jlpservicesinc

Directional forging.. Hammer understanding as I see it...

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This is going to be a long thread with long responses..   If you can bear it, hold out and read it all..  Sorry it's so long it's going to be covered in sections with what I have learned over the last 30+ years of having "No one" to tell me it shouldn't be done this way..    

 I have spent the past week, just forging metal and making notes of how or why and when and where and have devoted some time to directional forging of ends of bars.. 

I have in the works 3 videos which will be in addition to this thread..   I'm hopeful this thread will open some doors to thinking with a discussion on why or how or what people have discovered on their own.. 

I'm hopeful also that the level of detail will be presented by the respondents so it can be looked at by others..   

I personally have been a smith for a long time.. I was a professional for a 8 years with a total of nearly 40 years working metal.. the early years were spent making knives and swords and such.. I then progressed into what I deem as Early American Forging..( or American General blacksmith practices) This being door hardware, tools, and misc..  Pretty much anything..  

I am self taught with no mentors or really anything other than a few old books..  This left the field of exploration completely open as I had no reference points and no one telling me something won't work..   I soon learned being in business for myself that if I quote a job..  I better come in at that time frame or else I'd lose money.. If I came in under the time I'd make extra money.. 

This meant the faster I could produce the faster I could get the job done and come in at or under the allotted time...  I soon discovered that for any given item.. There were faster ways of doing them discarding what didn't work in favor of what did work..  I specialized in Custom Hardware.. This meant for any given job I would for the most part never fill the same order twice.. Each Latch or hinge or item made was from simply a sketch.  In other words No stock list or stock parts..  There is something to say about repetition in such that.. If you have a stock list and since you might make a couple hundred of 1 item, you can figure out where to fuller, or set or what have you to create the item over and over and over again and eventually it becomes auto pilot..   This is a luxury I never had.. 

So each item was made from and to...     Nearly the opposite of forging to dimension (which is knowing exactly what the desired shape is, and also knowing how much material is needed, accounted for and used..   forging to dimension a few things are needed..  the easiest way is to make 1 or 2 of the item making mental notes (writing them down is good idea), times, notes, adjustments, etc, etc.

Eventually a person can get really close to doing "Forging to dimension" with little fan fair or thought behind it as it becomes rote..  Again experience plays in here.. 

Not faster by using machinery as I was a purist of only hammer, anvil, forge and vise with the associated tooling used with just these.. Basically all hand work.. No machinery other than a drill press and a power hacksaw.. 

1) So,  As mentioned  "Rules" metal will always move from greater constraint to lesser constraint..  In other words..  to or towards the least resistance.. And this can be based on metal thickness, cold vs hot,  Where a bar is held and how it is forged..   Cold metal holding hot metal on either side of an upset is such a device..  Cooling the longer side of a punch or drifted hole to elongate the shorter side.. Etc, etc.. 

But, there are also others..  Using a bob punch as an example to pull out the makings of a clip or finial.. 

 

2) Next is "hammer face shape" and this depends on a lot of who is doing the forgings and the level of understanding on how PSI (Pressure per Sq inch) is applied in regards to metal..  a Square faced hammer will offer a straight surface to the metal when used on diagonal of impact..   Any other hammer shape, be it round, or otherwise will offer a side profile that is oval vs straight.. this can be a problem as it won't have even force (psi) across the face and will push the metal away from the center in the direction of least resistance which is the sides..  Thus it will create a wider bar than a straight sided face or 4sq vs any other shape than straight/cross peen...  For the most part we will break the hammer down into, Face and peen..  

 


3) As metal gets thicker.. Larger in Sq inches it takes more POWER (PSI)  to move the same amount of metal or a smaller die size that will distribute the PSI into a smaller area thus increasing the localized force or PSI applied..  Like 50/50 anvil work, or hammer side face/heel face or peen use...  

Same applies to using a power hammer correctly.. 1/2 on the die bar off, take shorter bites into the bar till you get close to the final size.. 

Some of the techniques for moving metal involve several different motions not only in the hammer or how the hammer is swung but also with how the body moves..  The differences for a given forging function can be  in the thousands depending on the school of thought, the training the person has received,  who the mentor is, The size of hammer,  Age and of course physical condition.. 
And conditioning..
     

4) So we will start with these 3 as these seem to be the major ones for this time...  

Hammer drop    vs   Hammer strike vs  hammer snap..  

Hammer drop is simply lifting the hammer and dropping it onto the work piece..   Dropped weight.. 

Hammer strike is actively driving the hammer through the whole stroke and applying force behind it ending the power when the hammer is lifted back up.. 

Hammer snap can be looked at as pulling the hammer into your body mass and snapping the hammer into the target..  ( a whipping motion of the arm) Like finger flicking or whip snapping)

5) Next would be hand, finger and wrist position...   Some hold  a hammer depending oh how it's swung with loose finger and a side grip (Hofi style). Some will keep the hand fairly loose until impact with the metal and the hammer handle will be in line with the bone structure while in motion.. 

Some will only use really the thumb and the pointer finger when using the snap method and grasping the handle just as the snap comes into position if at all with the other fingers.. 

6) And then there is the.. Body Position:  Forwards, Neutral and retreating stance and feet positions..   (this also includes where a person stands in regards to the anvil..  straight, diagonal, over, at the heel, horn, etc.. 

7) And:   Then we have "how the metal responds" to the way the hammer hits, angles, balance and such..  

Metal moves like mud or clay..  Since the metal is supported by the anvil  it does change a little bit vs just being a blob or a mud hole.. 

if you have clay and force a thumb into it.. The clay around the thumb will raise up or create an area around the depression.. This area is upset.. the reason for this is the metal outside the depressed area resists movement thus holding the displaced (hit area) upset area in place..  Metal will always move towards the area of least resistance.. 

it's funny this thread was started As a New Blacksmith friend of mine (skilled) and I were just having a conversation on hammer techniques and we ended up having a 4 response discussion on it.. Till I made the  Tapers video.. 

8) Ideally how we move while swinging a hammer can have an impact on accuracy,  endurance,  cross sectional forging efficiency,  as well as other factors.

Since we are "Living machines"..   For a given day we need to be or move as well as we can for "How We Feel" especially as it's when we are feeling off, under the weather  or not in prime shape.. 

 9) I don't want to bore anybody, but this is going to be a lengthy thread. There is a lot of information and some to weed out vs proven and some that are misunderstood.. Like the smearing of metal as it's forged... 

While smearing is not the right word for it.. It is the only one that comes to mind that reminds me of slipped.. 

This smearing effect is a hard one to explain and after having the discussion on the other thread it became apparent to me, that I could not explain it without further study.. I've only been doing for 25 years but have never had to explain it to someone not present while doing it..  The best example which is all ready in video is the  (hammer is pulled to you)..   it becomes a speed thing but also more than that.. 

The motion for doing it is the opposite of the forging snap...  A forging snap move the hammer from body tight on the up, to extending outward on the down with a loose grip leading into a whipping of the hammer...    It's the exact opposite but find it does work on thinner materials.. And here is the rub and which I could not explain before..    Thinner to me is 1/2" sq cross section,, little bigger with flats or rounds... 

The tapers videos have all ready been posted so will just put links here..   There are 2 new videos and part of the directional forging aspect of this thread.. I will be dropping by to add more information as things go along.   This is all ready getting to long and fear most won't read it..   
 

tapers video 4lbs:   https://youtu.be/EsJA43sDvJ4

Tapers video 2.5lbs:    https://youtu.be/dACKhoB6rPU

Taper video 1.125 round rounded taper unedited: using the side face of the hammer in a leisure taper:  It's like 5 minutes long.. :    

 

Peening practice:  Phase 1 (straight peening) and Phase 2 (moving the hammer in the direction of metal flow desired):   

 

 

 

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Guess I have something to do the next couple of nights! This should be an interesting thread to follow! Can't wait. Thanks again.

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I hope its interesting and i am able to present the in information in a way that makes sense..

This is a tough subject as every person believes their way is the best way..

Also there are people who have only been doing this a fairly short time who are giving opinions as to what is best..

I will say there are no wrong ways to swing a hammer.. 

The biggest thing is "there are better ways..."

Also the better ways will move metal the quickest for what ever size the metal is within reason..    this really becomes the key..

 

Everyone talks about hurting the body while smithing..   its going to happen no matter what we do..  its exercise and the body only has a finite number of motions, heart beats ,etc,etc..

If we strike a 5/8" sq bar 30 times to forge a 5" taper in 1 heat vs 200 times over 4 or 5 heats some would argue the 200times is better as its slower with less wear and tare to the body with a lighter hammer..  the tapers videos show the differences..

Im using this as an example and if it takes 4or5 heats.. thats ok..  but it is just a different kind of wear to the body  with an increase in use of resources..  time, fuel, electricity...as well as repetitive stresses to the body..

This is where efficiency of motion and using proper technique will cut down on wear and increase productivity.. thus actually helping to cut down on wear and tear..

 

Carpenters have arm and shoulder problems, roofers, stone masons, anybody who swings a hammer or uses the body for work like mechanics, for a living will have a problem at some point.   Moving metal the most efficient way is the key to minimizing injury..

 

 

 

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Good analysis. Thanks for getting this conversation going.

1 hour ago, jlpservicesinc said:

Moving metal the most efficient way is the key to minimizing injury..

Excellent point.

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An observation I made on your initial taper vidioes was that unlike the common advice to start a blunt taper and forge back from the point so as to avoid fishmouthing you start just behind the point and upset the middle of the stock end forward into a roundish blob, thus avoiding the issue. 

 

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Sorry for the horrible illustrations this morning, I would like to blame it on a shaky table and a dry erase marker, but alas I’m a bit blurry eyed and shaky this morning. 

 

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3 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

An observation I made on your initial taper visions was that unlike the common advice to start a blunt taper and forge back from the point so as to avoid fishmouthing you start just behind the point and upset the middle of the stock end forward into a roundish blob, thus avoiding the issue. 

I have to ask that when making reference to the videos that they are numbered and then the subset or lesser number.. Like on the 4lbs taper.. method 1, 2, 3, 4  

I wish I had numbered them here on this thread.. It would make things easier over the course of explanations and to keep everybody on the same page.. 

yes, this happens because the metal is being forged completely through vs just the surface..  With that in mind, the metal against the anvil will move slower than the metal being hit by the hammer.. So, for the thicker part (where the taper starts) there is a grain boundary beginning to happen, unless it is effected all the through despite the metals thickness.. 

In the Tapers video with the 4lbs hammers.. There are 4 times this happens.. once in each video.. But it happens at a different time frame...  It is most noticeable when the hammers heel is pulling the metal to me.. You will see it smear and the tip will raise upwards.. 

Yup, smearing just like a clip..  I had discovered that once I started serving my apprenticeship, that the method of pulling the metal towards me was excellent for pulling clips. :) 

Also of note is the time frame it actually takes to get 90% of the taper forged.. The best method is the one that creates heat in the steel as it is creating movement (very fast) in the metal itself aiding in moving more metal, more quickly.. 

  Because of me being out of forging shape (not just how long I can hammer, but how well I can control the hammer and how well I can recognize where the hollow is), I am still struggling with getting the tapers even with a smooth face from the get go in both the 4lbs and 2 lbs tapers video as well as the 1 1/8"..  As I have gotten older my eyes also have a harder time discerning between what is straight and then the visual effect of looking at the darker metal on the shiny face of the anvil.. 

my old shop was about pitch black and the trailer is white walled with video lights on..  (LOL.. I'm just getting older)... 

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All of the taper vidioes show the same effect, so I did not reference any one in particular. 

As to old eyes lovely lady, they do make magnifiing/reader safety glasses for those of use who share such a need (I resorted to magnifiers in my welding helmet)

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12 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

All of the taper vidioes show the same effect, so I did not reference any one in particular. 

As to old eyes lovely lady, they do make magnifiing/reader safety glasses for those of use who share such a need (I resorted to magnifiers in my welding helmet)

Yes the videos do produce tapers, but the techniques are different and is the reason I was hoping to keep it or the comments more specific, but general is ok.. Just wanted to clarify.. Thank you..  

I have astigmatism..  It's only certain things that really give me a hard time.(green LEDs like on cassette players 3,5,8, 6, 9,).  My vision is exactly the same whether the object is 5" or 500 ft.. It's almost like there is a Hallo around it.. 

To see it clearly I have to look off the sides but with the video lights and shiny anvil it's like i just looked into the sun..  LOL..  chuckle chuckle..  :) 

15 minutes ago, Hans Richter said:

Great videos Jennifer, thanks for sharing.

Regards, Hans

Thanks..  If you feel like you can add something please do..   The more the merrier.. :) 

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Nothing to edit or comment just astonished. Even we have the same age, the pictures remind me that I started behind the anvil 10 years later then you and stay there less often then you.

Impressed by the technics and accuracy of the beats. If you ever look for an apprentice or a helping hand I’m at your service ;)

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Okay so now to hammer faces.. This will be brief as the video will contain more info.. 

 

 I also want to give credit where credit is due.. A skilled smith and myself have been talking about the the nuances he has been seeing in the videos I have been making..  He is the one who has brought up a lot of the hammer questions in my mind to ponder..  All of my hammers have (well except the rounding and fiskars) flat faces with bevels but all pretty much all 8 sided. except for my vintage ones.. I put flat square faces on them years ago, But don't use them much..  

His comments as to why he prefers this or that got me thinking  to the way back..   And this stirred me to look again at the flat faced sq or rectangular hammers.. 

I moved away from them way back because of the work I was doing.. His point is in shear metal moving ability there isn't a finer hammer..   His undeniable adherence to the whys and wheres is his..  I am always open to see or to experiement again... And I can see where a sq or retangular face has merit vs round or 8 sided..  he is also the one who likes a flat peen.. I prefer rounded but again open to experimentationa and besides that.. Who doesn't want to own more hammers.. :)     


As mentioned a Square or rectangular face is better since it offers a longer straight edge on the face itself vs a round faced or 8 faced hammer..  Todays hammers unless you make them or buy from a source all have the same face geometry as for square, rectangular,  square with docked corner (8 sided) or round..  

Also flat faced vs convex, and the post that Glenn did recently has some great info as to working to create the hammer based on how you do a particular work and leaving the hammer soft till you have used it a bit..  

Then my vintage original German X peen, compared to the newly dressed french X peen..  

this is where you can clearly see the longer straight section making contact with the metal to be worked in the dressed hammer and how it will drive the metal more in 1 direction vs the convex face French or the 8 sided German X peen.. 

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Flattening the face... 

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Flattened peen.. 

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Old french hammer

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Dressed French vs Vintage German

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So, you're making the face on the new French hammer flatter, rather than the usual advice to make it more round (like the faces on the older French and German hammers). A flatter tip to the peen as well.

Interesting. Very interesting.

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The face is completely flat with a very small radius at the edge..  The peen is completely flat and about 3/8" wide. I'm going to leave it this way till I have a chance to use it..  

From a forging aspect with an eye on the metal moving in the direction of least resistance it would have merit..  Using it to pull metal like in Video 4 Phase 2 .

The face if used for drawing will offer a level of control a rounded face just can't offer as the faces in any other shape but square or retangel will still have a round profile when brought up on a diagonal.. :) 

 

Charles R. Stevens, the pictures you drew just came through.. And yes.. you are correct.. 

 

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1 hour ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

It helps me to draw out the steps, lol

Me too..    :) 

3 hours ago, Hans Richter said:

Nothing to edit or comment just astonished. Even we have the same age, the pictures remind me that I started behind the anvil 10 years later then you and stay there less often then you.

Impressed by the technics and accuracy of the beats. If you ever look for an apprentice or a helping hand I’m at your service ;)

Your turning out some mighty fine work..   If anything you guys make me want to step up my game..  I''m old and lazy now..  :) 

I'll keep you in mind if at some point I am looking.. 

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2 hours ago, JHCC said:

So, you're making the face on the new French hammer flatter, rather than the usual advice to make it more round (like the faces on the older French and German hammers). A flatter tip to the peen as well.

Interesting. Very interesting.

Yes, in the way, way back.. The face was completely flat with nearly 0 bevel on the edge...  It takes a mighty good swing to hit the metal straight and true..   One of the problems in the trailer is the anvil height changes by up to 2 or 3" depending on where its located..  This flat of a face will make for an awesome metal mover but hitting flat will be a challenge.. 

 

If you look at how a power hammer or a hydaulic press, you are only taking off a little section at a time.. Each time this is done it moves the metal way from the part that has the most resistance..  In the peening video it shows how the bar is split in the middle and then each side is peened separately.. The off side first than the power side or on side..  The on side will always draw more.. 

This flatter peen will basically leave a finished piece of work vs having the peening marks left in it..  

I'm not sure how it will play out with the pulling of the metal..  

here is a picture of the examples I shown in the other thread..  It is easy to see my stroke and anvil strike is not flat.. It's also easy to see where the round flat face steel moves the metal to the sides when used on edge..  

In these examples you can see where the smearing of the metal at the shoulder takes place.. You can also see where the metal that is usually placed back into the piece as in example 1 of just hitting it flat as each method is directional the shoulder and wider material starts to disappear.. The worked area also gets longer as this material is pulled away from the bar.. 

The second to the last picture was done only with the side face of the hammer and pulled away from the shoulder done completely on the flat of the anvil.. 

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So here is the video from the examples of pictures above..  

Keep in mind,   It is not about moving metal quickly though extraneous output.. It's about moving it effectively...  The way the metal moves can be made quicker if the metal moves in the direction we want it to vs where it wants to..   

There is little information in this video as to what is happening to the metal.. 

But with that said I did highlight the much smaller shoulder area vs flat forged only..  With the more efficient methods there is a much small shoulder..   What this means is there is less need for corrections with the hammer to keep the forging moving forwards..  The less corrections one needs to do, the faster the metal moves only where we want it to.  This efficiency, and effectiveness become key.. 

Please do ask questions as it will just be easier to fill in the blanks..   I left out 1 method which will get it's own video of a step down forging method.. it produces a very squared shoulder.. 

Also of note..  These examples show something else which I never noticed till now.. I'll give a hint.. It has to do with the anvil and shows in each sample..  :) 
 

 

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1 minute ago, 1forgeur said:

I give up. The shoulder?

You mean the answer to the question..  lol..  thats to funny..  i didnt realize that was  the question , or the pondering..

 

The anvil is to low.....  even with correction in the hammer swing its not enough to correct it 100%..  each sample is a little longer/wider on the weak side...  means the hammer strike is not flat to the anvil and is tilted with the heel of the hammer up slightly..

If i raise the anvil up about 1/2" -1" it should fix it..

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