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Thread: Blacksmithing tools

  1. #2751
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Those kinds of hammers are everywhere. They're used in sheet-metal and auto body work, so you don't have to hunt hard to find them even in the flea markets and such.

    The heavier versions can be pricey, but they are well worth having around the shop because you never know when you'll want to dish something!

  2. #2752
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    My personal tool of choice is the "steel puck of awesomeness" my father made for me. It just mimics the 15 angle of the plastic versions used for sheet metal, but is solid steel that'll stand up to the abuses of being forged on.
    I couldnt resist the chance for a lathe project and starting my ladle project on the right foot. I got a disc of 4340 from eBay and made a puck like you describe; 15 depression, so a 150 cone. As soon as I finished it I grabbed a piece of sheet and tried it out. I do think a longer hammer would be helpful, and some heat will be necessary as I go for more curvature, but Im super encouraged. Thank you Vaughn!

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  4. #2753
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by jwmelvin View Post
    I couldn’t resist...
    That's some really beautiful work!

    My Steel Puck of Awesomeness is made from 4140, so I'm quite sure yours will last for ages. I do mostly cold work on mine, even up to shallow bending in .125" stock, and it developed a beautiful orange peel texture after awhile. No worries about the texture transferring to the work and it seems to be self-replicating so you don't have to worry about any errant hammer dings staying around for long.

    You'll quickly find that it's one of the handiest little tools in the shop, hence the name. Whether you're trying to bend a bar, or take the bend out of a bar, the Steel Puck of Awesomeness is there for you, a stalwart companion in the constant war with flat metal!

    Your test piece would make a great drip tray for a candle holder, so build up from there and give it to that special lady in your life. Use your lathe to make a hole in a couple of balls, or a length of square bar, and you've got just enough offset to make it interesting visually. Then just join the pieces with a piece of 1/4" rod, like a long nail, and you are set. She'll think it's the best thing since sliced bread and want another dozen or so.

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    Here's a ladle I made 100% on the Steel Puck of Awesomeness. No heat at all. Started life as one of those blanks you buy online and I didn't much care for the finished product since the whole thing looked a bit too chintzy, kinda like what you'd see in a school cafeteria.

    Still, it was a fun project and it shows you how much curve you can get with the Steel Puck of Awesomeness without even trying.

    Could I have dished the bowl even more? Yea, probably. It would have been more work to pucker and tuck the edges, but it would have been possible to get some more depth. On this blank, though, I didn't feel like it was worth it since the joint between handle and bowl would need some kind of reinforcing structure to stop it from bending so easily. And the handle area needed wood or whatnot to dress it up. Overall, I thought it was just too much work for what I was starting with. A fun experiment and a good way to get to know the Steel Puck of Awesomeness, but everything I did was only making a silk purse from a sow's ear.




    Texturing on the inside helps to curve the steel and gives i a nice look.... but what a bugger to clean!



    Every curve made 100% cold over the Steel Puck of Awesomeness. Not a hint of fire throughout the entire project, and never felt the need for it, either. The handle was particularly fun to shape. As you can see, though, it's just ugly no mater what you try. Starting cheap means it's going to end cheap. I would have been much better off if I'd cut the bowl portion off and forged a nice handle from thicker bar.

    Last edited by VaughnT; 12-07-2021 at 08:29 AM.

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  6. #2754
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    That's some really beautiful work!
    Thank you for the encouragement and the additional examples. I do already love my puck.

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  8. #2755
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    Those kinds of hammers are everywhere. They're used in sheet-metal and auto body work, so you don't have to hunt hard to find them even in the flea markets and such.

    The heavier versions can be pricey, but they are well worth having around the shop because you never know when you'll want to dish something!
    I havent really seen much, but I mean Craigslist and eBay. I do see this new option: https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/doming-hammers.html

    Like you say, expensive at $125 (I think Id want the 2 pounder).

    What about fabricating a hammer? I have some car half shafts and it seems like I could use a section of that with a handle welded on, or a tang that goes into a wood handle. I dont think Im ready to punch and drift a handle hole.

    Appreciate any other suggestions but I have a more immediate desire than finding one at a flea market. I accept that may mean paying for one if necessary.

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  10. #2756
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by jwmelvin View Post
    I havent really seen much, but I mean Craigslist and eBay. What about fabricating a hammer? I have some car half shafts and it seems like I could use a section of that with a handle welded on, or a tang that goes into a wood handle. I dont think Im ready to punch and drift a handle hole.
    You can "modify" an existing ball pein hammer by cutting the main face off at the neck and welding on a stub that'll extend the reach of it. Just be sure the extension is good quality steel or you risk it bending while you're hammering away. Making a hammer from scratch like you describe will also work. Think about how they make hammers and hatchets out of a flat sheet and then build the handle area up with leather or wood glued on the sides. No reason you couldn't do similar with some flat bar and then weld a properly shaped head to it.

    For dishing and cupping, you really don't need much weight. The reach is the more important part. You need to be able to get over and around a raised rim, for example, or deep into a the recess you've created. That's why you see these hammers with such long heads.

    When the steel's hot, even a light hammer will move it. All you're asking it to do is flex into the unsupported region, something it wants to do naturally.

    Blacksmith Supply has a nice selection in their Repouse hammers that'll certainly get the job done! Price ain't too bad, either.

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    That planishing hammer in the 1.6lb range would be sweet and looks very similar to the one I use regularly. Heavy enough to do the work, but not so heavy that you wear out when you're covering the surface with hammer facets to dress it up a bit. Having both ends with different radii will help you work different curves or leave different sizes of hammer facets.

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    https://www.blacksmithsupply.com/Rep...sing_c_65.html

    Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, one hammer will see you through dozens of projects because you already have ball pein hammers that will also be of service. The key is thinking through your design and using the hammers you already own to get the first step or two done. Then you can move in with the "professional" type hammers to work the last few steps. The two hammers shown here would be more than enough for 90% of the curving you can expect to do. Ladles, bowls and dishes.... easy stuff with a ball pein and one of these hammers for that extra reach needed towards the end. Vases and the like, well, that's a horse of a different color!

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  12. #2757
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    No reason you couldn't do similar with some flat bar and then weld a properly shaped head to it.
    Thanks again. I may yet buy something but I spent a few hours playing around and came up with this from a piece of axle shaft and some flat bar welded to it, set into a piece of axe handle:


    It definitely allowed me a little more access to increase my curvature. The two ends are different radius.

    Tightening the test piece makes me think a steeper puck might be good too; I may put a second recess on the other side. Id still have a 1/2 thick web in the center of the puck. Maybe a 20 or 25 angle to go with the 15 original.

  13. #2758
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Nice work!
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by jwmelvin View Post
    Thanks again. I may yet buy something but I spent a few hours playing around and came up with this from a piece of axle shaft and some flat bar welded to it, set into a piece of axe handle:


    It definitely allowed me a little more access to increase my curvature. The two ends are different radius.

    Tightening the test piece makes me think a steeper puck might be good too; I may put a second recess on the other side. Id still have a 1/2 thick web in the center of the puck. Maybe a 20 or 25 angle to go with the 15 original.
    I have enough pieces of alloy bar steel that I have collected, that I think I might just have to make something like that, on the next warm day,,
    Rather than the wire, I think I will try the water activated "Gorilla Glue"

    That glue is so strong, I am kinda scared of it.
    Twice that I have used it, the assembly ended up stronger than if I would have used a good epoxy,,

    With the large surface area between the steel and the wood, heck, Elmer's White Glue might work,,,

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
    Rather than the wire, I think I will try the water activated "Gorilla Glue"
    I wanted to add epoxy in the interfaces but I got scared that I might want to make some alteration to the head. The axle is quite hard on its outside but seemingly softer in the core so I thought it might need heat treatment. But I wanted to try it like this first. The quick test worked out so maybe I should have glued it from the start. The brass pins seemed almost sufficient on their own, but the wood is pretty thin near the head and started to split.

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  17. #2761
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by jwmelvin View Post
    Thanks again. I may yet buy something but I spent a few hours playing around and came up with this from a piece of axle shaft and some flat bar welded to it, set into a piece of axe handle. It definitely allowed me a little more access to increase my curvature. The two ends are different radius.

    Tightening the test piece makes me think a steeper puck might be good too; I may put a second recess on the other side. I’d still have a 1/2” thick web in the center of the puck. Maybe a 20 or 25 angle to go with the 15 original.
    Dayum! Don't let anyone say you fiddlefart around. Hasn't been a but a couple hours since you talked about it, and boom, there's as fine a hammer as you could ask for! I particularly like the wire clamps as I've been meaning to make one of those clamp-rite clampers for awhile and just never get around to it. If every there was a guy who could fiddlefart around, it'd be me. Maybe I'll make one as a Christmas gift for my nephew....

    The original plastic pucks my father borrowed the idea from came in three different tapers, but I don't know if they ever said what the degree of taper was. They just labeled them as 'low crown', 'high crown', and 'very high crown'. They definitely got steeper, and I might think as steep as something like 30 for the VHC design. Putting a 20 taper on the other side of your Steel Puck of Awesomeness sure wouldn't hurt. Then all you'll have to do is make up a second Steel Puck of Awesomeness with a 25 or 30 taper for when you want really deep curves.

    With the skills and determination you've shown in so few posts, I have no doubt that you'll do very well with whatever you choose.

    Here's a video the inventor made to show what the pucks can do on thin metal. While he's working aluminum, it's pretty much the same for steel.


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  19. #2762
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    I've had an f'd up tractor axle off a 4wd rolling around in the back of the fuel truck for 2 yrs thinking I should make another upright anvil. Now you guys have me thinking about cutting some sections for pucks... maybe a couple 2 sided ones with different angles. Going to take a lot of grinding with no lathe though. Time to get the puck out of here...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  21. #2763
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    I posted this pic of metal shaping tools and dollies over in the CList Scores thread earlier in the week.



    Anyone have ideas of how this rr track anvil was shaped so nicely? The horn, heel and shelf look pretty much perfect




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  23. #2764
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Perhaps the crafter had made up several templates out of wood etc so it could be filed or ground down little by little while checking the shape against the shaped template until the shape was perfect. Just one way I could think of.
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  25. #2765
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    A CNC mill would be the easiest imo.
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  27. #2766
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Some one good with a torch and surface grinder?

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Insaneride View Post
    Some one good with a torch and surface grinder?
    If you plan ahead... I found with the torch it was really easy to get carried away and remove too much metal from the wrong places... especially along the top of the horn. It's easier if you hang the rail upside down when you are cutting, but you can still expect 8 to 10 hrs of grinding even if you cut it close. I've never used a mill, but I'd sure like to try it once...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  30. #2768
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I posted this pic of metal shaping tools and dollies over in the CList Scores thread earlier in the week.

    Anyone have ideas of how this rr track anvil was shaped so nicely? The horn, heel and shelf look pretty much perfect

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    It might have been a retired farmer with a nice shop and some spare time on his hands.
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  32. #2769
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    One thing I've found over the years -- if you want a nice taper or round, you need to be erratic with your file strokes. You wouldn't think so, but it's that always jumping around, coming at it from different angles, which gives you the most uniform and even taper or sphere. If you go straight at it, you usually end up with flats and hollows where you took away too muck or not enough. If you jump all over, rolling your file, switching hands, and all that... the randomness evens things out because you never remove too much or not enough from any one area.

    That knife blade stake made from a track section is very neat! I might have to borrow that idea.

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  34. #2770
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Looks like some had a lot of spare time.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I posted this pic of metal shaping tools and dollies over in the CList Scores thread earlier in the week.



    Anyone have ideas of how this rr track anvil was shaped so nicely? The horn, heel and shelf look pretty much perfect




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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    One thing I've found over the years -- if you want a nice taper or round, you need to be erratic with your file strokes. You wouldn't think so, but it's that always jumping around, coming at it from different angles, which gives you the most uniform and even taper or sphere. If you go straight at it, you usually end up with flats and hollows where you took away too muck or not enough. If you jump all over, rolling your file, switching hands, and all that... the randomness evens things out because you never remove too much or not enough from any one area.

    That knife blade stake made from a track section is very neat! I might have to borrow that idea.
    I find the same when using the angle grinder also.


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  37. #2772
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    He also started with some very tall track... probably off a mainline... gives you more material to play with in the horn and web...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  39. #2773
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    He also started with some very tall track... probably off a mainline... gives you more material to play with in the horn and web...
    Be interesting to meet the dude. Have no idea where or when it was done.

    He sure did a nice job.


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  41. #2774
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    Re: Blacksmithing tools

    Thanks for sharing. I always used random tools to do this job. But now I have an idea.

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    Re: Blacksmithing tools




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