Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More forge tools

While sitting on my a- uh, waiting to go pick up the pup from the vet, I finally remembered to take my camera and take shots of some of the tools I use. For instance, hammers:

These are straight peins, called so because one face is standard, the other is narrow and aligned with the handle:

The big one is 4lb, the smaller is 2. At the time I wanted to get a straight, the only place I could find them was in a catalog that carried a 4lb for, as I recall, $50. So I waited a while 'till I needed to replace the handle in my 4lb sledge, and forged one face down, ground it to final shape, heat-treated it and set in a new handle. Couple of years later I got a 2lb hammer for about $2 at a flea market and made another for smaller work. Where this comes in handy is that if you need to draw a piece out longer you can heat it, use the pein side to put a bunch of parallel dents in one side, then smooth them with the standard face. Or if you need to draw it out a lot further, pein one side and then the other, then smooth it out; it stretches the piece a lot faster. Also good for shaping curves in pieces.

Here we have a hot-cutter, or handled hot chisel:

The cutting end is a long, slim taper from the eye where the handle fits, and has a thinner edge than a cold chisel. The handle is simply to keep your hand away from the hot stuff while you cut it. Very damn handy, I mean to tell you.

Ball pein:

This one is different from the standard design; the face is wider, and the ball is too. I found the head at a flea market for $.50, and for some things it's wonderful. That wide, smooth face makes it perfect for planishing(smoothing) surfaces, and that wide, round pein is perfect for forming spoon bowls & such.

This is a wonderful tool, the post vise, also called a leg vise:

The whole thing is cast steel, and the side that's closest to the bench or post extends all the way to the floor. It braces it so you can do heavy hammering, twisting, etc. on this thing without damaging it. I had to repair the female end of the screw system and make a mounting bracket, and it's mounted on a steel pipe welded to a wheel. I cannot overstress how wonderful this thing can be. Hammering or bending that would damage a standard vise won't bother it, and it has enough clearance around the jaws to do some really radical shaping without the vise getting in the way.

Hammers of all shapes can be found in stores and catalogs, and straight peins are a lot less expensive last time I checked the Centaur Forge catalog. Standard hammers can also be modified in any way you need. Hot chisels of different sizes are available, or can be made. A post vise you really only have two options; check farm sales and flea markets, maybe Ebay, or order from a supplier. A used one will often be missing the mounting bracket, but that's not a big deal to make for most, same if the spring that pushes the jaws open is missing. If the screw is gone or badly damaged however, you've got a problem. You may be able to get a machinist to make/repair the damaged piece, or new ones are available(they ain't cheap). The vise, complete from Centaur, started out about $600 last time I looked for the 4.5"-wide jaws, so an old one that just needs a bit of work can well be worth it.

I'll hit some of the other tools later.

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