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I Forge Iron

Help with hammer eye drifting and punching

White Nomad

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So I recently got a new anvil. Nothing special, just a $80-90 10Kg anvil. I also bought myself some hexagonal high carbon steel with a diameter of around 3-4, maybe 5cm. 
I had no trouble punching the hole and widening it a bit, but my hardy hole is too small for me to effectively drift the eye to a good size. 

Has anyone made a specific punching and drifting anvil or jig that they use for punching eye holes, or know how I could  find a way to drift my eye?
Thanks for the help.

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50mm stock sounds like pretty big work on a 10kg anvil...

Punching a hole on the anvil should go fine. Your punch shouldn’t have to go all the way through, and the slug itself will protect the anvil’s face.
Drifting is another story. If you have good fitting tongs you can work on the edge of the anvil with the drift sitting against the side. (Better yet, if you stock it long enough, punch and drift before you cut it off. Much lower chance of flying glowing steel.) When I made my first axe, I used two 25x150x300mm plates bolted together with spacers. It wasn’t the best setup but it worked and was adjustable. You can also drift over the jaws of a post vise if you have access to one.

Take a look at JLP’s latest videos. She’s refines an axe eye with a mandrel without using a bolster. It may give you some ideas how to make it work.

I’m sure others will have more experienced advice.


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  • 1 month later...

I had the same problem once; then I made the "swage block" pictured below. Mostly use the slot for the hammer-eye drift.

It's 2 pieces of a 80 degrees bending block from a press, really pain in the... to drill, it's semi-hard, I estimate C50 steel. I drilled a 30mm and a 40 mm round hole in it; and milled the slot in one half; then welded the together (The welds go really deep, and I welded it hot...)

Made it in 2018, haven't had problems with it beside rusting :D


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I made a low stand for it from angle iron, so I can turn it over, because the 80 degree grooves in the bottom is sometimes handy for bending things. It's somewhat a hybrid between a bolster plate, swage block and striking anvil. It's not pretty, but it works just fine for my usecases.

If anyone lives near me, I still got a couple of chunks of that bar left. It used to be a massive bar for a heavy sheeth bender.

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