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Kens Custom Hammer

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I am a newbie and have been looking at a hammer from Kens Custom Iron. He is only selling a 1.75 lb cross peen at this time. I was thinking a 2 lb might  be a nice weight. Does anyone have any experience with one of his hammers?

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Why that one?  If you want a hammer that costs over 100 USD, why not a Brian Brazeal style hammer from the Fiery Furnace Forge. I forget their names, but they are members here. 

As for me, I wasn’t sure if this would stick. I went the less expensive route. 

Left to right: 3lb Tractor Supply 19? USD, Irwin 2.5 lb from Lowe’s 20? USD, 48oz ball peen garage sale 50 cents, angle peen that I picked up for a quarter at a yard sale, another 3lb Tractor Supply cross peen 19? USD. The order of highest to lowest use flows left to right as well.

The garage and yard sale hammers were just rusty old heads.  The Irwin 2.5 lb cross peen had a composite handle that felt odd.   The Tractor Supply hammer handles were too thin  

A neighbor has a lot of Osage Orange on his place.  I got wood from one of the trees and cut the limbs to about 28 inch sections, split them, and put them up in a dry spot for a little over a year.

i am still trying to find what feels like an ideal shape and thickness for me.  At the moment I prefer the feel of the one second from the left  

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As someone starting out; why don't you go with a relatively inexpensive commercially available hammer until you learn what works best for you and then move up to a custom one that meets your criteria. I still have the hammer I started with, a fleamarket find for US$2; it's on it's third or fourth handle now of course it's been in use for 38 years now by me and whatever the original owner(s) put on it.

Note too that hammer "fads" are common in smithing---remember the swedish crosspeen craze?---after a while or when the next fad comes along the previous hammers can often be sourced used at a fraction of their original selling price. (My swedish cross peen was $20 as I recall.)

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If he wants a hammer from Kens shop, then sure, let him buy one. Their quick tongs are great, and the items are American made.

Comments look positive as well:

"Very good our students love them"

Checking the site, Looks like the 2lbs are in stock, and its all 15% off this weekend! I wonder if that includes their new power hammers.

I have been a customer of Kens shop, and the tongs have been great. I think we should support each others products as blacksmiths, where we can.

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I agree we should support other blacksmiths. If you're just starting out and have the disposable income to spend and can afford an expensive hammer to learn with, well to each their own. A lot of folks like the idea of blacksmithing until they find out it's actual hard work. 

Personally I didn't know if I was going to stay with it long enough to buy anything more expensive than a tractor supply cross pien and only bought a new hammer because for some unknown reason there were no hammers in the 2-3 pound range at the flea market or junk shops near me. It's warming up now so I expect to see some at yard sales soon. 

I wouldn't lay out the cash for an expensive hammer until I know I'm going to continue to blacksmith and it's not just a passing diversion. 

Taking all that in to consideration I'm broke and couldn't spend a hundred bucks on a hammer unless it's going to be making me money and at my present skill level it wouldn't.;-) 

So I say buy one if you can afford one and want one but don't think you need one or it's going to make a real difference in the beginning.

Worse thing that happens is you decide you don't want to blacksmith and someone gets to buy it from you at a discount.  Best thing is you have a nice hammer to use for many years. 

Pnut (Mike)

 

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There is no magic hammer. If there were magic a hammer, every blacksmith would have two of them.

As a beginner, get "a" 2 pound hammer and learn how to use it. Learn how to use both ends of the hammer. Go to the blacksmith meetings and ASK if you can use or try out different hammers. If you find a hammer you like, purchase one.  As your skill level and experience improves, and you feel you need another style or type hammer, then purchase that style or type hammer. Keep in mind that different hammer weights can make a big difference in the feel of a hammer.. 

If you give a blacksmith most any hammer, he has the experience to make it work. Give  beginner any hammer (high dollar or a low end hammer) and he can only produce to his level of skill and expertise.  

Adjusting the hammer handle to fit your hand makes the hammer more comfortable to use.  A good well balanced, well constructed hammer is a joy to use. 10 hours of hammering every day will prove that point.

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The closest thing I have to a magic hammer is a 21/4 pound cross peen that my grandfather gave me in 1957. That hammer served him as a blacksmith in the U.S. Army under Blackjack Pershing, chasing Pancho Villa all over the Mexican border. When the Army started to become mechanized they made him a mechanic. After his stint in the Army he went to work as a mechanic at a Pierce Arrow and Franklin dealership. That hammer is my go to hammer to this day and even though I had to replace the handle last year, I still feel a connection to my grandfather every time it moves metal on the anvil for me.

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I believe the biggest mistake folks just starting out using their newly found hammer, be it expensive or cheap, is to use the handle "as is". Very few will find that their hammer handle fits their hand properly or COMFORTABLY.  Those with small hands usually shave the handle diameter down a bit. I have known big handed folks wrap tape to increase the diameter to fit. Often the shape of the handle, be it oval, round or slab will determine the proper and/or comfort fit. Remember, the handle (if wooden) can easily be reshaped or replaced. If you like the hammer you can always fix the handle!

If you have a small grip + too large a handle you will be forcing it to get a good grip and soon tire and probably have poor hammer control. Folks with large hands seem to have less difficulty and can adjust more easily. As others have said, it's not the hammer that makes the smith.

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First hammer for forging was a $10.00 harbor freight 2.5 pound cross pein.   I have a couple other small hammers for when I don't need to wail on something, and just bought a Nordic Forge Rounding hammer, 2 pounder, and spend the morning hand filing and sanding it down to a near mirror finish to remove the bevels.  If I get enough (make enough as I get better) I will order a hand forged hammer, but I do agree with the experienced that, other than making sure you don't get too much hammer and find a handle that works are the biggest things.  

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