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I thought it might be fun to ask folks how many hammers they have in their blacksmith shop. My last count was 37, all shapes,sizes and weights.

The last hammer I picked up was a ball pein that I traded for a computer monitor at a pawn shop here in butte. Am I crazy? The funny thing is I have three hammers I bought from centaur forge at $40.00 a piece that I dont even use.

My favorite hammer has chips on the edge and I dont think I paid more than$2.00 for it an antique store.

My most interesting hammer was given to me by my friend Julius. It has a stamp on it that says made in germany(but it's typed in english, go figure). My friend julius emigrated to america from hungary before WWII broke out and has worked as a blacksmith all his life. I am remember him telling me that his mother asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, blacksmith or mason?

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If I count correctly....1....2....3....I have 9 smithing hammers.The three I use most are a 2# cross pein a 1 1/2# Ball pein and a 2# rounding hammer I made from a Ball pein. Add 5 chisel and bull work hammers(one at each vise and 2 at the tool table) of various wieghts. I also have 3 different sledge hammers, totalling 17 used in the shop

I've only been smithing for a little over a year and I am sure they like all things multiply with time. I have a feeling hammers and tongs are two things you can never have to many of. :P


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1 three pound drilling hammer that I use for most things,
3 different sizes of ball piens,
1 fullering hammer,
4 different sizes of cross piens,
4 or so other misc. hammers.
13 or so hammers...7 anvils of various sizes and styles...and probably 8 to 10 various tongs...and a couple of drifts.

Not bad considering just over 18 months ago I was using 1 ball pien, 1 pair of tongs, and a RR track anvil.

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I read this thread on the way out to do the anual rehandling and tightening of the collection the count with "new" ones add to the collection today was 167 + 9 heads yet to be handeled. Some collect anvils some tongs but all blacksmiths seem to collect something (except for the "learning" pile):lol: what do you collect?


one half


with todays additions

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Point of order your worship. Do I detect a couple of non-hammers in Mark's pile. Notwithstanding it's a decent collection.

The last hammer I bought ($10) was a 20lb sledge taking the tally to about six hammers. I haven't put a handle on the sledge as it would only mean I'd have to swing it :cry: My son just laughed when I brought it home. "Don't even think about it" he said

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On point of order ..ok you got me :oops: there are some handled flaters,swages, and punches in that collection altough I will argue that they could in a broad sence be counted as hammers :P I did not count the handled hot and cold cuts in the total.. I'll do a recount with out the "contested" hammers...

defence rests :lol:

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as to "wooden handled tools" I had about 150 on the rack when I moved two years ago---most are hammers as I don't use swages or flatners too much, a half dozen or so are hot cuts. As I work everything from silver to pattern welded billets I have 4 oz ballpeins through a 17 pound crosspein.

This is not counting the bucket of ballpeins that are actually "scrap" for making hawks and punches from.

I like to have back-ups of my favorite tools in case wear or theft makes me need to move on.

My steel building has a crossbar about 5' off the ground that I can line the hammers up on with the end I use the most out so I can see which one I want.

80% of my work is done with only about 5 different hammers; but the weird ones sure come in usefull for odd tasks---like peening rivits deep inside a spangen helm...


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What is meant by "tuning a hammer"?

Well, tuning a hammer is just making it fit your hand and your needs. Kinda like gettin a new chair and makin it fit your fanny and your needs ( height/tilt etc ). I can elaborate in several ways but that is pretty much the way I would describe it.


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Steve gave you the short answer, I will give you a longer answer:-)

Modern store bought hammers are set for general work, and even some hammers specificly made for blacksmithing come plain, with a convex faces or a chamfered face. Depending on how you like to work and how much hammer control you have, and how high you have your anvil set to how high you are;-) there are a number of things you can do to adjust the hammer and tune it to how you like to work.

Set of the face...

This is important especially if your anvil is set a bit higher than it should be ergonomicly. many people like to set their anvils a bit high, so they don't curl over the anvil to see what they are working on. Some people are shorter than the guys who taught them to smith and got "used" to working on an anvil that was too high, but couldn't get used to one set at a proper lower height. Many people just want to be closer to their work, so they feel like they can see what they are doing. BUT if you do this, you will tend to hit on the heel of the hammer's face, to avoid leaving marks on your work you will naturally compensate by raising your shoulder and/or your elbow, and/or cocking your hand in a non nuetral position at the point of shock. This type of compensating is harder on your body, and will generally lead to problems (sooner rather than later in my experience...) If you have ever seen a cutlers hammer, or a old farriers clipping hammer that has seen years of use, the face will have a noticeable tilt toward the heel of the face. Bruce Wilcox pointed out in another thread that you can detemine the set you prefer for a hammer, by using the hammer in a normalized state, on only HOT steel. The hammer face will deform out of the way of where you hit the most. Use the hammer till it works well and has a good feel, then harden and temper it, and rehandle it.

Relatively Flat Face, or Rolled Face, or Convex Face.

The next issue on tuning a hammer is how to dress the face...
A relatively flat face, will not move metal as quickly as a rolled face, or even a convex face, but it will leave a smoother finish (once you have the hammer control:-) otherwise they can scar up your work, but will tend to deform the metal less than a more aggressive hammer.
A rolled face will tend to push the metal perpendicular to the axis of the roll, square and rectangular faced hammers tend to be better for rolled faces, they can be made to move material quite agresively, but to clean up hammer marks you will need to use a light hand and planish the high points.
A Convex hammer face will move the metal quickly, but not with as much directional control as rolled face hammer. A farrier's rounding hammer has a covex face, as well as some of the crosspeins that I have bought in the last few years, have this kind of face. These hammers have a small flat area in the middle of the face, and everything else is radiused, or chamfered.


Some like long skinny handles and lite fast heads on their hammers, somed like short thick handles, and heavy heads. No mater what length of handle I prefer to have my handles either a fatend oval or octagon. Personaly I don't like any finish on my hammer handles, other people swear by linseed oil.

You know when you have it right... I have felt hammers that were sweet, and worked really well others just never felt right. (I don't like the way most hammers feel) But when it is right...

Sorry if I rambled, I am dreadfully tired.... Will edit, and add more when I can...

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