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I Forge Iron

In Search of Left Handed Angle Peen 2.5 Pound Hammer

Kexel Werkstatt

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Thank you for all your advice but I don't believe I ever said I was having any problems.  I just don't think your approach works for me, my setup, my body, my eyes, my arms, etc.  I have watched a ton of videos including those from Brian Brazeal, Mark Aspery (two different styles) and many others. I fully understand what you are saying, but even all of those gentlemen are standing at the anvil at an angle.  Only when punching, holding stock between their legs, etc are they standing at a zero degree angle.  

I have a ~150 pound Hay Budden traditional Blacksmith (London Pattern) anvil and my horn is on my hammer hand side because I do not mind the extra half step to use it, while keeping my hammer hand clear of my Hardy hole as I use it often for cut-off's, guilotining, etc.  

I totally respect your experience and truly appreciate your advice, but many folks have diagonal peen hammers for the very same reason I want one.  It isn't because I can't use a straight or cross peen, its because I can definitely see the advantage of its orientation when drawing out in my natural stance.  


I agree with you on shop layout and mine is very similar although my post vise is not in its ideal spot. Thats because I'm working with limited space in a garage where I have other work, storage and once in a while, an actual vehicle parked in it.  I can bring stock from my forge to the anvil in one step and a slight turn, but my vise is two steps away from my anvil. Not ideal but its what I have to work with.


Thanks again for all your input.

Ok here is a picture of my Blacksmithing area in my shop (garage)


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Thanks arkie, I've only had it setup for a few weeks and yes I am a serious stickler for cleaning up after every session.  I have a woodworking area in that same shop and am the same way with it. If I have 4 hours to work on any project, the first 15 minutes goes to setting everything up, I have 3.5 hours of work I can do and the last 15 minutes goes to clean-up.

With a Blacksmith and woodwork shop in the same space, it is incredibly important to not leave sawdust/steel dust/hot anything/tools/etc a mess... not only for general safety but also as a fire prevention measure.  I keep a Stihl leaf blower in the shop and take a few minutes every session to blow all the dust, scale, whatever right out the garage doors to keep things clean.

I am sure as time goes on, things will develop more of that caked-on stain though!

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I can relate to your situation.  When I visited a blacksmith friend for the first time in his shop, he was also an accomplished woodworker.  His smithty was in an area about 8'x8' in one corner of the shop; the rest was woodworking in an area about 12'x12'....but he had a LOT of wood chips, shavings and sawdust in that part...really made me nervous for him!  You are doing the right thing.  Shop safety is paramount, wood or steel.

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Nice shop. With a movable anvil and forge, its pretty easy to set it up as an equalateral triangle.

To be clear, im not responding to you because you are asking for this kind of basic help. Im doing This because you believe that as a lefty, a particular diagional peen will better suit your handedness. As a lefty, this is not true. It is in fact encouraging you and others to use tools as a solution indtesd of learning basic forging skills. To repeat, peen type tools are directional tools, not tools to help "lefties".

So, ill continue both for you and more important,to any new guys who might be in the same situation.

You listed two blacksmiths above. Mark Aspery is a superb smith. If you look at both, considering this thread, the first thing you should notice is that they both approach their anvil hammer to the heel. Its far easier to see this with Aspery. The second thing to notice is, especially wirh Aspery is they approch the anvil at 90^. 

Heres an experiment to try. Stand with your feet parallel. Now shake your shoulders, arms and hands. Stay relaxed. Now look at your hands.  If you draw a line thru where a hammer and tongs would go, you will notice they are at a natural angle somewhere around 45*. Follow these lines and see where they cross. About 18" out and centered on your body. Now face your anvil and compsre just where this point is if you face your anvil at a 90^ and when standing at your 45*. When facing at a 90*, it should cross over the sweet spot as i described above. Where do they cross at a 45*? Naturally somewhere close to the near edge if not partially or fully off the anvil. You can compensate by twisting your body,,, or quite simply just do it at a 90*. Does this mean we must forge this way? Absolutely not. However, more work is done here than most anyother place on your anvil. Brian had a vid that demos what I said above. When drawing out and using the near edge for a tenon or an offset, i stand parallel with my anvil. His vid shows why. 

Why is the sweet spot so important? For many reasons. Basically because its center mass and you have max room around this point to work your iron. Also for safety.

This brings me to hammer control, and actually this shows that a "lefty" peen is redundant. Your hammer should be used like a power hammer. It should go straight up and down and with practice, only strike the sweet spot. You then move your iron, not your hammer, to strike in different places. When you can do this without thought, you have just mastered "Hammer Control 101".

Safety. The unbreakable rule for hardy tool safety is when you are done with it, remove it from the hardy hole. In my shop you get one warning. The next time you get the door.  ;) Whats the backup to this rule? Well, if you strike the sweet spot as above, you are completely in a "safe zone" as far as hardy cuts.

Thus ends my first shop lesson in "the basics". This would take less than 30 minutes in person.

Enjoy. With 4 weeks experience, you are well on your way.



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Thanks Anvil.  It's a work in progress.

I'll give the adjusted stance a try and see how it works for me.

As far as the hammer goes, I've got it half-ground but will probably not be able to finish it today.  Even after grinding I have to dress it, etc.  Then I'll give it a spin and see if I should invest the time in a handle swap.





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