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Eric Morgan

Wanting A Dog’s Head Hammer

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Hey guys, I’ve been wanting a dogs head hammer for a while now, just never really had gotten around to it...

 

Anyway, I was in the machine/material shop at work the other day, and they had some big key stock (1-1/2” square by a foot long or so) that the machinist told me was ‘tool steel’. Anyway, the machinist said I could have a short section (6”) that had been cut off of one of the bigger bars since it was basically scrap to him anyway. They get most of their stuff from McMaster-Carr, and their website says it could be anything from 1018 to 1045 to maybe 8630.

I haven’t spark tested this piece yet, but even if it’s just mild steel, I could forge weld a piece of high carbon onto the face to be able to heat treat it. I guess one of my questions is this: is a 1-1/2” square face too small?

I don’t make very large knives, yet at least, but that’s still a decent bit smaller than the hammers I’m currently using (3lb’er and a 2-1/2lb’er). I’m shooting for around a 2 to 2-1/2 pound hammer, so I’ll have some material to test heat treatment with if it acts like it’s got enough carbon to bother with that. 

 

Thanks in in advance for any advice/insights you guys might have or be willing to share

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1.5" square is a fine size for hammers.  And you answered the part about hardenability. B)

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That would be perfect size for a dogs head hammer. I found out that it is actually a lot easier to punch an eye than I thought it would be. Just use something as a punch release or a punch lube.

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Thanks guys. In the case that I need to weld a face on this body, would 1/4” be thick enough, or would I really need something thicker? (1/4” HC stock is as thick as I have on hand)

 

Jeremy, I was thinking about drilling a cheater hole at each end of the eye to help keep it straight. This will be my first hammer and I don’t wanna screw it up :lol:

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Six inches of 1 1/2 square is about 3.83 lbs.  Pr-drilling the holes is a good idea.  You can also go ahead and drill them out to the width you want.  To do that method, lay out two holes so when you drill, there's a small space between them.  Plug the holes and drill out the center.  Knock out the left over bits and a little time with a file will give you a nice hammer shaped oval.  This method is the one used by one of the hammer makers several folks on this site and Iforgeiron have bragged about.

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Posted (edited)

If the Machine shop you got it from says it's tool steel it will most likely be 4140 which is

good for hammer stock...................My  .002

Edited by Clifford Brewer
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When it comes to heat treating the face of a forging hammer you might want to remember that it will be easier to reface the hammer than to reface the anvil.

Doug

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42 minutes ago, Gerald Boggs said:

Six inches of 1 1/2 square is about 3.83 lbs. 

Yep, that’s about dead on. I’m gonna cut a bit off one end to get down to the 2lb-ish mark. Plus, that’ll give me something to test heat treatment on if it is in fact a steel with enough carbon for that.

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So I made a hammer eye drift and a slitting chisel, both of which were my first... then I put my hammer blank into the forge to heat up, and it makes it to cherry red and I start running out of propane :wacko:

 

So, gonna just wait til tomorrow after I refill my tanks, and get after it then!

 

And it turns out that the key stock was indeed mild steel. At least as far as I could tell via a spark test

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When it comes to slitting chisels, slot punches, and drifts, sharp corners are the bane of good results. You took off the corners on the drift, but on your chisel/punch? you left the corners proud. You'll get better results if you take them down. Also the striking end of the chisel needs to be domed. 

Not sure what I'm seeing, could be the photo angle, but it looks as if the chisel is wider then the drift.

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I’ll be sure to, thanks for the advice! Yeah, I shoulda forged the struck end down like the drift, but I guess I forgot to like a dummy. 

The slitter is a hair narrower than the drift at its widest, but it really does look a lot wider 

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Hey guys, I’m hoping to get back to working on this hammer again this week, and haven’t really been able to find a definitive answer on how thick of a high carbon face is appropriate... I have 1/4” stock, but I’m not sure if it’s thick enough

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The one thing you want to think about when facing it is make it thick enough to be able to dress it the way you want it. Personally I think 1/4 inch stock would be sufficient.

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Check this video out.

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Still have a lot of grinding to do to clean this up, but I got the face welded on and the eye drifted today. Here is my very first hammer, and even though it’s not perfect yet, I’m as proud as a peacock lol. 

The eye isn’t quite square, but I can straighten that up with files. 

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The second pic for some reason makes it look much more out of center than it truly is... it’s mostly just a slight twist that I have to correct

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That looks great!!! Did you forge the cheeks of the eye or grind it square? Either way it looks awesome and well done welding the face on!!!

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Eric, that hammer head is looking great.  I know you are proud of it.

Jeremy, thanks for the video.  I can learn a whole lot from watching guys like you "do what you do".  Very informative and great fun to watch.

 

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Thanks Jeremy! I forged it to keep it square on the sides, then ground the top and bottom to get it back square... 

 

Thanks Chris!

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My next hammer I'm going to try to punch a large round eye and forge the cheeks square without a drift in it to form an oval eye.

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My plan is to make some large square dies for my power hammer and hopefully that helps keep it square. If I tried to do it with a hand hammer it wouldn't work out.

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