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I Forge Iron

What sized fly press should I get

Joe Henry

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I'm looking at fly presses but I don't know what size to get. I'm looking at the ones from Old World Anvils/Pieh Tool. Mostly I'm trying to decide between the #5 or the number #6. I have never used a fly press before so I don't really know what they're capable of, and I cant find any information comparing the size of the machine with the amount of work it can do. I Know the #5 and #6 are supposed to roughly correspond with the tons of force it can exert but I have no idea what that translates to in metal moving abilities. Would a #5 pretty much do everything a #6 can do just with a few more swings? I would love to be able to punch hammer eyes with it. That would probably be about the heaviest work I would do with it. If anybody has any insight on this stuff it would be very helpful. Even if you could just give me an example of what your machine is capable of, it might be helpful. Thanks.:D

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Welcome aboard Joe, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the heater you might live within visiting distance of a member who owns a fly press and is willing to let you try it out.

They've been talked about frequently here have you looked around? Try searching with your favorite engine and include Iforgeiron in the terms. I don't own one and have only used one a couple times, I'd love one but probably not a good move at this point.

 Frosty The Lucky.

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Greetings Henry, 

        I have had a OWA number 6 for years and have never regretted my purchase. Check out all the specs. Travel etc. Hammer die punching takes a lot of pressure and control. 

Forge on and make beautiful things 


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20 hours ago, Joe Henry said:

Would a #5 pretty much do everything a #6 can do just with a few more swings?

Hello, Joe.  I have a #5, which I bought in 2018 from Pieh Tool. I believe that it will take more than just "a few more swings", to make a #5 work like a #6. In the first video that Mr. Russell put up, the fellow in the plaid shirt says that it is a #6, and I can see that it appears to have more punch than my #5. 

Mind you, I have yet to do hot work on my press, but I am constantly using it.  So far the table has only been 14" off the ground, and I am now building a base for the sake of my poor arthritic knees.

I would research fly press hammer eyes, to verify the application, and I would definitely go for a #6.

Search here:

site:iforgeiron.com fly press hammer eye

Here is my continuing fly press adventure:

Robert Taylor

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Thank you all for your help so far

I'm leaning toward the #5 right now because its less than 2/3 the price of the #6.

Would the #5 at least do significantly more work than a 4lb hammer at the anvil?

99% of the work I think I will do with it will be pretty light stuff. like forging 3/8" tenons, fullering, butchering, punching through 1/2" bar, chiseling lines, and splitting 1/2" bars.

I'm not going to be selling hammers so it doesn't need to be super efficient at Punching eyes, but it would be nice if it had that capability, and could do it with more ease than I can do it at the anvil. I would only make a hammer once in a while just for myself.

Here is some more good videos I found for anyone else interested in this topic

These are videos of a 5 ton press at work

In this one he forges a small hammer, but it doesn't show him punching the eye so maybe he did that part at the anvil.


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  • 3 months later...

A 5 would replace a striker if you ever use one.

It also will hit silent if that matters. There is no noise from a fly press.

The real deal though, if you are willing to make tools is some very accurate work, with ease.

One example is I made a grill with half inch square bar passing through half inch square bar, both on the diagonal. I had to upset each female intersection to make it look right. Tough to do on an anvil.

Doing hot work greatly increases a fly press capacity.

I did a lot of work on a #1 before I found a 5 for sale.

Now I just use the #1 for small punches in bronze or other soft metals. It was a jewelry tool originally. 

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A cautionary note for new folks: please remember that size NUMBERS are manufacturer specific; My #2 Hopkins screwpress stands 7' tall with a toroid that weighs several hundred pounds. So be aware that when folks start comparing things by number they have to be speaking about the same manufacturer's product.

Here's a picture of a Hopkins #3



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  • 1 month later...

The guy at old world anvils really knows his stuff. He has experience using all the sizes he sells. I sent him an email, and he was able to answer my question pretty good. This was his response.


We normally use a #5 here in our shop and we use it almost every day so we have a lot of practical experience with fly presses.
 We do change sizes as we sell out of different presses so we have used them all and I have found that the 4, 5 and 6 are the most versatile and I personally would pick a 4 or 5 over a 6.
 The 6 will give you more power when you need it but I have found that for 99% of the time the added weight of that bigger flywheel is like using a heavier hammer than you need and will tire you out quicker.
 If you are a larger stronger person this may not be an issue for you.
As for slitting and drifting the occasional hammer eye just about any of the presses from 2 on up will work if you get it hot but it may take a couple of heats until you get  tricks figured out like anything.
I decided to go with the #5 and I'm happy I did. I have since built a stand for it and used it a little. It's not overly cumbersome, which I think allows you to hit faster when doing light work. But yet it's heavy enough that you can really move some metal when you want to. After using it, and making a few different tools for it, I actually think punching a hammer eye would be one of the easier jobs for a flypress because the force is so concentrated on that one small spot. I think if you just design your tools properly, and make them concentrate the force enough, you can eventually do about anything that you want done on any sized press.
My flypress and stand :D-->IMG_2545.thumb.JPG.250b579d02f7bdc1f14603be105d3863.JPG
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Joe: Did you buy your fly press long enough ago to deal with Bob or the fellow who bought his operation? Deb and I visited him in the late 90s and she wouldn't let me buy a Nazel 1, said it wouldn't fit in the trunk of the rental.  A fly press either. 

The Postville Blacksmith Shop was like a super fix for a tool junky.

Frosty The Lucky.

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