Friday, August 26, 2016

More on Hammers

Note: This piece is an addition to the earlier posting about basic blacksmithing hammers - for the starting smith from earlier this week. This segment altered from an ongoing series of e-mails related to the Artist Blacksmith program at Haliburton / Sir Sandford Flemming College.

One thing to remember off the start.
The hammers I mentioned have weights marked on the heads themselves. I'm using the actual recorded weights on the tools. This is a bit of a mess, as older tools are marked in pounds plus fractions. Some descriptions are given as ounces. Most anything not made in the USA is actually marked as grams.

1 1/2 lb = 24 ounces ≠ 670 gms
≠ 1 3/4 lb = 28 ounces ≠ 800 gms
2 lb = 32 ounces ≠ 900 gms
(≠ 2 1/8 lb ≠ 36 ounces) = 1000 gms
3 lbs = 48 ounces = (1350 gms)
(≠ 3 1/3 lb ≠ 54 ounces) = 1500 gms

Things in brackets are sizes you are unlikely to find. You can see there is a bigger difference than may first appear between 800 and 1000 gms, especially when a 1000 gm hammer is 'described' at 2 lbs (instead of the 2.2 lbs it really is).
1) Princess Auto / Deals / KW Surplus

'American' style square head cross peen, made in China = 800 gms / cost about $10 each Note that these now have very bad plastic handles which need be replaced (see below)
The actual order specification for these is found :

Note that the only thing to recommend these is the price (at $12 each). They definately need to have new handles attached before they can be correctly used.

At $10 each. You should keep a few of these in stock anyway - handles do break with use (and should be expected to).

2) Princess Auto

Ball peen, made in Italy = 710 gms / cost $23 each This is an excellent hammer, which outperforms anything else in its class. Great shaped ash handles.

(There is a 900 gm version at $32 - also an excellent 'starting' hammer)
This is the additional hammer I would most strongly recommend.
You see what the problem is - sloppy description by Princess Auto. (if you enlarge the image, you will see they use a photo of the smallest 440 gm size for all the products!)
I recommend this specific hammer because despite its reduced head weight, it does strike with considerable power. For the less robust worker, this means increased control at the same time giving good impact results.
(You also see that the 'cheaper' cross peen above actually becomes more expensive once the handle replacement is figured in.)

3) Professional Farriers Supply

Rounding hammer = 800 gms / cost about $30 each This is noteably a very short handle, and an extremely balanced head.

(So ideal for physically smaller / less strong individuals).

(There is a 1000 gm version at about $45, which again has the balanced head) Rounding hammers (on flat, one slightly crowned face) are excellent for a number of forging tasks btw.
(sorry - poor source image!)

This is the Diamond 24 ounce (actually 800 gm) # THRSDI24 at $65 each. (Been a while since I bought one - obviously!) This is a very good hammer, notable for the shorter and smaller diameter handle. (My partner Kelly, at 4'10", uses one of these).
Key here is the short head length, even head balance, shorter handle.

Here at the Wareham Forge, I must easily have 50 hammers used for students. A total of at least 15 different patterns altogether, typically over 4 possible weight classes.

 Remember : No 'one tool fits all'.
Images seen here are drawn from the indicated commercial web sites

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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