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I Forge Iron

Thoughts on two power hammers?

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I've been wondering for a year about two hammers. I don't have a large enough shop to put them in at the moment so I'm not meaning to buy them right now. But if I had, I might! These are the hammers.

Massey utility power hammer. 110 kg/242 lbs ram. he's asking 3000€.
He said it needs 2 cubic meters of air/minute which is 70 cubic feet/minute. If it's anything similar in size to Essential Craftsman's hammer it needs 90 cfm.
3000 kg machine, of which is 1500 kg the anvil and 110 kg the ram.

Stanko MA4129A 80 kg/176 lbs. 2500€. I think it weighs about 3300 kg.

The question I've been wondering about is how do I compare these hammers? One is bigger, and a utility hammer, the other one is self-contained. Michael Dillon has shown that utility hammers can be just as good as self-contained. The old russian Stanko hammers I heard are based off of German Bêché hammers so they might be quality work horses. Watching instagram and how many people have utility hammers they don't seem too bad either. (why would they be?). So how do I compare these hammers? Thanks!

Jakob Staffans,
Vasa, Finland.

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Do you have a large air compressor handy to run the Massey? It would be a good idea to install a surge tank near the hammer to.

Does it have a treadle? If not its a two man operation.

Prepared to form and pour a 2 part foundation?

Any plans in the future to forge larger stock and put that extra 75 pounds of ram to good use?

The smaller self contained would need anchored to a slab, wired into a panel and your forging in no time. That would be my choice.

I think the reason you are seeing larger utility hammers in use now days including Mr Dillions is cost. They require lots of work to setup, power and modifications of mechanism to operate well. Because of these obstacles they can be found much cheaper than a self-contained and some are willing to accept the hassles stated above to get into the forging game on a smaller budget. 


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marcusb, congrats on your own hammer, I saw it in another thread.

I don't have a large air compressor and neither a surge tank. It would drive up the cost a lot, that's true. I would estimate the price to be 3000 for the hammer, 500€ transport (it's in Finland), 1000€ for an air compressor, 1000€ for a 2000 L surge tank, 800€ for the concrete, that's 6300€.

The treadle seems to be missing but I think that'd be the least of any worries. From the pictures it seems it has a pedal, connected to an additional air cylinder which operates the directional valve. It could most likely be replaced by a treadle. That is some work of course, probably nothing compared to the move and concrete foundation.

The self-contained hammer then, 2500€, 700€ transport, 800€ concrete, that's 4000€.

With any hammer, there's a lot of work involved. And the cost is probably not the biggest concern either, compared to being satisfied with the purchase afterwards. A bigger hammer is always better... I have dreams of doing large sculptural work and even industrial forging or similar.

Is there any benefit to self-contained hammers operation-wise? Say you have a utility hammer installed, modified and operates well. Is one or the other more reliable, or easily maintained or repaired? How about long running times?

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I asked an experienced blacksmith with a utility hammer and he said he bought his hammers based on price and proximity. Essentially he said not to make things too complicated or too expensive, and simply buy the cheapest, closest and easiest setup hammers and get to work to make money to buy more hammers.... That's very reasonable and sound advice. It's easy to get carried away.

He didn't comment on the differences in operation between utility hammers and self-contained ones, which is still a very interesting question. I'll provide some links here for comparison.

Grant Sarver's 700 pound Bell hammer. Obviously he has finetuned this hammer very well, which is hard to do. But look at the control he got.

Russian airhammer, M4129. Without the "a" on the end it should be a 75 kg model.

Here's some industrial forging with a bigger russian self-contained hammer. Maybe it can shed some light to the usefulness of self-contained hammers.


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I truly doubt you can get a 90 cubic foot per minute air compressor for 1000 pounds. More like 3-4 times that.

Other thoughts, 

You can still get parts for a Massey.

You likely can't even get a new o ring for the Russian hammer. 

In my humble opinion neither is suitable. 

Of course I am biased towards mechanical hammers.

The self-contained would be better if only it were not made in Russia, but the Massey is a better made hammer.

Clear as mud?

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