with that,

I'm ambidexterious, so I swap hands after a couple of blows, Tue first large project I forged was an axe. The next day I couldn't bend my arms cause the joints hurt too much , and I work in construction so healthy arms are needed <_<

 

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On 2016-05-27 at 1:20 AM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Hammering isn't my problem, it's a death grip on the to tongs, lol

Maybe you should get what Germans call a "Faulenser" = 'lazy one'  - A ring that keeps the reins together.

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When I was young I used to hammer for my grandpa, I would hit the same spot (more or less)  at regular intervals, and he would move the work piece back and forth under the blows. He always said that you "catch' the hammer as it bounced back and use that momentum to help you raise it then just let drop back down on the work Another saying of his was "let the tool do the work". I never found it as easy as he did, but I try to follow his advice when I am putting in posts, stakes, or when using post hole diggers.

Darrell

 

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Good Morning,

A very simple exercise to help your tendons; Take an Elastic Band that is normally used to hold Broccoli together (in the store). Wrap it around the outside of your finger tips. Slowly open your fingers, then relax, continue. If you start to hurt, STOP. I keep my Elastic Band wrapped around my wallet, when it is not on my fingers. This exercises your fore-arm muscles in the opposite direction from holding anything (like a Hammer).

When you are holding your Hammer correctly, someone should be able to pull the Hammer out of your Hand, mid motion (I don't know how that will be possible, but I know it is correct). There is no need to wring the Hammers Neck, last I saw, it wasn't even breathing!!

Neil

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A can close my hand fast enough to make an audible clap, when I'm bored a play around like that and it has shaped up my forearms nicely.

I know about catching your hammer on the rebound, but what le forging big things the hammer doesn't really bounce back that much .

Thanks for any advice 

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That when you need a larger hammer, lol. When you watch guys (and gals) who have been at this a wile, full swings look rather odd. Tilt the handle so the head is on top and lift it strait up (eliminates atleast a foot of leverage) now as your standing so your eyeballs are nearly over your work, pull your elbo in so to keep the head in nearly a strait line to your work. As you do you rotate your wrist so the head of the hammer is at the end of the handle just as it hits the stock. Your kind of flicking your wrist to make the last 1/4 rotation at the end of the swing. you can ask my clients, when turning a heal cold on the cams, it's not uncommon for the hammer to slip off the heal and go flying behind me. 

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Don't take that to the bank, It's certainly more effecent but it's not uncommon to see anvils working in the 5/1 range. I have it from a trusted sorce that the 20/1 rule (and the 50/1 rule) came from the average anvil to tump ratio of power hammers.  

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22 hours ago, Mbmul175 said:

I'm ambidexterious, so I swap hands after a couple of blows,

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

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I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

You mean you have a GOOD Right Arm and a Not so GOOD Right Arm??:>

Neil

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I try to monitor whether I am clenching my teeth or not.   If I am it is likely that I am gripping to hard as well.    It's hard for me to grip hard without clenching my teeth.   It is also hard for me to grip hard with unclenched teeth.   So if my mouth/bite is neutral or relaxed so will be my grip. 

So if I can relax my mouth then I will relax my grip.  The two go hand in hand... or is it hand in mouth?    

I actually try to maintain both in a relaxed way but somehow it is easier to monitor my mouth.   That makes no sense I know.   

My job can be a bit stressful so I try to watch this (teeth clench) in general.

 

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22 hours ago, JHCC said:

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

I'd give my left arm for a good comeback! :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Frosty The Lucky.

10 minutes ago, Borntoolate said:

I try to monitor whether I am clenching my teeth or not.   If I am it is likely that I am gripping to hard as well.    It's hard for me to grip hard without clenching my teeth.   It is also hard for me to grip hard with unclenched teeth.   So if my mouth/bite is neutral or relaxed so will be my grip. 

So if I can relax my mouth then I will relax my grip.  The two go hand in hand... or is it hand in mouth?    

I actually try to maintain both in a relaxed way but somehow it is easier to monitor my mouth.   That makes no sense I know.   

My job can be a bit stressful so I try to watch this (teeth clench) in general.

 

I was going to poke fun at you for hoof in mouth but JHCC took the gold ribbon for pun on this thread already.

The tears are still running down my leg.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Yes, I have read that and folks at an event do tell me that I hammer wrong as I refuse to "flick my wrist"  If that is what yall wanna do, forge on and build stuff. My wrist don't appreciate being "flicked" while holding a hammer no matter the weight and duration. I suppose my wrist a bit moves, but if it does, it's very little and don't notice it.

Though I admit to improper hammering, I'd bet anyone I can hit their finger if placed upon the anvil.

The weight of the hammer is also just as important. I don't enjoy powering down on 3/4" stock with a two pound cross peen.

The length of the handle is also just as important. Try swinging a six pound awhile with a 16" long handle. It is far easier with a shorter handle.

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I think "flick" might give the wrong impression. It's more of having the hammer head become level just at impact, thus gaining just a bit more speed with out a lot of work. If it dosnt work for you that's ok. It's much easer to choke up on a long handle than back off on a short one. Make a fist and measure from the knuckles to the inside of your elbo, that's just about right.

to fat a handle will also lead to having a death grip, slim it down so it fits your mit. 

Most of the time we don't use full blows, but when you see a guy moving a lot of metal with a just right hammer what he his form, and watch how he uses his anvil. 

As to grip, I hold with my pinky and palm, 

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