blackleafforge

Vibration damage to arm over time

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I have met a few older blacksmiths who have problems with their arms and in some cases can't fully open the hand. I have been forging full time for almost a year and have already noticed some aches and pains creeping in along with a bit of numbness on the tips of my fingers. I have seen a few hammers being sold with anti vibration handles, e.g.: http://www.buyhorseshoes.co.uk/double-s-shoe-turning-hammer-18lbs-2lbs-or-22lbs-10165-p.asp

are they any good? Has anyone used them?

thanks 

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Learning to hammer properly will probably help more.  Most of my students want to hold the handle in a death grip making all the impact vibration drive straight into their arm and messing with the ligaments.  Teaching them to have a "loose grip" and adjusting their hammer handles to support it make a massive difference.  (Having a handle too big for your hand tends to make you grip it too tightly for instance.)

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We had our demo set up at a festival one time and a heavy metal rock band set up RIGHT NEXT TO US!!!  They had the volume cranked up to max and the sound was deafening.  We all had on ear plugs and ear protection.  Well, If you want an interesting example of how the hammer really reacts with your arms and rest of the body, try this.  While hammering with our ears completely plugged off, you could feel the actual rebound of the hammer without the sound effect of the striking interfering. It was really strange and the hammer almost felt like you were using a rubber hammer.  The transmission of energy through my wrist and up my arm was really obvious, so like others have said...no death grip on the hammer!

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I need to make a photo spread of this Ive explained it so many times. I hold my hammers between the knuckle joint of my index finger and second joint of my thumb. (I can never remember do you count joints from the knuckles out or tips in?) This allows the hammer to pivot on those joints. On impact I briefly close my fist snapping the handle end into my palm and release the grip. The hammer rebounds on the pivot and is caught by the web between thumb and palm.

The added pivot is a force multiplier so my blows are stronger with less effort. I get ZERO rebound shock it just swings back into soft meat evolved to take this kind of impact. I can relax my arm and the energy of the rebounding hammer still assists raising my arm for another blow. Ive been using this or similar technique since the late '60s and my joint work fine. Of course YMMV.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Aside from what has been said, loose grip is a must. Add good hammer form (wrist, shoulder, elbow working together with your elbow tucked in to your side) and you should be okay. 

I designed my handles to encourage a loose grip while still maintaining a solid hold on your hammer. Pictures: 

 

Screenshot_2016-09-07-08-19-01.png

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21 hours ago, Crazy Ivan said:

Aside from what has been said, loose grip is a must. Add good hammer form (wrist, shoulder, elbow working together with your elbow tucked in to your side) and you should be okay. 

I designed my handles to encourage a loose grip while still maintaining a solid hold on your hammer. Pictures: 

 

Screenshot_2016-09-07-08-19-01.png

what is the lump in the middle for?

I will try playing around with a looser grip and see what i can achieve, hopefully without throwing my hammer at anyone! 

thanks

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57 minutes ago, blackleafforge said:

what is the lump in the middle for?

I will try playing around with a looser grip and see what i can achieve, hopefully without throwing my hammer at anyone! 

thank

that handle gives you 4 different grip points. The bulge on the end locks your hand at the end of the handle (with a loose grip), the bulge in the center is either a forward hand gauge (to feel where your hand is mid swing when changing hold) and also as an intermediate forging point where I put my pointer finger over it (which also encourages and benefits a loose but secure grip), and lastly above the bulge is an excellent placement for planishing blows and the bulge acts as I've already mentioned. Make sense? 

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