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Old 01-17-2019, 10:50 PM
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Default Power hammer questions

First the backstory:


A few years before I started college I built myself a simple but crude forge. Used a disk brake for the pot and some square tubing for legs. If I remember right I also added a squirrel cage blower that I controlled the speed of with a light dimmer switch. I heated and beat and banged and twisted various pieces of scrap metal. Never really made anything just messed around. When I moved out the forge got scrapped. Haven't done any blacksmithing since then.

I came across a guy on YouTube "Essential Craftsman" he has a 200 lb Chambersburg power hammer.

Questions
What is a hammer that size worth used?

What would be a good size to start out with?

Any special requirements for the floor under the hammer? Let's assume I don't go over a 200 lb hammer.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OldRedFord View Post
First the backstory:


A few years before I started college I built myself a simple but crude forge. Used a disk brake for the pot and some square tubing for legs. If I remember right I also added a squirrel cage blower that I controlled the speed of with a light dimmer switch. I heated and beat and banged and twisted various pieces of scrap metal. Never really made anything just messed around. When I moved out the forge got scrapped. Haven't done any blacksmithing since then.

I came across a guy on YouTube "Essential Craftsman" he has a 200 lb Chambersburg power hammer.

Questions
What is a hammer that size worth used?

What would be a good size to start out with?

Any special requirements for the floor under the hammer? Let's assume I don't go over a 200 lb hammer.
You could look up power hammers builds on youtube and find all sorts of cool builds and build one your self out of scrap stuff... In my opinion unless your going all out in to blacksmithing a commercially mfg. 200 pounder is a bit overkill i'd say a 50 to 100 pounder is good enough for general blacksmithing
but others my disagree as it depends on what they consider general
Blk smithing.... but you need to ask your self what do you really need and to what extent are you planning on taking it to... DIY, home shop or extreme level....
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:58 PM
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For me a 50# hammer would be big enough. Some things are bigger is better, some things no.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
For me a 50# hammer would be big enough. Some things are bigger is better, some things no.
I've never had a power hammer but I've seen a few in action. For "backyard" use a 50 lb. hammer packs a pretty good whallop...
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:04 AM
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A 200# hammer is just too big for normal use, unless you are planning on forging anvils.
25#-50# is prefect fo most smithing.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:14 AM
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I am not an expert but for those who don't know anything about power hammers at all, when a power hammer is rated at 200 lbs that means the striking head weighs 200 lbs. Its like being able to swing a 200 lb hammer at 40 swings per minute....

A 200 lb hammer is going to require a very serious footing under it, both for the shear weight and the huge amount of vibration.

Any power hammer is pretty much a production tool. If you don't plan to do larger forgings like hammer heads, or damascus billets you won't have a lot of use for it. A 200lb hammer would really be oversized for most jobs, putting small stock in would get you a pancake on the first hit. If you look at the newer production air and mechanical hammers they make a lot more in the 25, 50 and 100lb sizes and there is a reason for that.

Personally, I think a hydraulic press would be more useful. The tooling is easier to make and the learning curve is a lot smaller. They also don't require an extra load of concrete and a trailer full of rebar.

If you've never seen a press in action, look up hoffman blacksmithing on youtube, he makes axes and has a bunch of specialty dies and stuff set up. Its pretty slick.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:30 PM
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I have a 25 Lb hammer and honestly it's really too big for the little nik knack stuff I usually do. I usually don't use it until the stock is over 1/2 inch thick or I'm drawing out plow shares.
My advise is to learn the basics, don't go out and try a knife or a sword right away most will fail and lose interest. I've been working at my anvil in my spare time for better than 10 years and still don't feel I could do justice to blade smithing. For me it's the more I learn the more I know I don't know.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:38 PM
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All I can add is don't let your thumb get in the way
or the stars will get in your eyes

Like all tools bigger is always better as long as you have the space and can afford the operating costs.
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:14 PM
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Those homemade power hammers that use a compact spare tire look pretty slick. Didn't TnMike build one?

Yes, a 50 pounder:

https://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums...ad.php?t=21099

I thought some of you might be interested in a power hammer I built last year. We had a workshop at a local community college and built 14 hammers in three days. I was the project coordinator and my job was to order/stage material and cut most of the steel before the build. I also did some subassembly work as well. I spent hours and hours on a big DO ALL bandsaw getting ready for this. If you are interested plans for this hammer can be ordered from Clay Spencer in Alabama. (clay@tirehammer.com)
Ive also attached a link to other junkyard type hammers. This was a really time consuming project for me but the end result was very satisfying. The college got a free hammer for hosting the build and it has been under almost constant use. It has performed beyond expectations. It has a 50 lb hammer and will hit up to 240 times a minute which is user controllable. If someone wanted to take their time and scrap one out I believe one could be made very cheaply.( $500 )
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:13 PM
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One more thing most people don't think about, from the reading I have done on this. You aren't just dealing with a heavy weight, and some vibration from the head hitting the anvil. You are also dealing with the inertia of the head lifting. You have 200 lbs swinging upwards with nearly the same speed it comes down. When it hits the top of the stroke and has to change direction its going to put a tremendous lifting force on the base of the hammer.

The directions that come with a little giant tell you isolate the hammer from the rest of the slab. You cut a hole in the floor and pour a large block of concrete under it, with an expansion joint all the way around it. They call this an inertia block, and even for a 25 lb hammer they recommend a big chunk of concrete.
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