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I Forge Iron

I’ve been asked to make a hammer.


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I was asked to make a hammer for a raffle, a fund raiser. I thought about it for a minute and said I would. I went home and decided what style I would attempt. I was thinking about a 2 1/2 pound cross peen. The “German” pattern shown further down this Hand Hammer topic looks like a very nice hammer. JLP’s wrought iron steel faced hammer is very interesting. I sawed up some wrought iron from an old bridge. I cleaned off the old paint, tacked them together, and welded on a handle. I put three of them together. I figured out of three attempts I could get a couple of hammers made. We’ll see how it goes.






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I welded one at Kurt Fehrenbach’s Thursday night. I heated it in the coal forge, then he hit it with the 250 lb. Little Giant. He squeezed it a little skinnier than I wanted. I welded the other two in the front yard, with my coal forge and I smacked them with a 6 lb. sledgehammer, one handed. I then went ahead and punched a hole in each one, using a handled punch and the same 6 lb’er. I know, “picture’s or it didn’t happen”. Here you go. 



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I had access to a gas forge and a very nice 50 lb. tire hammer Monday after work. I drifted two of the punched holes up to size. I then squeezed the cross peen taper on both of those. The shorter one is turning out more like the picture in my mind. 



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Good Morning Duck,

From here, it looks like big fish-mouth cracks in your pien. If you don't have a Press or a Big Hammer, you are better off using a saw to cut your bevels. You will now have to use a saw to cut the cracks out of the end. Tire Hammer doesn't have much Oomph to force the effort to the center of your material.

Good Luck.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I slightly mis stacked the triple stacks on purpose. The center layer was shifted forward 1/16” for the face end. That left the back end pre destined to fish mouth. I tapered the cross peen and noticed how the metal moved. The center layer stayed still and the outer two layers elongated and wrapped, leaving some cracks, as seen in the picture. I always intended to forge weld in, or on, spring steel faces. I center punched and drilled a 1/4” hole near the end of the middle layer, crosswise, right through the cracks. I used a thin wheel on my 4 1/2”” grinder and v shaped the end. I hammered some coil spring into a full width v shape. I did the welding of the coil spring into the cross peen of the first hammer at home in the front yard. I spent this morning at Kurt’s in Atlanta, since it was inside a building. I finished punching the hammer handle hole in the third hammer. I also tapered the cross peen on it. I drilled the 1/4” hole through two hammers vee’d them and welded in the coil spring. I sorta cleaned them up a little with some coarse grit on a belt sander. Here’s some pictures, I was having fun, learning, and stretching my abilities some. Working there is great, Kurt had whatever tools I didn’t bring, and whatever knowledge I didn’t bring.







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I welded on the first of the spring steel faces! It went really well. In retrospect, if I made another group of hammers, I would consider welding the spring steel faces before the steel in the cross peen. It was hard to get the wrought iron up to a higher temperature than the small piece of spring. I just took my time and heated it sideways, kinda. Pretty happy. I hope the other two go as well. I would be thrilled. Filing, etching, and handling left to go. I’ll have to figure out or pay attention and resize my too large pictures. I’ll learn, I promise.



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Next time around I recommend this sequence (works best in a coal forge where you can concentrate heat in the areas being worked on at the time):

  1. Weld/consolidate the wrought iron to your maximum hammer dimensions with a square crossection to the billet.
  2. Weld on HC hammer face
  3. Taper and form peen side to accept bit
  4. Weld on HC hammer peen
  5. Punch eye (less chance of splitting wrought billet if HC faces welded on in advance)
  6. Forge hammer to shape

You will love your wrought/HC hammers.  There is something subtly different in how they work (sound of hitting stock if nothing else) that seems unique to this type of hammer.  I need to make more of them.

On 3/9/2020 at 9:37 PM, duckcreekforge said:

He squeezed it a little skinnier than I wanted

Next time this happens I recommend cutting the billet of the stick and upsetting it in the power hammer to the size you want.  I'm sure you know already, but  if wrought iron keep it at close to welding temperatures while upsetting or it may split badly.

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Latticino, it looks like sound advice. I was warned to expect some splitting or a little tearing with the wrought iron. I guess I was lucky to have almost none. I put punching the handle hole earlier in the sequence, because I have not always been good at that. With it earlier in the sequence, I could abandon the piece without so much labor invested. Ok, now I have cut them loose from their metal handles. I have two faces to weld on. The first forge welded face was a new lawnmower blade that was .203 thick. I needed the weight, so I found a heavier, .250 thick, blade to cut the next two faces from. Handles; I obtained a piece of quilted maple from a blacksmith meeting in the “”iron in the hat”. I suppose I will make the handle for the fund raising hammer from that. My two hammers, of the three, will get a standard handle. Unfortunately I only have one piece of the quilted maple. I could buy something fancy from the woodworking supply. We’ll see what happens.


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Dave, that’d be a lot of work to give away a second 5 piece hammerhead and handle. The first one is for Ted and the Rocky Forge group. He asked, I said I would. That’s where we are. You can look, but I don’t think you’ll find one in the iron in the hat. No, I didn’t get any hickory pieces that I remember. Here’s what the other Dave’s quilted maple firewood looks like ripped almost to size. 


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I was able to weld on the last two faces. I straightened the skinny one, hardened, and tempered it. I still have to harden and temper the last two. I ground the corner reliefs on and generally shined them up. The quilted maple handle had nearly too many beetle holes in it to use. They may all end up with regular handles.




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I think so, also another thing I’ve never done before. Can you suggest an acid for a beginner. All I’m familiar with is muriatic acid. It crosses my mind that there is probably information in one of these forums that I could easily look up. I also thought about cold gun bluing one or two of them. It’s been good to stretch my abilities a little. I should do some file work on them before etching.

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When I made my wrought hammer, I just etched it in vinegar for a couple hours and that turned out pretty nice. It was pretty course wrought iron, so it didn’t take much.

They look great!


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Muriatic acid is fine; but if it's strong it won't take long just to show the structure---like dipping.  Weaker tends to be better to produce topography.

I've etched pattern welded blades in hot vinegar and salt before or I have even soaked them in extremely strong cheap black tea.  These work best when the surface is smooth as you mainly get colour differences.  Hmm anybody do a strong coffee patination on WI before?

And just like blades: absolute cleanliness before, through rinse and neutralization after followed by IMMEDIATE oiling/waxing/BLO/ to prevent flash rusting.

Also DON'T do it in the shop as the fumes will rust anything around it!

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