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Blacksmithing and metalworking questions answered.

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Hammer Types and Article Links

Small Tools in the Blacksmith Shop

The hammer is probably THE most basic of tools following the lever and even being used by non-humans in the form of a club. A weight on a handle to increase the speed (velocity) of the weight (or heavy end of the club) when swung is a powerful force multiplier. Focusing and controlin this force multiplier is the purpose of the modern hammer and a primarry job for the craftsperson to learn. Whether it is crushing rocks, driving a nail, delicately engraving a surface or forging a knife each task requires skill learned by practice AND the proper hammer. While many craftspeople can do many tasks with one common hammer most find it advantageous to use the right size (weight) and shape of hammer.
hammers displayed on repousse stump
Ball Pien, Dishing and Auto-body pecking/planishing hammer.

This setup was built to be easily portable and for sitting while working. The handiest feature is being able to easily rotate the work surface to the best work space.

Ball Pien or Engineer's Hammers are the most common alternative hammer in the shop. They are used for rivetting, punching, chiseling, graving, repousse' and as a forming tool for round depressions (striking them with another hammer or under power). Everything except forging.

Ball Pien hammers used to come in more sizes than any other and still come in sizes from 2 to 48 oz (57 to 1400 grams). This is the widest range of any single hammer pattern. A complete set would be good to have. I've been collecting old ones since I started smithing and do not have a complete set.

Many modern ball pien hammers, especially Chinese imports, are very pooly made with bullet or conical shaped piens instead of ball and roughly punched eyes that make them impossible to keep a handle OR to re-handle well. Old hammers with their sharp crisp lines are the best and should be taken care of.

The flat face of a ball pien hammer is normally very flat but should be dressed to a slight crown and the corners rounded slightly. This helps in forming metal and reduces the chance of chipping the corners. The ball end should be dressed to be as smooth and spherical as possible. The faces should be polished if working soft (non-ferrous) metals.

Repousse - Dishing Hammers
Niagra and PEXTOW Repousee' Dishing Hammers

These are wonderful old hammers for heavy dishing and repousse'. Sadly they are no longer made. One of the metalshaping firms tried to bring them back a few years ago but aparently did not have enough demand as I can no longer find them.

Atha plannishing hammer
Atha Brand Planishing Hammer

This is a beautiful light pattern hammer deisgined for silversmiths and bronzesmiths. I recently had a sheet metal job and found this to be the handiest hammer in my collection for flattening and creasing 20ga steel.

Cuttler Hammer
Cuttler or Bladesmiths Hammer. AKA Dogs Head Hammeer

This old style hammer was commonly found in Europe at one time but is now most commonly found in Japan and by bladesmiths world wide. What is the difference between this and a filemaker's hammer? A filemaker's hammer has an angled face and uses a short curved handle so that the hammer is almost held like a handled mug.

European Stone Hammer
Old Stone Hammer - This is a beautiful pattern that was probably hand forged.

Dishing Hammer photo by Jock Dempsey Ball Dishing - Allen Bauldree custom
2-1/2" ball bearing welded to striking hammer
Dishing Hammer photo by Jock Dempsey Old Style Standard Raising hammer
Sizes 2 to 8 pounds, Niagara, Pextow, Etal.
Raising Hammer photo by Jock Dempsey Dishing or raising - About 7" long Raising Hammer photo by Jock Dempsey Dishing or raising - About 7" long
Planishing Hammer photo by Jock Dempsey Planishing and Shaping Hammer Small hammer
Unusual Forging Hammer - About 4 pounds. DIY Hammer from grade 8 bolts in progress

More Armourer's Hammers

Eric Thing's hammers photo by Bruce Blackistone
The above are hand made hammers from the shop of Eric Thing, AZ armourer. Eric primarily makes helmets by the raising process from relatively heavy steel plate. The thickness of the plate and the depth of the shapes determines the long heavy pattern of these hammers. Photo by Bruce Blackistone


Repousse' and Silversmith's Specialty Hammers
Old web catablog page with diagrams and dimansions of numerous shaped repousse' and silversmith's hammers.

Hammer Weight Table
Common hammer and sledge weights in grams, pounds and ounces.

Hammer Eye Dimensions
Hammer eye sizes for forging hammer punches and drifts.

Handles, Rough
Handles for punches, chisles and flatters. Why they are loose fits.

Hammer Handle Repair Day
Annual wood handled too repair and maintenance day. Make it a spring tradition.

Hammer Control with Dippy Duck
Forging posture, anvil height and hammer control - iForge demo.

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