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Greebe

Beam Hammer- Has anyone built one!

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Just curious if anyone has built a beam hammer like this one seen on youtube? Seems inexpensive, and like it might be an ok option. Obviously it would not do the work of a little giant or other power hammer, but it might be better then nothing without spending a bunch of money.

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If you will notice, there is only one position where the hammer and anvil contact squarely.  I don't think there is enough adjustability to gain much from using this hammer.  So this hammer has it's drawbacks.  Though, if you are just dying to have a power hammer, I guess this would be a place to start.  You sure don't "need" a power hammer of any sort.  Just watch Jennifer in some of her videos.  She makes hammer heads and all sort of things that many smiths think they couldn't do without a power hammer.

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Note---variations on this have been around for about 1000 years; generally under the term "helve hammer". (The earlier ones water powered gravity based hammers.)  I happen to have recently bought a Hawkeye Helve hammer ; you may want to search on that and see what was commercially available to smiths back when.

As noted: how do you adjust the wooden version for differing thickness work or use of top tools with the work?

For a really engineered version look up the Blacker Powerhammer that also allowed adjustment from side to side---while it was running!

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Thanks for the replies. I guess this hammer can be adjusted up and down to give more distance between the dies. However once it is adjusted higher, I am not sure that it would still work well as the stock gets thinner. I used to make loads of wrapped eye tomahawks and did it all by hand. A power hammer for that would have been great. I would like to start making hammers, and my body would not love doing all that by hand. Do I need a hammer? probably not, but if I want to step it up and do some production then it would be very helpful. I have a machine shop and that is where I make my money. I used to do blacksmithing on a small scale for income, but stopped for a long time after getting a bad injury. I would like to start doing it more though to fill in between jobs in the machine shop, and because quiet frankly I enjoy it more. I should have bought a little giant hammer back when they were more affordable, but now they demand a high price whenever they come up for sale. I have looked at the Anyang hammers, but unless you want to spend $8,000-$10,000, then that is not the best option either. The tire hammer is something I have considered and bought plans for years ago, but I have not taken the time to build one.

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I don't think that hammer is adjustable for height unless the pitman can be extended. A solid anvil would increase efficiency and I worry a bit about how off center forging will wear the helve's connection to the upright.

With a background in machining and access to machine tools you could probably easily make improvements to that design

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Look into making a tire hammer (google Clay Spencer Tire Hammer) rather than putting similar effort into a less efficient design.  There are hundreds if not thousands of tire hammers out there now, and are a proven design that you can purchase complete plans for.  Many ABANA affiliates even have group builds that you can buy into.  Probably a little more expensive than a thing made from wood, but far more economical in the long run.  

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Not a bad basic idea but a few. Refinements may be in order. Old trip hammers used interchangeable heads and anvil dies plus relitivly long beams. This would alow thicker and thinner stock plus drawing and forming dies

 

See the wedges? Those are interchangeable hammer dies. And judging from the condition of the wedges they changed them regularly.

 

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I have the Tire Hammer plans. That might be the route I go. Wondering if I should build a 50 ton hydraulic press first though. That could be used for punching the eyes in my axes and hammers, and for forging most of that work as well. Also it would be a more multipurpose tool and be useful in the machine shop side of things.

Going to order the "BUILD YOUR OWN HYDRAULIC FORGING PRESS" book which shows how to build the 24 ton version, and maybe that would be insightful enough to build the a 50 ton twin cylinder like below.

Gilmore-Presses-2-682x1024.jpg

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14 hours ago, Greebe said:

. I guess this hammer can be adjusted up and down to give more distance between the dies. However once it is adjusted higher, I am not sure that it would still work well as the stock gets thinner

Most of the footage I've seen of triphammers in action were set up to do a single operation for a production type run with usually multiple hammers near each other or after one operation is done on all the pieces of the run the wedges are removed and the dies changed for the next operation. A video of the last water operated triphammer in Ireland comes to mind for some reason. One hammer to punch eyes in a bunch of blanks and then to the next hammer or remove the wedges change dies and on to the next operation. They excel at doing the same thing over and over for production runs. 

Pnut

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Perhaps this as an artifact of a water powered hammer being an expensive item to build and maintain and so larger "factories" doing production runs were more likely to have them.  There is a book "The Mills of Medieval England" that goes into a lot of detail on how expensive maintenance was---especially down time and damage due to flooding could be.

Of course the small tub wheel mills mentioned in the Foxfire books could be easier to build and maintain for smaller jobs.

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Water powered tilt hammers have been around a LOT longer than metal forging, there are illustrations from pre copper China. I don't have a cite t hand but I THINK I have a book. . . Somewhere. They were used early on to crush clay, hammer pulp to make paper and wool to make felt. IIRC the thinking was water powered tilts were originally "invented" to lift water from rivers to farm fields. The earliest were Walking beams where a log was balance and villagers would walk back and forth on it to power it for whatever you need a LARGE hammer or dipper or . . . ?

Water power is a lot more practical for a line shop. A wheel is a large construction product, the more use you can get the better. I recall the Foxfire water wheels but not clearly it's been a couple few decades and I probably have the issue. Everybody bought the Foxfire books in the day you know, you just couldn't be cool if you didn't.

I dinked around with a small Pelton wheel built from a bicycle. I just made small buckets and spun the rear wheel backwards. The first one I made had a 3 speed tranny and I thought a 10 or 15 speed would be funner than skinning a live skunk.  Unless you have year around running water wind is more practical.

Frosty The Lucky.

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