bustedknuckles

smithing, or just really big hammers?

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I have these large slege/blacksmithing/hammer heads.  The top one could be used one-handed (about 5 pounds)   I cannot figure a use for the pointy end.....

The bottom one is probably a sledge, but what would be the purpose of the rounded head?  (this one is, at a guess, about 25 pounds)

 

 

sledge2.jpgsledge1.jpg

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I have a couple of the pointy ones too; I figured they were associated with the mines around here.  The bottom is just a whopping big straight peen and would be used like one only more so!

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I have one just like the top one.  I was told by an antique store owner that they're railroad hammers, but was offered no  information on their intended purpose. I can't speak for how accurate the railroad bit is, but they're all over Ohio.  I see them in the antique stores quite frequently.  I use it as a really big hammer.  Plus it looks good :)

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a REALLY, REALLY big hammer.  I wish I were robust to swing it for an hour or two without collapsing.  Using it would require steel toe boots.  And a large dose of caution.  I'd hate to miss what I was aiming at! 

And thanks for the RR tip. 

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Oh I didn't say I could use it for THAT long ;) I do wear steel toes all day everyday though. 

 

I found this on a railroad tool supply website. Apparently they are indeed for railroad work, and you can still buy them brand new :) which could account for how many I see around. 

Screenshot_2016-08-11-14-05-31.png

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Interesting path to follow about the pointy hammer now that it's been identified as a a topmaul:  "A maul used to start the topmast fid and to beat down the top when setting up topmast rigging".

Ok...so digging a little deeper to try and unscramble that nautical word salad, apparently some masts are in 2 sliding pieces pinned together by a "fid" and the blunt end is to pound the fid in, the pointy end to pound it out.  Of course the hammer can be used for similar operations anywhere on a ship (fids all over the place).  Bet a swing and a miss with that one leaves a hurt that will not be soon forgotten.

Here's an example of a smaller top-mast and fid. Because of pressures on the mast (for instance dropping the topmast while under way due to excess wind), you need to be able to reach into the hole a bit when pounding out the fid to get it to come free.

masts-x-64.jpg

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Thanks for the information. When I tried to find a top maul on google I kept coming up with Star Wars references!

That leaves me with two questions:  Why do I find sailing tools at auctions 40 miles from the great lakes, and is the picture you provided af a model ship you are building?

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Let me know if you find an answer  to your first question; perhaps it will help me with why I found a large mooring cleat at a scrap yard *hundreds* of miles from the nearest place a major ship could be at and dock weights to boot.

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As to the second question, I just stole the photo from the internet and know about as much about ship rigging as a monkey does.  I just followed the internet where it lead me to try and learn the hammer's intended use.

Regarding the first:  Haven't you learned that tools have legs?  The evidence is obvious-- that tool often seems to disappear from the place you remember setting it and be hiding elsewhere when you go to grab it again. How likely the occurrence is cosmically proportional to how badly you need that tool at the moment.  So, my theory is that the nautical tools either walked (or hitch-hiked) far from water on their own because someone needed them.

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Legs?  That explains SO much!  My shop is laid out in the "a place for everything and nothing in its place" design, making it hard to impossible to find anything, including tools that I just put down a minute ago.

Now I need an explanation as to how some of my tools seem to be multiplying when there is no one around.....

I am in a shop organizing mode and I was certain I did not own that may punches........

 

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I suspect, based on  the information provided by IanOhio, that railroad use would be secondary.  Can't see it being used on track work, myself, but who knows?

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I agree it was probably adapted to use in rail work. The in and out of a holding pin seems somewhat universal.  I would have never thought of that before Kozzy posted the information. 

I wonder if a smaller version would be useful to get the pins out of 3 point equipment on the tractor... 

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The bit straight pein looks a lot like a stone dressing hammer. I have a 17lb one but it has a shorter face side. It makes a terrific straight pein smithing hammer it REALLY moves the metal but it eats handles for some reason. It's not like a person is going to take a full overhead swing with it but. . .

Frosty The Lucky.

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There's a video that Glenn shared on the ENORMOUS Tongs thread that shows several smiths working one piece of iron at the same time around the early 1900's and they're all using the same hammer as the bottom one.

Wicked cool info about the top maul too!

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On 8/11/2016 at 3:20 PM, bustedknuckles said:

 Why do I find sailing tools at auctions 40 miles from the great lakes ?

When Odysseus ( Ulysses ) finally returned home, ... bone-weary of seafaring ... after his 10 year absence, fighting in the Trojan War.

It is said, he vowed to shoulder his Oar, and walk away from the Sea, until someone asked him what that thing was, that he was carrying.

And that's how all that nautical gear ends up so far inland.  :P

 

.

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A weird winnowing fan is one thing; but some of the stuff I find out here is WAY to heavy to carry around easily and we are a long long way from any body of water that would float a boat/ship big enough to use them. Like the mooring cleat I found at the local scrap yard  that shows a lot of exposure to a corrosive environment and weighs over 150 pounds!

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If people use anvils as garden ornaments, Why not a cleat brought inland by the retiring dock man.

Tools are a kind of insects. They creep away into a hidden corner, turn into a chrysalis and then emerge as something different. I have read somewhere that the adjustable spanner is the larval stage of the wire clothes hanger. I wonder what the corkscrew is the larval stage of??

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The sculptor Andrew Goldsworthy remarked once, "I'm just a moment in the lifespan of this particular stone."

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The top hammer with the "pointy" end is a ship maul or hammer.  They used those hammers to drive large nails in to hold the decking down and then turned it over and placed the pointy end on the nail head and used it to "set" the nail head into the deck a little.  Most of you have used a nail set for finish nails. Well that is exactly what that hammer was used for. It was used for making and repairing wood decking on boats, barges, and docks.  Over time the nail will work its way out a little and with two of those hammers a couple guys could reset the nails back into the decking so it was flush or a little below. 

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