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14 hours ago, Sanderson Iron said:

Okay, so can I say they're ugly?  Really ugly?

Fine by me...as an artist I would defend to the death your right to have an aesthetic opinion...however misguided I believe it to be! :)  Well to the death might be a bit of an exaggeration...but I would remonstrate loudly, and be really cross if no-one took any notice...

Funnily enough it was partially an opposite aesthetic opinion on my part to head away from the toggle action LG/Goliath hammers. I always thought of them as a bit Heath-Robinson...although I always loved his cartoons...just not for real work!

Alan

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16 hours ago, beaudry said:

 Alan, thanks for your reply clarifying the power available at the top end of the stroke of an air hammer.

Really love seeing pictures of your work by the way and your valuable contributions to the forum.

On an unrelated topic , are you using an acid based pickling paste to treat your stainless steel forgings and is it effective to preventing rusting on forged stainless work exposed to a damp climate ?

Here in the US it's customary to use an proprietary acid based cleaning paste to keep rust from forming on the heat affected zones of  welded stainless steel pieces  but I am not sure of it's actual composition and if it would be effective on SS forgings . It's fairly hazardous to handle and must be thoroughly rinsed from the piece before being put in service.

The increased expense of the base material and general extra challenge of doing anything with stainless must be offset by having reduced or no finishing or maintenance costs ?

Second try. The pickling paste does work on forged stainless and works well preventing rust. I think it passivates by stripping away the iron molecules and just leaving the nickel and chrome. It leaves a very pleasant dull sheen. It is horrendous stuff to use...I double or triple glove when I am using it. I avoid using it if I can.

Check out a safety data sheet for Hydrofluoric Acid, unlike virtually every other acid, soda does not kill it...you need lime I think.

Do not take my word for it, please check it out for yourself.

The electro polishing process is roughly equivalent in cost to galvanising...the shipping to the polishers/galvanisers is often half the cost.

The great thing about electro polishing is that it puts a mirror finish onto every nuance of hammer blow and fire scale marbling on the surface. No detail is blurred or softened as it is by abrasive polishing, so it is a bright and "live" surface. By removing the microscopic high points the surface is less rough and stays rain splash free. It almost looks chrome plated. Very resilient, great visual contrast with burnished graphite painted iron.

I usually use Renaissance wax (microcystalline and polythene wax blend) as belt and braces on stainless.

Alan

 

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While doing a search back to find a post I made about fixing direct forging tools to the pallets for another thread I happened on this video of a "terrible" 40cwt Massey self contained hammer forging rings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FcZ3GuvsJ0&feature=youtu.be

...actually the whole thread was very interesting I remember. Sadly it is one that has lost many of its images which probably lessens its value now.

http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/27911-steam-hammers/?page=1

 

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On 11/7/2016 at 7:46 AM, basher said:

I think that the versitility that you are claiming for mechanical hammers is such a specific versitility that it creats a bit of a dichotomy. I do not believe that a lot of people would consider that having to re-ajust and retool a hammer to achieve a possibly larger overall range  of  distinct specific and limited use is infact more versitile.

 At least for most of us.

It's back to trading versatility for convenience.  You're right that a lot of people don't want to do make adjustments--or know how to make them.  The press awareness that's been growing for some time is good, because it allows more things to be done with iron, letting our craft be appealing to a broader range of people. 

Thanks for the links, Alan.  The old IFI link is void of pictures, at least on my fruit-flavored computer, but the U-tube link came through fine.  It's a good example of an air hammer being used for large, robust work.  As I've been saying, it's the light end that they lack.  Of course, this video shows a hammer much larger than any vertical mechanical, so we really should compare similar weights, I suppose.  

joel

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Those dies are likely for making a specific job.  I have a number of dies that came with my hammer and some that I have made that are similar.  Some are dovetail dies some are just drop on dies.  The center section on that die may or may not be used for forging but it definitely acts as a stopper or kiss block when using the outer areas.   The one I used yesterday has a tapered section and a cutout that is 1 3/8" lower than the stopper area.  I use it for forging chisel bars and pry bars which I make quite a few of.  I use the tapered section to make the taper on the end of the bar and then the lower section to make the chisel end 1 3/8" wide. 

 

Or did you make them for working different thickness bars?

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Coincidently I posted an image of some bolt-on fullers to another thread a day or so ago...on the floor in the background there is a drop on tool I made up for a batch of elements which incorporates the stops required, the bottom pallet was exposed to work the largest section dimension.

Alan

http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/48744-show-me-your-diy-dies/#comment-509592

 

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On 29/10/2016 at 4:15 AM, Sanderson Iron said:

The worst designed mechanical is more controllable than the best self contained hammer.   

3 cwt hammer on test after I gave it a dose of looking at.

This video just followed mine on youtube. 10 cwt, not sure if I supplied it, looks like a new installation. The interesting thing about this 10 cwt is it has the 'thought control' method of operation. No foot pedal.

 

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On 08/11/2016 at 4:06 PM, Sanderson Iron said:

Of course, this video shows a hammer much larger than any vertical mechanical, so we really should compare similar weights, I suppose.  

joel

242 lb Massey. 

Most air hammers have the control to kiss the oil film on the bottom die when set up with a small degree of care. The Massey hammers are an extreme example of control, but i've worked on many brands of 'self contained' hammers (and forged on a good few) and never thought 'this is only good for smashing stuff with, heck, I wish I could be doing this work on a type of hammer that, although industry decided was obsolete 70 years ago, I could make some adjustments whilst the metal is getting cold, and slap it really slowly'

The oft cited 'economy' of a mechanical hammer, because it uses a bit less juice, does not sit easily with me either (unless you have a severely restricted electricity supply so can't turn a larger motor) its like chopping off your foot to save on socks. If you are burning 50 kg of propane a day 'saving' 2 kwh of electricity does not make sense if you are even 5% less efficient at the forging end. 

I like mechanical hammers, don't get me wrong, but industry, 1000's of people, millions of tons of ironwork over decades of industrial development have firmly voted 'self contained air hammer'. Not just my opinion.

 

 

In answer to the original question in this thread, in my opinion, 1/2 cwt self contained air hammer will do all you need. A smaller air hammer, like an Anyang 15 kg will forge it down no problem, but not so good for tooling work (a bit 'tippy tappy').

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You'll notice that once you switched back to the foot control, the thing snuffs up and down, cycling at one speed.  That's what I'm talking about.  Sure, it can be operated with a lever and a second person--so can a Chambersburg--but for forging in most shops, and most of the time, the foot is the way the smaller hammers are controlled.  With foot control, that hammer cannot do what a mechanical can do, because in that mode, it can only hit fast.  Maybe I'm wrong that it hits one speed--I have not run a Massey--but that's what I see in the videos you showed us.  

Anybody here in the habit of forging on an anvil with only one speed?  No pushing to bend, no slow blows, no fast, light blows?  Try forging on an anvil with only one speed some time and see how it turns out.  It makes about as much sense as forging with a power hammer that only hits one speed.  That's my complaint about them, and you helped to demonstrate it, Nonjic. Thank you.

6 hours ago, nonjic said:

'this is only good for smashing stuff with, heck, I wish I could be doing this work on a type of hammer that, although industry decided was obsolete 70 years ago, I could make some adjustments whilst the metal is getting cold, and slap it really slowly'

You're making adjustments while the metal's out of the fire, cooling?  Well there's your problem, man.  You need to think ahead a bit more.  Set your hammer to do the first operation, run the lot; change the setting if necessary for the next operation, and run the lot.  It's the Henry Ford approach.  That makes it a lot more efficient, you see.  Planning.  Tuning.  Optimum blow type for the operation you're doing.  That's what we mechanical guys are good at.  It's okay with me if you want to stick with your simple one blow hammer.  Really it is.  Don't take this so personally, dude.  We're talking about machines here, not religion. 

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It is possible to use the foot pedal to operate the hammer as John shows using the hand control.  It does require either having a bigger  heel block or balancing on one foot but it can be run in "single blow mode" by foot as well.  That being said I very rarely use the single blow mode as I rarely find it necessary I can usually hit just one blow if needed.  

Being able to do four or five operations in one heat is far more efficient than doing one then letting the work cool.  Yes sometimes doing one step then another then another is the most efficient. But in forging work it is  often not the most efficient because you are losing the heat in the job between steps.  In 1/2" stock that is less of an issue but in larger stock letting the material cool between each step means you are heating the material from cold multiple times.  This means lost time and energy between steps.  As well you are scaling the work up much more as you need more pieces in the forge at a time to heat them from cold as well as needing a bigger forge. 

The Henry Ford approach would be to do one operation then pass it off while still hot to another employee who does the next operation with another machine either on the same heat or while maintaining residual heat.  I often do an operation or more then do another on the same heat on my press

 

 

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Nonjic, I have to say that the way your hammer runs off the lever is enviable. 

6 hours ago, JNewman said:

I very rarely use the single blow mode as I rarely find it necessary I can usually hit just one blow if needed.  

I will presume to say that I doubt you can hit one blow without the single blow mode.  What you get with an air hammer is a series of blows, of which you can usually have one hit.  That's very different from a true single blow--one cycle--with a mechanical.

How is it that changing your Massey in and out of "single blow mode" (as you call it) is okay, but making changes to a mechanical is not?  A mechanical can go in and out of single blow mode without any change whatsoever. 

7 hours ago, JNewman said:

The Henry Ford approach would be to do one operation then pass it off while still hot to another employee who does the next operation with another machine either on the same heat or while maintaining residual heat.  I often do an operation or more then do another on the same heat on my press

Depends on the job.  I think we're leaning a bit hypothetical here.  But in general, my brain works best if it does all like operations at once and then shifts gears before doing the next operation.  I have to stop and adjust my brain.  Maybe I should have an air brain.

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Not hypothetical at all.  I will be delivering some new tongs to a customer Monday.  They have a manufacturing cell that the tongs are for where one one guy loads work into a large rotary furnace then takes 2 hot  pieces out of the furnace sets them on a stand.  The second guy takes a part from the stand puts it in  a large punch press which he then cycles.  The part then ejects from the press goes down a vibrating  chute to  a third  guy who fits the part into another press which he then cycles.  The third guy then drops the part into a quench tank.  The part which is only 1/4" thick is still hot enough to be hardened in the quench tank.  A fourth guy then empties the conveyor coming out of the quench tank.  

This is not the type of work most of us do here and I have no desire to set up to do the volume they do in a day but they are set up to make efficient  use of the heat.    Ironically I think this is the sort of work where I think a mechanical hammer is just as good and I have heard that Bradleys can outlast an air hammer in.  Hammering one stage in a part then passing it on to another smith using a hammer set up for a different operation.  Or a hammer set up with dedicated dies to do all the operations. 

As far as the single blow goes.  What I do when I need a single blow is to slowly bring the treadle down so the hammer is cycling just above the work then bring it down sharply and then let it off.  Doing this you can get a single blow.  I don't see how this is any worse than the squealing clutch and brake method used with your mechanical hammer. 

I am sure your hammer works effectively and maybe is better for you due to your prejudices against air hammers.  But I think your initial statements about them being no good and no terrible for use with top tools is just wrong.   I would have been happy to have a well tuned mechanical hammer if the opportunity to purchase my Massey hammer had not come up.  But having it allows me to do a lot of the work I do much more efficiently. 

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I can easily get single blows from all of my air hammers, none of them are as trixy as the massey , I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely 300 massey last thursday, quite the tool. when In perfect tune I can also get single blow from my spring hammers, but to get them doing it nicly requires a lot of fiddling and they go out of tune easily.

I almost never use a single blow though .

I have an air brain when I am working ( as the term has been coined) , A lot of people I know do. I will often have multiple sized things in the fire at once, I multy task all the time, grind during heat up . I have timers on for heat treat and will have 4 or 5 things on the go.

 I still have mechanicals , I have a goliath (60lb spring hammer, called Athelstan) that has been my companion for 15 years and I doubt Ill let that one go. but for me the instant versatility of the air hammer means all my work goes under them. I do not consider that the constant blow rate is a down side, or rater I thought the variable blow rate of my mechanicals was a down side and found the constant blow of the air hammer to be a bonus.

I found , and find that ajusting the pitman on a spring hammer to be a royal pain, and way beyond the relm of minor ajustment, for my hammers it involves an overhead crane, or awkwardly placed engine hoist . blocks and swearing....

 

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3 hours ago, basher said:

I found , and find that ajusting the pitman on a spring hammer to be a royal pain, and way beyond the relm of minor ajustment, for my hammers it involves an overhead crane, or awkwardly placed engine hoist . blocks and swearing....

You might try blocking the ram up and down instead of lifting it from above, Basher.  I have a set of blocks for my 250, each one an inch different in height, from the lowest setting to the highest.  Lift ram, insert block, lower ram, loosen slide (which then pops up or down to the new height) tighten, and you're on your way in half a minute--fast and easy.  It works best if you have a brake on your hammer, tho I don't on my little one.

7 hours ago, JNewman said:

This is not the type of work most of us do here and I have no desire to set up to do the volume they do in a day but they are set up to make efficient  use of the heat.   Ironically I think this is the sort of work where I think a mechanical hammer is just as good and I have heard that Bradleys can outlast an air hammer in.  Hammering one stage in a part then passing it on to another smith using a hammer set up for a different operation.  Or a hammer set up with dedicated dies to do all the operations.

That really is where mechanicals shine, and Bradleys are king of the road.  Ooooo, the smooth control they have!  Their forging range within a given setting is not as great as the verticals though.  My wife and I work a lot like you describe; or I work alone that way.  I make posey-headed rivets in two heats, using three machines in one heat and reheating for heading.  We make a lot of parts that way.  My point was to set up for an operation in advance and let it flow--unlike Nonjic's claim that you have to make changes to your hammer while the iron's getting cold.  (In the mean time, he's over there fumbling around with his Massey trying to reset it to make single strokes.  ;))

And Allan, I wasn't trying to insult anyone by saying I should get an air brain.  I was making a joke about how I need to adjust my brain.  

(Joel)

 

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41 minutes ago, Sanderson Iron said:

And Allan, I wasn't trying to insult anyone by saying I should get an air brain.  I was making a joke about how I need to adjust my brain.  

(Joel)

 

I assumed that and thought it was a good joke and wanted to join in. :)

Many a true word spoken in jest...becoming familiar with the psychology of various machines is a very real thing. I definitely had to rethink the way I forged when I started using the longer stroked air hammers with flat dies and tooling instead of the direct forging hammers.

Alan

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3 hours ago, Sanderson Iron said:

You might try blocking the ram up and down instead of lifting it from above, Basher.  I have a set of blocks for my 250, each one an inch different in height, from the lowest setting to the highest.  Lift ram, insert block, lower ram, loosen slide (which then pops up or down to the new height) tighten, and you're on your way in half a minute--fast and easy.  It works best if you have a brake on your hammer, tho I don't on my little one.

 

I do block the ram but find that the spring assemblies on the hammers I have are so heavy that a crain is still needed to lift them into position, it could be done without a crane if it was a two man job (just , with leavers) .

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7 hours ago, basher said:

I do block the ram but find that the spring assemblies on the hammers I have are so heavy that a crain is still needed to lift them into position, it could be done without a crane if it was a two man job (just , with leavers) .

Wow.  What kind of hammers do you have?  You can't raise the ram, put a block under it, then lower the ram to raise the ram assembly?  Why wouldn't the spring go with it?  I'm curious now.  Do you have pictures?  

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15 hours ago, Sanderson Iron said:

Wow.  What kind of hammers do you have?  You can't raise the ram, put a block under it, then lower the ram to raise the ram assembly?  Why wouldn't the spring go with it?  I'm curious now.  Do you have pictures?  

Basher has a photo of his Goliath on his website, on this page.

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  • 2 months later...

Original post question...  You need to go around and try as many different hammers as you can!!!

I have played with steam hammers, self contained hammers, modern air utility hammers, and a variety of mechanical hammers.  I find mechanical's to have a steeper learning curve, they will eat your lunch faster, and be rude about it;-)  I get to hang out with Clifton Ralph, and Kurt Fahrenbach, and worked with them too. I know that they like mechanicals.  I recognize a mechanical hammers economy, and their efficiency, but I find them harder to work with...  A mechanical is still better than doing it by hand, but I don't have an intuitive "feel" for most mechanical's...  A friend of mine has a 100# LG that Kurt and Clifton both say is very well mannered... It occasionally tries to eat what I'm working on, it did that a few times, so now I have trust issues;-).

I feel much safer using tooling under an air hammer (steam/utility/selfcontained.)  I can't guarantee that I'm going to be able to tease the right blow out of a mechancial, whereas I can sneak up on the the tool with an air hammer. I can get all kinds of stuff done with an air hammer, and feel safer doing it.

I shoe horses full time, I don't get to play in the shop 6 days a week. If a mechanical was an extension of my right hand/right foot it might be different. But I want the tool I'm using to increase the likelyhood of success, and not force me to start all over...  I found that for me it was easier to learn how to use an air hammer, and it was plenty versitile.  When my Bull 90# utility hammer worked it was wonderful, when it was out of sync it broke, and I dont have the free time to fix it. My biggest complaint about most smaller hammers is that they don't have enough air between the dies, and manners;-) I like doing flat die forging with tooling, Clifton has been a big influence on me, just can't make me like mechanicals;-)

Question to the Original poster?  What do you want to do with this hammer? make damascus? make tools, forge hammers? give your arm a rest;-)

 

And Joel You suck;-) you have a Hackney, you just flat suck. One of the rarest and most interesting hammer designed, I was sure that they were all but gone to the scrappers, and you have one... You suck lol

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  • 1 month later...

 It must be nice to have the luxury of picking from any hammer to equip your shop. I have run air, steam and mechanical hammers from a 9# utility hammer to a 6000# double arch steamer. If I could pick, I would have a #3 or 4 Nazel, but they seem a tad hard to come by. There are limitations to every shop. Bigger is better to a point. After about 500 pounds a hammer gets too expensive to move, install, and run unless you actually have work requiring it. A self contained hammer has all the advantages of a utility and mechanical.  Mechanical hammers have the chief advantage of being not only effective but reasonably inexpensive. In England and Germany there may possibly be more self contained hammers than here Chambersburgs  and Nazels are pretty much the only old air breathers here and they are limited in number and rather coveted by those lucky enough to own one. Newer hammers of the fabricated variety tend to be light weight and somewhat flimsy. That leaves utility hammers which tend to be very expensive to set up requiring a massive air supply and they are hard to find in sizes that arent cartoonishly large. (I dont think I could find the work to keep a 3000# hammer busy) Mechaical hammers in that nice spot on the scale range between 100- and 500 pounds arent anywhere near as expensive as air hammers and exceptionaly simple to properly install. The mechanical hammer might have some drawbacks but you use what you have. As for size, a lot depends on the type and volume of work to be done with it. For a hobby shop a 25 pound Little Giant might be perfect running on 110 volt and being under 1000# overall it can be bolted to a garage floor and run without tearing the building down. I personally get impatient trying to forge anything on a hammer under 100 pounds. A 50 pound Little Giant is close to having the power to keep up in my shop, but I like having that little bit of extra push. A 200-300 pound hammer has all the power most of us will ever use and the cost to operate a 5-10 hp motor isnt that much more than to run a 3 hp. If you go over 15 hp you will be stuck with three phase and most home shops have a hard time getting wired for that.

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