Salem Straub

New acquisition/refurb project, a 300 lb. Beaudry power hammer.

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I've been posting this in a couple other places, but thought I'd post the whole thing over here too as it's a real hammer crowd and I could always use more input!

The thread starts back a month ago in early June...

Well, I had enough of trying to track down hammers, afford them, dicker over price, lose deals from distance and competition... so I contacted my friend Larry Langdon and sure enough, he had a good project hammer to sell me.

It's a #9 Beaudry Champion, the slack belt type, the 300 lb. model. It needs dies and a sow block. Overall it's not too badly worn but has a good surface rust coat from sitting idle in a warehouse in Seattle for decades. Larry threw in a jackshaft setup including 7.5 hp 1100 RPM 3 phase motor, a big flat pulley he fabricated for it, the right 3-groove sheaves to achieve speed range, and shaft and bearings so putting together the drive tower should be relatively simple.

I got a monster sow block from some old steam hammer with it too, which he'd found and been saving as a starter block to shape a smaller sow for the Beaudry from. That's the most daunting part of the whole project, it's a lot of metal removal but I have no doubt it'll get done in the end.

I drove over to southern Idaho Memorial Day weekend to get it, 1200 miles round trip and 48.5 hours total.

Here's some pics...








You can see the big sow block in the pics, it needs the top and bottom dovetails cut off, and then cut into a round disc 10" thick and 16.5" wide. I have ordered a #7 cutting tip and am reading up on severing heavy sections, I have a very good old oxy-ace book from the 40's that deals with that stuff. Then I'll have to grind it nice and flat on both top and bottom and machine in dovetails that match the hammer.

I've wire brushed a good portion of the frame, and am soaking everything with penetrating oil- the first thing I'll do probably to get into it is fabricate a treadle, that I know I can do easily enough. Then it's the sow block...

I have just managed to source some used dies from a similar hammer, with slight modification they will work. 4" wide by 11" long by 2" outside the dovetails! Oh I can't wait to slap some hot steel between those big glorious flat dies and whale away...

As far as I can tell from a spark test the sow appears to be mild steel. That's a relief! I think it'll cut ok.
If I can get my gear and technique dialed in correctly, oxy-ace should be the fastest method by a long shot, to rough the block down... hopefully I can get a clean enough cut that the snagging afterwards isn't too horribly demanding. I do have big rocks for my big angle grinders.

Abrasive gas saw remains an attractive option B. In fact, if the first cut doesn't go well with the torch, I have three remaining ones to cut off with the saw. We'll see. It would take a whole lot of sawing and a bunch of wheels, but would come out cleaner with less grinding afterwards necessary.

I have a friend who has a moldmaker's shop, with a couple seriously large CNC mills- I thought if I could get the disc roughed in, I'd take it up to him to see if a program and cutters can be made to work on the big mill, as far as cutting in the top female and bottom male dovetails.

If not, I might be looking for a shaper. I know where one is that I could buy, but it's likely not big enough. Can't remember.

I got the #7 Victor tip in today, and wow the center jet for the cutting oxy is BIG! on that thing.
I perused some reference material for a rough idea of the amount of oxygen I might consume... it appears that running that tip at about 50 psi oxygen will burn through one of my large full tanks in about 1/2 hour or less. Cutting speed might be 3-4 ipm, and I have roughly 14 inches of cut length per side of the two dovetails. So, if it goes well I might be able to cut the dovetails off before going to refill and then cutting the main puck down to a smaller diameter circle.
It is recommended to use 3/8" hose or better and no flashback arrestors to inhibit the oxygen supply, so I dug out the heavy hose I had stashed, took the arrestors off, leak tested it all and ran the torch for a minute, and it all checks out- so I believe I'm ready to try tomorrow.
I think I'll grind a path clean of surface rust; I've found my best cutting occurs when the preheat flames are not hitting a rusted surface.
One factor of which I'm uncertain, is that the dovetail sections have a maximum width of 7" to cut, but the lead-in and tail-out portions of the cuts taper in from and out to nothing. I'll have to slant the oxy jet a bit so as to not blow through those parts too quick and rough, I suppose.
I type all of this, to reveal my thought process in case anyone has advice to add- to hear from folks skilled in heavy manual flame cutting would be very helpful. Also, it will now be here as a record of my attempt and the results, for better or worse, should anyone else face a similar task!

I didn't mess with the sow today, but tinkered with the moving parts for an hour or so, and made some progress.

I got the brake cleaned out and freed up, loosened.

Yesterday I cut the broken adjuster bolt out, and put a new one in for now. Probably go with something less tacky, ultimately.
I reefed on it super hard, sprayed pen oil all over, left overnight.

Came out today, and used a mild steel set hammer and sledge to rap upwards on the guide wedge. After a little of that, more reefing on the adjuster, until finally the wedge began to slide up a bit.

You can see the rust line where the ram sat in one spot for a long time! Not super deep pitting though.

I slapped some scrap together to make a quick "Big Ghetto Wrench" and hauled away on the crank pin nut.

And voila! The ram dropped farther in the guides, to bottom dead center, and the main shaft turned fairly easily.

Lots more drop with the crankshaft rotated and the ram free.

Crankshaft rotated to bottom position. Not hard at all with the brake and ram freed up!
Upon observation earlier, I saw some not totally dried grease hanging at the bottom of the crank bearings on both sides of the frame, leading me to hope that the shaft had not seeped full of water and rusted solid to the bearings over time. Seems like that worked how I'd have wished after all!

Now I have to make a 2.5" square (IIRC) driver/wrench to turn the set screws for the spring arm tension adjustment, and break all that free and take it apart so I can remove the ram to polish all of the moving bits up.

One end of the idler/brake linkage pivot shaft. It was well corroded from water getting into the oil holes and down into the babbitt bearings. The linkage was frozen and would not pivot, necessitating the freeing and removal of the old shaft.

I finally got the shaft out, it took a lot of Blaster and hammering back and forth on the ends, using a mild steel set hammer to cushion the blow of an 8# sledge. It was rusty enough to be scrapped, but the babbitt itself in the frame will live to fight another day.

Linkage yoke removed, and a piece of 1" round cold rolled steel try-fit in for a new shaft. It fits just a little loose, but this is not an area where precision of movement is key. I'll re-babbitt or perhaps bush with bronze later if warranted.

More steps along the way...

The new treadle/brake linkage shaft needed tapered holes for the pins, and neither I or the local machine shop had a taper reamer the right size... so I cut a piece of coil spring, straightened and annealed it, and chucked it up in the lathe to make a tapered "D" style reamer.


With a 1 degree taper cut onto the reamer, I milled off half of the diameter and stoned it smoothish.


Quench hardened and drawn to a straw temper...


Drilled some 19/64" holes and followed up with the tapered "D" style reamer. It cuts nice and smooth!


New shaft installed. The brake and treadle are workably linked and operational once more! A problem though with the inboard yoke for the treadle link, is that the pin hole drilled through the casting is not centered with the through shaft. As the hole in the shaft is centered, this creates a slight misalignment. A taper pin still fits OK but it may need more attention later.


I had an old tie bolt... 1" round mild steel, just long enough to make a treadle from. Here I'm roughing the bend in cold using a big piece of RR track as a bending "fork" and a cheater pipe. I then tuned the curve a bit with a 10 lb. sledge over the big sow block.


I cut and drilled some 2" x 1/2" bar to fit the treadle pivot dogs, a short one on this side, with the bolt/treadle welded directly on...


It makes a nice arc matching the outer circumference of the foot of the frame, and is adjustable in height/angle by the arced slots for the front mounting bolts.


My Airco CV300-II Mig over to the left... made short work of solid welds for the round-to-flat joints. 
The spring is too wimpy to work by itself, regardless of that I left excess treadle bar running out to the back, which will have a sliding counterweight fit to it. I plan to have both counterweight and spring there.


Next I have to get a piece of sheared taper pin out of the bottom linkage yoke inside the frame, and make/install a new one.

More tinkering to relate...

There was weirdness in the lower treadle linkage... found there was a shattered pin in the bottom yoke, which enabled the yoke to slip on the shaft rather than pivot to push on the connecting rod.
It was a pain in the NECK to get out. In the end I had to break out a flashlight and inspection mirror to line it up correctly, then use significant force to punch and pry the pin pieces up and out.


The yoke is in a position that makes it hard to get to the pin from below! Had to pry against the frame with pinch bars and various short punches against the pin.


I measured the old pin, which was 3.5" effective length, and found it to be about a 1 degree taper- .360" on the small end, .500" on the big end. Set the lathe up and used the compound rest to manually cut a new taper pin. I should really be using the 18" Hendey for this stuff but it's not as tooled up as my little Grizzly is, yet... 

I was too brain fried at this point to calculate the taper exactly, so I first turned the major and minor diameters on the ends and then set one degree on the compound and just observed how that came out as I cut the final passes. As it turned out the taper did not extend quite down to the minor diameter, so I tapped just a tiny bit more angle on the compound, took finish cuts, and it blended right down into the right taper over the length. My bonehead approach, plus that little Grizz lathe needs to be observed and adjusted rather than taken for granted as a stiff, precise machine!


Not the world's best finish, but good for a pin!


It tapped down in there nice and snug, and presto the linkage works how it should. Now I can step on the treadle and yell "bam bam bam!" all I want.



I do a lot of work on my knee mill. It's already proved invaluable on the hammer rebuild, as it has for the rebuild and ongoing maintenance of my Little Giant power hammer and other machines. Just had to give it a shout out, it's an Index model 645, with power X feed and quill. I used it on the wrench to follow...


The big set screws for the spring tension on the Beaudry have square sockets, which are a little irregular but are pretty much 1.940" both ways. I got a chunk of 2" hot rolled mild bar, and on the knee mill, roughed the sides down to 1.940" square and bored a 1" hole for a handle.


The Beaudry Tension Wrench in full... 2' of 1" cold rolled 1018 for a handle, sliding smooth with little play through the wrench head. A cheater pipe can of course be added as necessary.


The custom Beaudry Tension Wrench in action... gonna need to work on the threads a bit more with pen oil and possibly even heat though, we'll see.


As I was driving to a gig the other day, my thoughts were on the hammer... imagining the fabrication of an idler pulley. Then I realized- wasn't there an idler pulley on that old straight six agricultural motor I got with some old trucks? Had a look the next morning, and voila... there it is, lower right, 5" face and 8" in diameter, mounted on its own bearings (which are still in good shape.)


Turning to matters of adapting the idler to the hammer, the first item was to design a mounting method. The idler arm is bent from some unknown past force, such that any wheel mounted directly to it would be severely out of plane with the hammer's drive wheel.
So, I got one of the old 3/4" nuts from the idler arm, and made a custom T-nut with it to fit into the idler arm's slot.


Neither of the big bolts I had were the correct length, one being too short and one being too long. I decided to use the too-short one as the threads were better.
There had been a large washer/standoff on one of the bolts, on the idler- so I turned a counterbore into it that the big washer can seat into. This on the 1911 Hendey 18"x10' lathe.


My big Hendey lathe, take a bow old girl!


With the parts modified, and a plan in my mind, I decided to use my Airco 3A stick/TIG welder, as the leads are 50 ft. long and can run right over up to the top of the hammer to tack weld in situ.


It was pushing 100f as this photo was taken... the wheel is shimmed up to the right height with the idler, and I have a big flat old chainsaw bar clamped to the hammer drive wheel to transfer the plane of it to the face of the idler wheel. This should make it track right when tensioning the flat belt. I have the idler mount bolt tightened onto the arm, and am tacking the wheel's shaft mount to the angle adapter plate on the idler bolt.


I took it all down after tacking, brought it inside, and MIG'ed finish welds on all around. The plates involved act as angle adapters as well as standoffs to achieve correct distance from idler, and correct alignment with the drive pulley.


Mounted back up to have a look...

From the off side...


Observe the tiny blue sky gap between the wheels... you can see that they are parallel. Actually from the face angle of the belt they are more co-planar yet.


The hammer as he sits now.. idler installed, treadle fabbed and installed, brake freed and linkage corrected. Next is to make the adjustable connecting arm from brake pivot to idler arm.



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Of the three rollers involved in the flat belt drive, there's no crown on any of them... the big flat jackshaft pulley, the idler, and the hammer's big drive pulley. The two big wheels do have flanges on them, but the idler not so much. Actually the idler has just a tiny bit of crown but so little that it's questionably intentional. When working up the angle ajustment/adapto mount on the idler, I thought for a while to incorporate a simple tracking method but ultimately adhered to KISS. We'll see how it works, I can always make it into a tracking wheel in the future.

I really couldn't stop working on the hammer today... I did get some paying work done this evening after the shop cooled off though.

Here's the afternoon's work.

I moved to a strategy to put serious torque on the Beaudry Wrench... and the set screw broke free! It turned fairly easily after that, and after freeing the second one it was apparent that both had remained well oiled but for the surface thread.


After surveying some options for hoisting the ram, I padded across the anvil ring with steel and timber and just turned the set screws out until the ram dropped and tipped onto the boards provided in its path.


Inspecting the rollers... pretty rusty, no surprise there.


This one has a major problem. A big part of the roller face is cracked and about to separate. If there had been any debate about making new rollers, this pretty much settles it. Also not a major surprise, and not a very difficult turning project.


There is some debate about whether the rollers should be hardened or soft. The soft side say that you want that engineered focus of wear, as the ram itself is much more difficult to fix if worn- the rollers being the more expendable part, and if they are soft, will tend to wear the ram negligibly. The "hard roller" camp says that all the historical examples are found to have quite hardened rollers in them, and that they need to be hardened at any rate not to wear out unduly.

I've hear of rollers being made for them from hardened H13 and lasting the last 15+ years with no troubles... another friend recommended annealed 4340 left that way.

I might go with semi-hard 4140 and see how that works. Just material with shipping would be $100 otherwise.

I took the set screws all the way out, and with pen oil and light tapping and wrenching, loosened the ram height adjustment set screw and got the wedge out.


Delving into the mysteries of the spring box, I saw that the lower inner tie member of the casting was seriously cracked. Also, it looks as if someone in the past may have patched it at some point... trying to wrap my head around that pin thingy.


A view of the other side of the casting... equally cracked.


I've talked to guys who have welded these and it's worked well... the thinking is that when they crack it's likely due to the pitman being a loose fit and/or spring tension run chronically too loose. My one acquaintance even had one too far gone to weld, and so worked up a mold and cast one out of 4340 for a 200 lb hammer. Actually five of them. I was quite impressed by that! And then machined the big internal threads manually... super cool stuff.  The crack will be fixed... I ran it by some Beaudry guys around the net, and found that it's cast low carbon steel rather than cast iron, and can be welded pretty easily.
So that will be my approach, V it out and weld it up stout with the big mig.

Today I mostly just scraped old gunk off the inside of the slide casting and guides... there was a lot. I scraped, brushed, steel wooled, and sanded all of the ram and frame slide surfaces smoother- there's some work left to do there, I'm trying to achieve smooth slide surfaces without grinding down to remove all pitting, which would take a LOT of removal and basically planing everything down parallel again.

More pics to come soon, I'll end with this one though... a perspective with me in the frame.


I attacked the cracked casting of the spring box today. Here's the first side with the crack grooved out, using a combo of angle grinder, carbide burr, and sawzall. There were some voids in the casting...


Side number two grooved out.


I used an old soft aluminum jaw from the mil vise as a backer for the weld.


All welded full... second side looks more or less the same. I welded on the inside as well.


First side after grind cleanup.


Second side after cleanup.


Stress relief heating up to very dull red.


I got a big turnbuckle and some stuff for making the top linkage arm today, so that's getting monkeyed with next.

I made the top linkage arm today, tying the brake to the idler arm. It's just a new bought 5/8" turnbuckle, with an extension welded to one side to achieve correct adjustable range of length. The eyes at the ends have lathe-turned steel bushings with a 5/8" bore welded into them to smoothly fit the pin/bolts.


It can be seen in this picture, the degree to which I had to bend the top eye in to match the angle of the bent idler connection. The turnbuckle threads have locking nuts on both sides to keep the assembly stiff.


Idler position with treadle up, brake on, belt loose.
Also note the spring box, fixed up and re-installed. It fits more snugly now, a good thing to my mind.


With the treadle depressed- run mode, brake off. Pretty smooth, and the weight of the idler does indeed pull the treadle back up without need for a counterweight. The weight stays for now though, as it speeds up the treadle return.


I have some 80mm 4140HT round on order, at about 30 rockwell. I'm going to turn that into rollers on the Hendey.

The tapered gib needed some real work... so I took it down. Here's the back, which I brushed clean.


The brass wear strips were coming loose, with one almost falling off... I figure they'd been allowed to come loose, and the ram sheared them off. I went to drilling out all the broken brass screws and re-tapping the holes.


I had some round brass on hand to make the 3/8" screw for the wear strips...


Slotting the head on a brass screw.


A finished brass screw. Too much time though.


After making one brass screw, I knew it took a lot of time... so the only thing I could find within 40 miles at a store was silicon bronze 3/8" hex cap bolts, which I then modified on the lathe into flathead screws.


The tapered gib mounted back on the hammer, with all fasteners in tight and seven of them replacements.


Tracks worn into the inside of the ram, by unlubricated rollers that were not fully spinning.


Tracks ground out from one side of the ram, and surface smoothed and lightly re-shaped.


Another view of smoothed inside ram surface, now the new rollers should glide much more easily.


Ram side #2, also badly worn. The wear pattern is slanting and to the side and high up, possibly from the spring being run sloppy. This can't have been good- I imagine that's what would lead to arm breakage ultimately.


Ram side #2 ground all better.


Detail of smoothed and shaped ram inner #2.


You know you've just been having too much fun when your hands look like this. Angle grinder swarf...


Clearing the plugged-up oil holes in the ram.


Having gotten the bar of 80mm round 4140 HT in, I began the roller turning project.
I researched the best strategy for heavy material removal with slow speeds and HSS tooling for this material, and found the recipe for this style of grind. It's got a heavy rake and is quite acute, called (I gather) in some circles a "knife grind." 


Trying it out, it's fantastic. It really peels material off with less hp necessary, and puts most of the heat into the chip, not the tool. I could hog 5/16" depth of cut per side, with up to .010"/rev at 70ish sfm before my stupid tool holder would wimp out...


With the good cutters, this job generated copious piles of thick blue and gold chips!

The new rollers, next to the old ones.
The new ones are a bit bigger, .025" larger in diameter and the integral stub shafts as large as the journals on the spring arms will accept (1.40".) This to account for wear on the old ones, and to provide a slightly smoother ride and a little more possible arm pre-load.


I was unable to get a consistent, nice finish on the 4140 after roughing it in, so I got as close as I could and finished by grinding and scotchbrite belts.


On a side note, the Hendey kicked butt on this job, although oddly enough it developed a case of "reverse Hendeyitis" in that the spindle developed about .030" of end play near the end of the job. I took up the slack at the rear bearing with the threaded collars, which seemed to bring it right back into line.

Got the rollers fit into the ram, and the spring arms into the spring box, and the whole works up onto the frame and back together tight. Whew! Now it's theoretically a good working top end, just the sow needs lots of attention now, then some dies and a motor drive and a foundation...


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Fantastic bit of work I love getting into jobs like this making old stuff go again You are doing a well thought out and executed job there. Just a thought on those rollers, Sometimes a soft item gets harder particles imbedded in the surface and actually wears something much harder that I bears against I think I would have them hardened Cheers Beaver

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I just hope you can overcome that horrible aversion to working on old machinery! :rolleyes: It's good to watch a project done by someone who understands machinery and actually knows how to use machine tools. It's been a joy following along.

Thanks, Frosty The Lucky.

Oh P.S. What you referred to as "rake" grinding the lathe cutter is properly called "relief". That's the space behind the cutting edge that allows it to cut without rubbing. The less relief the better so long as it clears it's good. The angle on top is the bevel and only wants to be enough to turn the cutting into a strip, you don't want it so perpendicular as to cause the cuttings to chip off. However too much bevel and the cuttings rub the cutter too much and friction heating can draw it's temper and dull it.

End P.S. :)

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I know little about welding, less about lathes, and even less yet about power hammers, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this thread.  Without the pics I would be totally lost.  With the pics I may be able to find my way back to civilization some day.  Thanks for taking us on this journey with you. 

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Thanks guys!


I've been working on other things to make money the last few weeks, but I did buy some dies from a fellow forumite at Bladesmith's Forum and they came in today.
These are likely Bradley dies, but will fit with a shim underneath. They are round-swaging dies so I'm having to grind them flat.
The faces are 4"x11" and die height will be 2" upper and 2.25" lower.
A file will cut them but they are semi-hard and spark like at least medium-high carbon steel.
SUCH nice big flat faces! Can't wait to smash billets!


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A bit more...

I ground the top die nice and flat, and softened the edges just a bit with an angle grinder, then did the same to the bottom die...


Then took measurements of the ram dovetail, and found some stock the right thickness for a key.  Here it is blocked up on the grinder mag chuck, machining 1/8" taper per 11" off, 13" total key length.


Top die, 1/8" shim underneath and die key rough-fitted.
I drove it in about halfway with a deadblow, it will be finish fitted with blue dykem and selective grinding. The ram looks good with that die in it, though!


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This is actually becoming an epic.  Just to please JHCC you should try to make the rest of your posts in dactylic hexameter.  If you were a fly on the wall in his house you would hear him chanting the tale of your rebuild.

I can't wait to see it run.  Please do a video of that part.

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"This is the hammer of power, the fruit of the labors of Beaudry...."

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No paint... I like the dark gray brown of once-rusted iron, wire wheeled and oiled.  To me, a machine like a hammer that gets super oily in use doesn't much need a paint job indoors, it would be cosmetic only but as I say, I do like the color of iron!

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No turning back now... sawed a hole through the shop floor, 3.5' x 6'. Now there's some digging to do..



Your average, garden variety, four foot deep power hammer foundation hole.


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7 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Note sacrifices need no longer be done and buried under such important structures.

I disagree... bury an old set of tongs or something at least? Worthy sacrifice?

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Make sure it's a good one, and not just one you want to get rid of. The power hammer gods will know!

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I tied a fair amount of rebar in my early 20's... whaddya know, it came in handy again! Cage built for hammer foundation. Hoping to pour on Friday.


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Foundation poured for the Beaudry... 3-1/4 yards of six sack mix with super plasticizer. Signed in the corner by my boy, with his feet and hands and I added his name and the date!


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