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I Forge Iron

Tire hammer on Dirt floor?

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So I have the plans to build a Ray Clontz tire hammer and have started collecting parts for it, but I'm concerned because I don't have a concrete floor in my shop yet...

Should I wait until the concrete is done before I finish the build?  My brother lives next door and has a JD240 skid steer so that would help with moving it, but I'm concerned that I won't be able to even use it without a concrete floor.  Is that true?  I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to pour my floor, but I've been working without one for a while now.


Yes... I'm a caveman.

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 Pour a separate foundation block for the hammer. Put the top of it level with the future floor height if you think you will eventually pour a slab.

The hammer will hit harder and with more control if it's bolted to a heavy foundation block.  Bury a heavy wood block even with the floor where your heel rests when you work the treadle .

A dirt floor is great to have in a blacksmith shop. Easier on your body,  easier to pick up dropped hot pieces and sparks and hot cutoffs don't fly in all directions.


There are lot's of pictures of big industrial shops with dirt floors.

I've had a dirt floor in my forge shop for 25 years and love it. The machine shop has a concrete slab and the wood shop has a wood floor 

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You could always lay down a 6" - 8" thick pad of what is called crusher run (in my neck of the woods), which is limestone rock sized 3/4" and below mixed with fines so it compacts very well.  When you do go to pour your concrete floor you would not need to remove it as long as the top of stone is at the bottom of concrete elevation.

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You might try just bolting down to a heavy sheet of 4'x8' plywood. That will give it a big footprint,so it doesn't dig it self down into the dirt, and give you a solid place to stand. It would also help you figure out right where you want the hammer to sit, to match your work patterns. Concrete pads are real hard to move! Al

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  Putting it on a piece of plywood is a waste of time. Get real about this and try and do it right the first time.

Draw the footprint of the hammer on a piece of plywood . Indicate the dies and their orientation on the template.

Set the template on the shop floor and move it around until you find the right location where you can work  a bar both straight in through the dies as well as across the length of the dies.

Do this with the longest bar you can imagine handling [ probably no more than ten feet . ]  

Work out an efficient path from the forge to the hammer , with maybe a stop in the middle for a secondary operation on the anvil, like straightening.

Do the same mockup with the anvil and the vise. 

Take your time. This will probably indicate a work area about 12' by 12' ,maybe a little more. Think efficient work flow  from forge to hammer to anvil or vise. Repeat.

If you do big   architectural pieces like railings and gates you might want spread it out a bit. If you make knives and small items you could tighten it up a bit.

Pour a substancial footing  for the hammer [ 2' deep at least ?]   Keep all the concrete below grade if you are committed to staying with a dirt floor.

 Fasten the anvil solidly at the proper height to  a solid timber  set vertically in concrete .

Mount the post vise to a solid bench or post  anchored to a wall  and or into the floor.

Dont't waste your time and energy chasing an anvil  around the shop or in a vise that moves with every hit. 

The human body only has a limited amount of power. Mount your basic tools  solidly to make the most of it.

Mocking it up and  playing with the space will usually indicate the best and most efficient setup.

Usually there really is only one way that works with the space you have. 

With a dirt floor you can dig it up to run power or air or water lines in the future.

Rake it flat and smooth every week or so. 








Edited by beaudry
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  • 4 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I have a plywood floor in my shop, galvanized steel joists 12 inch on center, and I did not think that would work for any type of power hammer. I was looking at the little anvil mounted power hammer plans from Christ Centered Iron Works. The guy at Tuff Shed said I could park a car on this floor but I have to think that a 2,500+ car across 4 tires is much less stress than a power hammer across 16 square feet.  


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When I was looking into building a power hammer initially I looked at anvil mounted options like that.  I'm fairly sure those use industrial grade sewing machine motors for power.   I didn't have any plans so I kept making changes and the hammer kept getting bigger until I ended up with pretty much a full size tire hammer.  Since I am limited on space I made it mobile with removable wheels.  I don't bolt it down to anything, but the base plate is 20" x 24" x 4" so that weighs in over 500 lbs by itself.   I don't think I'd try to use it on a plywood floor.  The one you're talking about shouldn't be a problem though.

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