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I Forge Iron

Any Use For An 8lbs Sledge?


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Yes.  I know some smiths who use that size as their hand hammer. I know smiths who use that size with a striker. I know folks who modify them into other styles and weights of hammers. I know smiths who forge them into stake anvils and smiths who use them as a light travel anvil. Finally I know folks who use them as a door stop for their smithy door.  Question is too broad.

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I'm considering using it as a hand hammer but I'm not sure if it's suitable (mostly due to weight).

I'll be working on Damascus steel (forge welding). 

Is it a good idea to grind the head into this sort of shape? I think I'd like to bring it down to 5-6 lbs.

IMG_3714.JPG

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That's a pretty heavy hammer for forge welding... 2#s is more than sufficient. Light fast strikes make better welds than heavy ones generally speaking. Too heavy of a hammer and you lose accuracy and are more likely not to hit straight down (pressing the to faces together), and instead slide the faces across each other. Could you grind a couple pounds off it? Sure, but I'd rather have the sledge laying around in case I needed it and pick up a lighter hammer for general forging. It doesn't have to look like a "blacksmith hammer" to hit hot steel. 

I seldom even use my 4# hammer for forging as my arm gets tired. But then again I'm no Hercules ...

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I'd be worried about how much the doming was affecting the pattern too---unless that is wanted. Also not having a substantial terminal bulb on the hammer handle is a minus to me.  Particularly with a heavier hammer as you stress your arm more trying to control it in use.

I too like to weld with a lighter hammer; however after the welds are done, a heavy hammer for drawing out can help.

One important thing is that here in the USA you can sometimes BUY a powerhammer cheaper than pay for repairs to your arms from over stressing them.  If you are not a common user of that weight hammer already I would not use it for pattern welding.

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I cut cut one up and made a flatter:

591F2E3E-EE55-4627-B3B5-B59BA3D0793C.jpeg.4c9e7636bdef756c46549e0b3def530b.jpeg

A half-round swage:

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And an anvil block:

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The last two have stems welded on to fit the hardy hole.

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thanks for the tips. I should have mentioned in the original post I have a 2-3lbs hammer head to work with as well as the 8lbs. 

 I won't be forging for more than a few hours per day. most of my time will probably be grinding and shaping bevels of blades, handles etc.

really cool JHCC great ideas.

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  • 1 month later...

Decided to make the 8lbs head into a mini 2h sledge with a stained custom handle, and then put a very basic handle on the 2.5lbs head.

They're both the same wood for the handle but I'm not sure what it is. It's very dense and seems resinous. The wood was original used as shutters on a house.

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Did you test a piece to see how tough it was?  I like the terminal bulb on the bigger handle.  May need a bit of rounding; but *I* like a "positive stop" on a handle.

Unfortunately the properties I would chose wood for a shutter don't overlap the properties I would choose for a hammer handle. However strange choices do get made when being done individually vs commercially. (I've run across a bunch of Depression Era Farm implement repairs that seem to have been done with "whatever was to hand" vs the alloy best suited to the job.)

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I tested the handle material. It's extremely hard and dense wood - it holds up well to chiseling (clean small chips come off), it takes forever to file down and sand (even with a rasp), and if I take a very deep gouge out of the wood it will finally start to splinter, if I smash the wood against something it barely dents. I should have spent some time to ID the type of wood first, hopefully it turns out ok! I'm a bit worried about it snapping at the thin point where the hammer head connects.

 

 

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