Jump to content

little giant ??'s


Recommended Posts

Hey all,

I am pretty excited about a recent find, a #25 Little Giant that is said to be in fine working condition. Best part about it is the price. Much less than they are going for on the blacksmith sites or ebay(which has one at ~$905 right now). As I have no experience with these guys, what should I look for specifically, besides the obvious, to determine whether this machine is in ok shape? Thanks in advance for any tips,,,

 

 

jm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Check the babbitt bearings for slop.  They are the bearings that surround the main shaft on top.  Look for signs that the babbitt material has gotten soft or melted from heat.  On a 25lb this is less likely simply due to the throw weight but it is a bigger problem because it means the hammer is due for a rebuild.  There are some pretty decent videos that walk you through a rebuild.  I think the ABANA website or some of the blacksmith sites have links. It might be a good thing to get a video, learn some, then go look at hammers.  If I'd have done that, I'd have gotten around to a rebuilt a lot sooner than I did.  

 

Next check the inside of the ram for wear at the dovetail.  If the dies are loose or there are signs of welding, somebody broke the ram, or the casting was bad originally.  More important, look inside the slots where the toggle links fit into the ram.  If the "web" that holds the link in the ram is thin it's a huge sign of wear.  This can be fixed by welding a new web, but the welder will cuss you some.  

 

Then examine each joint where parts move against one another.  You may need to consider replacing links or pins or bushings to tighten up the old boy (LG literature actually names these hammers boy, youth, man etc).  Somewhere in the archives on Don's site is a pic I posted of a 500lb LG.

 

If you were going to change anything, buy a second adjustable toggle link.  It really makes these hammer sing.  

 

Find Sid Sudemeier's address and or phone number.  He is the man for tooling and replacement parts and information about all things Little Giant.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was "shopping" for a powerhammer couple of years ago... (don't have that machine anymore...) I usually took some 2x2" Wood-pices along... why?

I usually asked wether I could try the machine or not... if possible I worked the 2x2"... ok I admit, it's not steel but it should give you a  good response wether the machine works they way it should or if there are some problems... sometimes you just see minor things which you would not have seen else... well if you can try it on hot steel, even the better.

 

Don't know much specific about little giant hammers though...

but with any old and maybe longtime unused tool be prepared to spend a good ammount of time to get it back working flawlessly... but if the price is ok... it's money & time well spent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything Mike B says is right on track. I bought a rebuilt 25 LG that is completely modernized(new motor, grease fittings ,and other parts and modifications.) I emailed Sid Sudimier and he has the records of most of the old LGs. With my serial # he told me the original owners name and address with the date of purchase(May 1929, Iowa). I went to Nashville Tenn to pick it up and bring it to Arkansas. These old boys are very interesting piece of machinery.

  There is lots of info out there if you do a search or ask a few folks. Let us know if you buy it. Lin  :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replys fellas,

Mike, those are good specifics, thanks

DG, good idea, I am going to do that

Lin, Thanks,I have checked out the LG site, i guess that Sid is the man for all things LG,

 

 

I'll keep you all informed...

 

jm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sid's the man with Little Giants. And he's got parts.

 

Just, this last month, helped a friend dig out a 25# lg and get it cleaned up, it lived in the original blacksmith's shop in the spot we're at.

man, it had been looked after, really really well.

I'd forgotten just how good those little hammers could work when they are in top condition. All it needed was a good clean-up and we took just one shim out of the front bearing, and it worked perfect. What a treat.

 

Cool trick, my buddy is a contractor on the side, he glued the 25er to the floor with construction adhesive, it works like a charm. I was extremely skeptical at first but be damned if it's not slicker than snot on a doorknob.

 

When you run it take a good look at the front end while it cycles, if it's running right the ram should always make one stroke to the top and back down with each single revolution of the crank, if it kinda skitters up and down during the revolution then the spring might be the wrong one or it may need to be adjusted significantly, calling Sid will have it remidied immediately in any case. Also, the 25ers run really fast if they are working right, it takes some getting used too if you havn't been on one before.

In any case, little giants are good hammers, if they are working right they are awesome tools.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Everything has about been covered in the above posts, but I would just have one reccomendation.  Buy a new spring from Sid, no matter how the old one looks.

 

I am not a safety advocate by any means (just look at my shop), but an old spring giving way will cause you some pain.

 

I love my 25# L.G.  Made  on 2-22-22 (gotta love that).  Since me and my hand hammer don't get along to well, I even use my LG to forge to shape.  

 

Great machines!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Richard Furrer

Wiggle all the parts and look for cracks or repairs.

oh, and look for cracks and repairs.

 

Bring gloves and a roll of paper towels and go over the dirty bits (which will be the entire machine most likely) and look for cracks and repairs.

 

The best is to see the machine running and do the pounding wood thing. Do NOT be impresssed with the fact that it hits faster and harder than you can..that is what it is designed to do......keep a critical eye open.

 

Other than broken or poorly repaired castings there is not much that can go wrong that you can not fit. BUT, fixing costs money and if you are not handy then a free hammer that doen not work is often not worth the money.

 

Change the spring.......Unless he put a new one in just before you got there. Put a guard over the spring and its range...like a steel plate since men have been killed when the spring flew out of the housing. The spring can come out as one piece or tiny propelled fragments (rarely do things break when sitting there....they usually break when under compression so they have energy when they come out to get you).

 

I would install a brake (leather strap with steel backing) which is connected to the foot treddle so the brake is lifted when you push down.....look around on the web and see what others have done. I think a brake is an absolute must on these hammers..more for control then anything else, but on the larger hammers (50 pound and above) it allows you to use tooling with much more control.

 

Oh yea....look for broken parts and repairs.

 

Ric Furrer

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest tpotier

I began desiring a trip hammer in 1988. I talked to a lot of people who gave me good advice.

 

Fred Caylar (deceased), Bill Pea (deceased), Bill Gishner,and more.

 

I will give you some quotes from them which will save you a lot of trouble and heart ache .

 

Don't let your heart for wanting a hammer get ahead of your head .

 

If the bottom anvil in which the bottom die is wedged, is cracked, damaged , welded on,'WALK AWAY FROM THE HAMMER'. If the bottom anvil has a replaceable sow block that is damaged and you can buy a sow block that is not damaged, this is okay.

 

I was green as a gord when I bought my first 25# mayer brother hammer. I now have a degree in hammer repair, fixing this 1908 hammer. Granted I know a lot about hammers now, but the journey has been long and costly. I have met a lot of good friends in the ordeal, some I have losted. Would I do it differently, I am leaning to recommending either new hammers, or reputable repair men who stand behind their work.

 

More and more smiths are converting to air, therefore good hammers will become availible in the future.

 

I still have that hammer and it needs reworking again right now. I have got somuch invested in it that its hard to part with it, besides we have been together for almost 20 years now!

 

I hope this makes sense.

 

Timothy

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second what Ric and Timothy have both said a second time.  

 

Steel plate.  Not expanded metal.  I'd rather get bonked on the noggin by a deflected plate than hit with a bunch of accessory shrapnel.  If you don't know Clifton Ralph, go meet him.  Tell him you don't think mechanical hammers are dangerous.  You won't have enough time to duck and you'll stay hit too.  You'll live through his demo of how dangerous hammers are.  You might not if you trust your hammer.  Did I say steel plate?  

 

Also, how the hammer looks is important.  Ric mentioned the dirty stuff.  That's a truth that I've heard from old blacksmiths who know their hammers.  If it's not covered in oil and grease and other mysterious stuff you recoil at touching, it's probably not been used correctly.  These hammers are like old Harley bikes, maybe like old Larrys too, they leak, a lot.  Oil and grease are hourly touchups.  Rebuilding a hammer is three days of cleaning off crap and one day of work.  

 

However, a liberal coating of grease and oil could have been put there to cover up the cracks and problems.  The best test of all?  Look up.  At the ceiling and walls.  If there's no oil or grease there, this hammer hasn't been running.  Walk away, unless you're there to just buy parts.  

 

If the hammer has new green paint, and so clean you could eat a meal off the sow block, you better be buying from the master hammer rebuilder himself.  

 

Not only run the hammer to see how it feels.  Have somebody else run it and you watch.  Look at everything moving.  The spring and toggle arms, how the tup rides up and down in the guides.  Do the guides or guide move when working (they shouldn't)?  Is the eccentric motion of the flywheel really odd or smooth?  Does the top shaft slide forward and backward in its guides when hammering (there's a spacer or two missing)?  

 

Take a video and watch it over and over.  Have someone who knows hammers watch with you and comment.  

 

I've considered selling my 100lb and going to air.  Nah, I like self abuse too much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys,

 

This is all reallly great advice...

 

Especially the part about the shiny green paint...gotta watch that shiny green paint! Gotta hate those fresh looking hammers that look like they never been run...yeah buddy!

 

Don't Sid do a nice job!

 

I haven't even got her wired or glued to the floor yet...ain't she jus' purty!

 

Super

 

Shane

Brought her home last month! Don't tell the wife I spent the baby's milk money!  :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

right then,

 

and here are a couple more shots,

 

and say this was less than 1k ?

way less,,,

 

 

thanks again

 

jm

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest tpotier

Looks like you have a very nice realitively new little giant.

 

The latest little giants had the clutch and "V" style pulleys mounted in the rear.

 

I will check my files and send you some adjustment  instructions to fine tune the wooden maple clutch blocks. You can email me your address. tpotier@hotmail.com.

 

timothy

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest tpotier

I almost bought my first hammer from Bill Gishner. $1750 for a 25 and $3300 for a 50 lb. little giant completely rebuilt and running by Bill himself. Bill said he would deliver it to me in Louisiana for $350. This was in 1989. I never met Mr. Gishner but he sounded like an honest man with a good work ethic. I am saddened to hear of his passing and for never getting a chance to meet him.

 

timothy

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...