Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Power hammer build and effect of a larger anvil mass


Recommended Posts

Hello all, I am in the process of building a beam style hammer designed by Roy Adams. Although mine will have a few modifications. One of which is an increased anvil size. I will be making the anvil by stacking bits of 1” plate together.  I have two options. I can make the anvil ~193 lbs and ~ 118 lbs. I was wondering how big of a difference it would make to use the larger one compared to the smaller? Ram will be about 40 pounds.
 

Here are some pictures of it so far. Most of it’s made but I’ve just now started assembling it. It has two adjustment points to raise and lower the hammer. 

1AC10CC6-1CFB-4F3A-8BAA-56C543BF8C71.jpeg

711BC82E-52EB-4853-A86E-9BA384C70E1D.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good on the orientation of the plates! There are some ancient threads on powerhammer anvil size with some data on efficiency from commercial manufacturers if you can excavate them.  In general larger is better but there does come a time of diminishing returns.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll give another attempt to dig the posts up. Had trouble earlier. I’m thinking I may as well just go for the bigger anvil. It won’t be double the work but it’s almost double the weight. And it’s a 40 lbs ram so the 200 lb anvil will bring me closer to the “golden ratio” of hammer to anvil mass 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anvil, hammer, and dies tomorrow. Tonight. I got a attachment for the top link on the spring. The bolt has a hole drilled and a grease fitting for easier maintenance. Also the rear adjustment is finished. 

EE9922DF-2B2E-4F5E-A655-0C9D2E01450F.jpeg

AEC2A1C6-F2CE-42F5-BAE8-5ECBFB88E700.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Thomas (as usual).  If you put this into operation as it is pictured it is very likely to break on the first of second blow.  The arm needs to be made out of something like ash or hickory or some other strong, springy, and knot free wood to take the impact and vibration set up by a helve hammer.   Unfortunately, I don't thing that there is much appropriate native wood available in ND where some of the most common species are various cottonwoods.  If you were further south osage orange would be a definite possibility.   I'd stay away from oak since while it is better than pine it is fairly brittle.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s Douglas fir. I know it’s not the best but it’s what I could get at the time I started. I had trouble sourcing 6x4 beams in a thing other than yellow pine or Douglas fir. If or when it breaks I will replace it with an ash beam. I have found a source recently. Ash is native here so that’s all I could find for a not outrageous price. Im thinking the frame should be fine being Douglas fir.
 

Not sure how well it would work but I could laminate I just about any wood that would work well. Unless that’s a horrible idea like I think it probably is. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also note that air dried tends to not be as brittle as kiln dried; but finding it or making it can take quite some time.  Osage orange would make a lovely helve!

Perhaps this build will spawn ideas on how to improve things for your next one.  BE SAFE!  Also have you used a power hammer before?  I've seen several designs done by folks who have not used one before and thought theirs was working well---until they experienced a commercial one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that’s good to hear. This is air not kiln dried lumber. I thought that might be bad. Ash is about the only wood that’s not oak that I could feasibly get a beam for here. Without breaking the bank. So I will likely switch to that sooner or later. 
 

on the next one I’m thinking something like the Hawkeye helve hammers or the little giant easy helve style mechanism would work well. We will see how this design works. 
 

I unfortunately have not. The nearest smiths I know of that have power hammers are several hours away in the twin cities and that area in Minnesota. My budget isn’t quite there for a professionally made/ factory made hammer yet. Hopefully this hammer will work well enough. For the price of a few hundred dollars. Assuming it works well enough I can use it to pay for a commercial one someday 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes money is a problem; my first triphammer was a 25# little giant that cost me US$75, 1982, needed work. My second was a no name fullering hammer that cost me $250, 1983, in working condition, my third as a #1 Champion (60#) that cost me $750  in working condition in the early 1990s and my most recent is a 25# LG that was free after I sold off all the other stuff that came in the hoard I bought last year---including a 50# LG and a hawkeye helve hammer, I sold both under going rate to friends.  Turns out the hoard was in our small town, about 10K people when the University is in session, and the hammers were located 2 blocks from where I work. (Of course the 25# LG was originally sold to a smith in Merino Colorado Dec 28 1915...)

TPAAAT can have surprising results!

If you are going to build one; I'd go with a tire hammer, well proven in plans and lots of expertise on it around these parts. 

I remember the old junkyard hammer challenges and the results they had.  I took a paid class in building an Appalachian hammer. I've used both modern and not so modern pneumatic hammers and so far most homebuilt don't compare.  I encourage you to prove me wrong with the one you are building.  Will you be using rail cap for the dies?

I'm hoping one of my friends will get the hawkeye helve restored as I think that with the proper dies it would be great for making SCA armour on it.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve had little luck so far but I continue to search for one locally. I could’ve and probably should’ve built a tire hammer but seeing as I’m this far already I may as well finish it. 
 

I’d love to try to prove a home built can be decent. We will have to see when it’s finished. 
 

No I am using bolt on dies. Using forklift tines. I’m not a fan of rail cap as dies 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You might check to see if you have some small local lumber mills. You never know what they might have on hand. (Let them know what you are looking for and why. Could work out in unexpected ways.)

I’m watching closely to see how this turns out!

David

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen a lot of good home built hammers; most all of them tire hammers!  Building a new design is not generally a success; especially if you are not aware of how the others work.

Fellow at SOFA once built a large helve hammer powdered by an old hay baler mechanism.  Very heavy head; but very slow as it was lifted by the hay baler ram and then gravity pulled to impact the anvil.  The Da Vinci cam hammer is also a slow gravity pulled hammer---a couple of springs can help it out so you can speed it up a bit; otherwise when you speed up it starts lifting before the die bottoms out.  Compared to a couple hundred beats a minute from a LG...

HMM if you have a way to adjust the helve and top die holder you could probably start out with green wood.  Have to watch out for twisting as it dries in place though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll have to look for some. I know there are some single man sawmills around. I’m sure I could get something from one of them. 
 

this is not my design. It is the beam hammer designed by Roy Adams at christ centered iron works. This hammer will hit around 250-300 bpm via a cam connect d directly to the spring. The leaf spring will serve to “whip” the hammer head. Not relying on gravity with this one. 
 

hopefully it turns out well and hits fairly hard. We will see. I will continue to post pictures and a video when it’s finished. Waiting on some pillow block bearings and a few other parts. It will be driven by a 2 hp motor 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you following his design exactly, identical materials and build?  I'm a big believer in "proven in designs".  Back in the old days they usually got around the gravity issue by making very heavy hammer heads, in the hundreds of pounds and not having the throw very long so the lifting cam could have multiple knobs on it.

As I recall "Ironworks on the Saugus" has pictures of some of their original hammer parts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost completely identical with slight modifications. The cam which I guess might be the wrong word will be made like an oversized ball bearing with an off center hole. To lift and drop it. Not like a Da Vinci cam hammer. So it’s not just gravity acting on the hammer 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Got the 1” ball bearings in today. Working on the plates that will be welded for the anvil. Cut the 1” plate into the correct width with a circular saw. Now cutting them to the correct length with my hacksaw 

A2AE9C8F-CA22-4C2A-B2C9-994A885D968F.jpeg

E442A757-4EBB-4F86-A623-EA15B18B256F.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...