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Cracked 1045 hammer after hardening, weldable?


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First hammer head, didn't turn out too bad. I hardened it, and like an impatient boy, I bounced it, lightly, on the anvil a couple times. I have 2 cracks now. They run from the cheeks to the face. I just tempered it, cause who cares at this point. But is it weldable? I have mig and arc, would I have to grind a groove in the cracks? xxxxxxxxx Would I need to anneal first then reharden and temper? 20210711_212547.thumb.jpg.d708ea61ce50b1c6aa27994f268df715.jpg

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Oof.. I'm sorry to break it to you, but I would scrap it and start over. You could probably weld the cracks you can see, but if you don't fill them completely or if there are any other cracks you don't see and a piece flies off you might have an even bigger problem on your hands.

If you're going to try to weld it --which I personally don't recommend-- anneal it, grind out the crack as much as possible, preheat, weld, post heat the weld area, normalize, harden, don't tap it on the anvil, and temper. 

That's a bummer man, minus the crack it turned out nice. Next one will be even better right?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys! I appreciate the knowledge and experience that I expected to get. I'm saddened that I made such a bone head move. I will retire it, but I'm going to fit a handle for show. I'm already slowly starting my next 2#er, and will be much smarter. 

Also, I ended up tempering in the gas oven 400° for 2 hours, till I got a nice brown/purple. But all I seem to see online is to temper with a hot drift. Is that the best way? I'm not spending big $ on a temper oven, I'm doing this for my own tools, not to sell. 

Quickly, since you asked, I'm a 37 yr old horseshoer from Illinois. I've made a few hoof knives, this hammer, and random little things. Along with handmade show shoes 3/8x1, 1/2x1 1/4......

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It's best to put your location in your profile settings, as none of us will remember from one discussion to the next.

Tempering in the oven is perfectly fine. In theory, tempering with a hot drift will give you a graduated temper, with hard faces and a slightly softer body. Whether or not this is actually an advantage is hotly debated.

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For hard use tools a graduated temper can help prevent chip and crack propagation as you can have the "inner sections" softer but still have the outer ones hard to resist wear.  Most folks don't worry about it so much anymore as it's easy and relatively cheap to replace tools these days.

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When you do a differential temper, or temper by the reserve method, You can get that brown/purple about half inch or so on the face. the rest will be a graduated blue or darker twards the eye. Then quench. This gives a tough hammer face and a softer, but not soft, core. Its pretty forgiving as well when tempering. It aint rocket science. With a little experience, you can control the movement of the colors and maintain a constant temp from side to side/cross section. This means the color you see on the sides will be the same through your hammer.

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