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Can I Use a truck hitch as ball stake/ Planishing ball


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I want to make a few coffee scoops out of copper and I have an old truck hitch laying around can I adapt it to fit in hardy for making bowls or is the metal wrong for doing that.  I might in future use it for working hot steel as well. 

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Two possible problems, one much more serious than the other. First, if there's any kind of chrome plating on the ball, you do NOT want to grind or forge on it. Hexavalent chromium is really nasty stuff, and there's no easy way to remove it safely in a regular smithing shop.

However, if the ball is not plated (or if, as with one I have, all the plating has rusted away), then the second problem arises: most truck hitches have a flat spot on the top, with a ridge formed by the intersection of the flat and spherical surfaces. This is easy enough to deal with, as all you need to do is grind it smooth. 

All that said, you may find it easier to make spoons and such by sinking: hammering the center of a piece down into a hollow rather than trying to raise its edges on a ball. Lots of ways to do this, such as using a big ring bolt or a piece of heavy-walled pipe stood on end (with the ends ground smooth, of course), but the easiest way is a hollow carved into the end of a block of wood. The hot metal will actually help burn the proper shape into the wood as you work; just make sure you have good ventilation for the smoke.

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Completely rusted out kinda why I never use it since I don’t want it to rust weld to my hitch and then I have to break it free from my truck. Plus I have a better ball that actually fits my trailer.  Problem with dishing is you will have smoother outside and hammered inside I want to have a textured outside and smooth inside. 
 

I just came across a round metal ball that I forgot I had. I picked up because I thought it was interesting.  It’s about 4 inches across and I think it was a old shot put or a grinding ball in a machine might clean that up and weld a shank on it. But it is still a large form.  Need to figure out a smaller form.  

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No problem using it as a stake tool. Also, you can hammer it into say a piece of 1/2"x2"x2" or whatever you have to make out of metal what JHCC is pointing out in wood. I use an old aspen round for this. forging into end grain works best.

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1 hour ago, Duckkisser said:

Problem with dishing is you will have smoother outside and hammered inside

I dish all my yarn bowls, and they are equally smooth inside and out. It's all a matter of hammer control.

1 hour ago, Duckkisser said:

I want to have a textured outside and smooth inside. 

Regardless of what method you use to make the bowl, you can always add texture after shaping -- for example, by using a ball peen on the outside while supporting the bowl on a ball stake. I've been adding some chased decoration to some of my recent bowls that way.

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You may want to look up planishing and how to make a dishing hammer that doesn't leave gouges in your work.  Dome headed RR bolts work nicely for dishing hammers or you can grind garage sale ballpeens to a smooth curved surface opposite the peen end, (peens are too "sharp" and leave dents.)

Every once in a while I find an old hitch that is spherical and doesn't have the flat; they all seem to be un-chromed too!  I  try to snag them for SCA armouring if they are cheap.  (An old SCA armourer's trick is to cut the flat topped balls off their stem, leaving a bit of stem on the ball, flip them upside down and weld the flat to the stem and then grind the new top nice and spherical.)

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If there's a concrete batch plant near you see if you can talk them out of a mill ball. If you make the foreman or receptionist something nice you might get a new one. Then range from about 1" - 3" depending on the plant, I've only lucked into a few worn 1 3/4" ones on their way to the scrapper when I was picking up a sack of fire clay. 

When I had more money than sense I bought a couple headache balls intending to make a ball stake and a mushroom stake but never got into doing much sheet work so never made the stakes. Headache balls are the balls above the hook on crane cables. I was never sure if the name derives from walking into them or preventing the headaches caused when a cable rat's nests.

Frosty The Lucky.

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14 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

(An old SCA armourer's trick is to cut the flat topped balls off their stem, leaving a bit of stem on the ball, flip them upside down and weld the flat to the stem and then grind the new top nice and spherical.)

Ooh, that's a good one.

12 hours ago, Frosty said:

I was never sure if the name derives from walking into them

Based on my own experience of workplace accidents (as both observer and participant), this would be my guess.

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That seems most logical to me too but have you ever tried to operate a crane / cable hoist with no weight on the hook? It's nothing but a headache from drum to hook, I duct taped a sledgehammer head above the hook the couple times I tried. Ordered and installed a 30lb. headache ball before I used that . . . thing again. Happily Arctic Wire Rope has a retail outlet in darned near every port and decent sized city in Alaska. Headache balls are off the shelf or over night order. 

If I had to put money on it I'd say it's a combination of the two they both apply so well.

Frosty The Lucky.

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