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Hammer technique - physiology ?


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I in the worst way wanted to latch onto the hofi method..    I watched the videos.. I even tried it with my normal hammers and as pointed out.. The Hofi hammer is different.. 

The measurements to be a Hofi hammer are actually pretty solid..  If the measurements are off.. It is not a Hofi hammer.. 

A number of smiths from the USA hooked up with Hofi to learn about the hammer and hammering style and they brought back this information and started to produce  "The Hofi" hammer in the USA..  Big Blu or the guy behind the scenes was one of these smiths..  At least this is the story I had heard..   

There are actually a few and there are cast steel ones as well as forged ones..  Hofi himself said he likes the cast ones better than the forged ones.. 

Anyhow..  Because of how I work at the anvil ( I work all over it) but mainly at a diagonal..  the face distance to the handle is short.. the hammers are short overall for the weight and the handles are also short. 

Since I had planned on going to the 2018 ABANA conference I new Blu would be there and they would have hammers for sale..  I bought a 2.5 Hofi and gave it a try..  In 30minutes of forging time. I had smacked my pinky on the anvil face 3 times..  My pinky was so raw..     the grip of the hammer has to change to account for the shorter face to handle distance..  and even with this grip strategy I was still smacking my the joint at the tip of my pinky.. 

I returned it.. I could just not adapt after all this time frame of 40 years of forging.  if I were sitting down I can see where it would come in..  

I have to have some distance between the hammer face and handle as I use the hammer at angle of handle up or down vs rotation of the face to create tapers..  I use both but when I want to use a hammer a particular way.. I don't stop to think about how to do it.. I just do it.. 

I could probably get away with a bladesmiths round anvil and the Hofi hammer. 

I am in no way trying to talk anybody out of the "Hofi" hammer..  Many have great results and no a guy who loves his and he does production smithing. 

Any photos? 

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The forged hammers might have been a different design vs cast..  

Hofi had said, that only the Hofi design is a Hofi hammer..    There were a bunch of guys who went and learned how to forge the Exact Hofi hammer.. I was not there but this was relayed threw a video or the like..     Hofi's hammers forged or cast are exactly the same..     if there is variation.. Than according to what I read, watched.. What ever they are not Hofi.. LOL.. 

The faces are rounded out..  The face stays square at the edges but the center of the face is completely rounded out.. Not as much as a rounding hammer but with a decent rocker. 

The guy from Blu was one of the people who took the hammer class and stayed there for a visit to learn other methods.. When Hofi came over he also stayed with the Blu guys and did a workshop at the shop..   

All of this information is 3rd hand..  I had seen the information, from blog, video or read it somewhere so accuracy might be off.. I keep hoping someone in the know but come along.. 

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Yup, I thought the same thing..   I must have really fat pinky because when i tilt the face of the hammer while still in line with the anvil and try to use the face heel. I hit my pinky every time.. 

I never said I could operate a Hofi hammer I said I tried to..  Again with my method of working at the anvil I don't discern a safe hammering area or not I just hammer..   Maybe it's part of getting old.. I don't know.  Or maybe I'm just making excuses but it didn't work for me and after the 3rd hit of the pinky, it was sore enough I didn't want to do it any longer..  LOL.. 

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You have got some serious grinding to do. It looks like you have a bit if a fish-mouth in the middle of the Pien end. Short and stocky is OK, just doesn't leave much room for fingers on the Handle. You will learn not to hold the handle close to the head. You will learn not to forge with your hand over the anvil, but to any side. Knowledge is a wonderful thing from the 'School of Hard Knocks'.

First Hammer is a great teacher. The Journey is beginning, enjoy the ride.



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  • 5 months later...

Back to hammering technique, I managed to do something pretty stupid the other day, (knowing better the whole time).

Driving 5 foot 2x4 stakes with my 8 pound.  (I guess you can see where this is going)   I was standing on the very hard ground, so the blows were landing just below chin height. needless to say I'll be off from swinging a hammer until my shoulder gets better.


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I tend to agree with Jennifer's issues with the Hofi style hammer.  For me, personally, the balance is off and the handle too short (I know,... that can be modified).  It's not a genuine Hofi hammer but it looks exactly like one; they were not available when I bought mine.  I purchased it from one of the better known blacksmith supply companies.  All I use it for now is the peen end which is nice, however.

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