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Signals to the striker


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Not a problem Glenn. Today the Smith I spoke to said the man he apprenticed under just spoke or shouted to him, no idea about the ringing signals. But he did say that as a lamp maker his teacher didn't need a striker much at all, and in the work he does himself now, neither does he. Thought it was a quaint idea.
Will keep digging around the smiths I meet from now on though.
:D
Ian

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Hello glenn,
I've found out a little more about your ringing signals to the striker. Will is familiar with them, as was a Smith called Tom and another called Mats. The system wasn't exactly the same and seems to be down to the Master whose workshop the Striker is working in over here. Also Will says that the 'Marker' can direct the 'Striker' by the use of his own blows on the piece. If the 'Marker' strikes the piece softly so would the 'Striker', and conversely if he really gives it a belt so would the 'Striker' with his next blow.
As far as quieting the ring of an Anvil down goes in Sweden it was traditional to put a sheet of cork under the Anvil base, according to an 88 year old retired smith called Albin who was consulted by Mats (it's his father no less!) in response to my question.
Keep the queries coming folks and I'll try to answer them if I can.
Ian

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  • 3 years later...

At the shop were I took my apprenticeship we used signals to communicate with the operators of the power hammers we used. As the shop had three large power hammers running as well as a large header and overhead cranes it was quite noisy. Factoring in the noise of the heating furnaces (four of them), the size of the hammers(1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 lb) and the fact that the Blacksmith was anywhere from 3 to 8 feet away from the hammer operator(depending on hammer and size of forging) the only way to communicate was by signals. These were sometimes used on the anvil as well when the helpers were striking.
The signals used on the hammers were as follows:

1. Arm held straight out front, level with the shoulder, palm open facing down and held steady.

This told the hammer operator to lower the ram to the face of the forging and get a "feel" for the control arm position on contact with the forging. It also ensured the forging was level with the bottom die face when hit.

2. One nod of the head downward signaled the hammer operator to begin striking. Each successive nod of the head downward signaled the hammer driver to strike harder.

3. Shaking the head gently from side to side signaled the hammer operator to lessen the strength of the blow. Repeated until the hammer operator was striking the correct blow.

4.Lifting the head once upwards signaled the operator to stop striking the forging and keep the ram up.

5.Holding arm straight out palm down starting level with shoulder and slowly lowering arm told operator to slowly lower ram to top of forging and apply pressure to hold it in place or if using bending blocks to apply enough pressure to make the bend( used in making overhead crane hooks).

6. Arm straight out, palm facing up and raising arm up signaled driver to slowly raise ram and hold in position.

One of the most critical of signals was the one to "feel" the forging as often times the helper would be holding a flatter or some other tool on the forging under the hammer. By "feeling" it the hammer driver would ensure that the helper is also holding the tool level on top of the forging. this prevented the tool handle from "snapping" into position when struck by the hammer and causing serious injury.

Terry

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  • 8 months later...

I as the smith, I signal by tapping my hammer on the anvil next to where the striker is to strike if working with two strikers. when they are to cease striking I tap and drag my hammer away from the piece toward the horn the strikers then take their last blow, if they are striking the horn, drag toward the heel. If only one other hammer strikes its much as stated above by tinker. mostly I work alone, years ago when making sledge hammers I worked with two others that 3", 4", tool steel is a beast alone

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  • 3 years later...

there are many differant signal each smith might have a little different for another, as long as your helper understands the signal you give ,then it all good just, don't miss the flatter head and hit the handle or the smith MIGHT  chase you around with a hot settt lolol or 

 look out 

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  • 2 months later...

my signals are simple and basic. 2 hits on the anvil means a
"attention" or "get ready to strike". whilst striking, one single blow on anvil, beside the workpiece means "finish this blow and remain ready" I instruct my strikers to watch my hammer and strike where on the piece that I do. if I use a "normal" blow, strike normal --harder or softer by me, follow suit. if I use my hammer as a fuller - face of hammer not parallel w anvil face - match my hammer angle. this includes full fave, half face, and edge to edge blows.

it doesn't take long for me to learn my striker, no matter his skill level, and to teach a new striker what hard,soft,normal means. usually throttling down his enthusiasm to conserv his energy.

I also make sure he holds and swings the hammer as I want him to, even experienced smiths. this is a safety issue with me. I can see his physical form as I watch my iron, so can control both, and not let him control anything but where and how to apply his hammerface on my iron.

I stress making blows uniform in force and duration, just like a power hammer, but not as fast. on normal blows, let the hammer rebound work for you and bring it back to the vertical. this sets the basic rhythm. whether you strike harder or softer, the rhythm is constant. the rhythm is always set by the smith. there is a real tendency for one new to striking to speed up the rhythm. so be aware of this.

sorry, but I felt that just "signals" could creat problems, so put down the "whole enchilada".it all goes together.

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I'm an amateur, but remember the smith in the next village when I was a child.

 

A few instructions to his apprentice stick in my mind: rapid taps on the anvil to call him; shouting 'left' or 'right', meaning clockwise /anticlockwise - but I have no idea from who's perspective that would have been; 'back' and 'forward', the latter meaning toward the smith; 'tight' and 'loose', I have no idea what they meant; 'stop' which happened a lot and I think was accompanied by a single hit on the anvil and keeping the hammer down.

 

I'm not sure if it is my imagination, but I think he sometimes used to put on a bit of a show for us...

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