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Quiet this railroad track flatter


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I don’t have a welder, so I’ve been sandwiching the knife steel between the anvil and a 2’ section of rr track, then wailing on the top of the track to flatten things. It does sorta work but it’s LOUD as hell. 
.. the only other thing i could think of is to grind the face flat on an old sledge hammer and use that. 
 

any suggestions to quiet it down, or maybe an alternative flatter that doesn’t require welding?

Edited by Nicholai
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Learn to straighten the blade without a flatter.  I bought a flatter when I was starting out back in 1998. I've used it once.  They're just not a useful tool for a one-man shop. If you can't straighten the blade with hammer and anvil alone, use a vise and a wrench.

 

If you're wanting to use it to remove hammer marks, you need to dress your hammer face and/or learn better hammer control so you don't leave deep marks.  A flatter won't do it.

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18 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Learn to straighten the blade without a flatter.  I bought a flatter when I was starting out back in 1998. I've used it once.  They're just not a useful tool for a one-man shop. If you can't straighten the blade with hammer and anvil alone, use a vise and a wrench.

 

If you're wanting to use it to remove hammer marks, you need to dress your hammer face and/or learn better hammer control so you don't leave deep marks.  A flatter won't do it.

Thank you.. yeah I’m trying to kill the hammer marks as they require so much grinding to remove. oo no i never dressed the hammer face, and it sounds like more practice is required too lol. Thanks as alway for the good advice. Leaving hammer dents has been a real painus in the anus. 

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Also check the height of your anvil.  Too high or too low will make it so you tend to not hit your work flush with the hammer head.

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18 minutes ago, Nicholai said:

oo no i never dressed the hammer face

I will take this opportunity to plug one of my favorite books.....lol:P:lol:

I can't suggest highly enough picking up a copy of Mark Aspery's book, "The Skills of a Blacksmith Volume I:Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing"
It does a good job talking about necessary tools and their prep and care, INCLUDING Hammer dressing (which I had never heard of before getting the book, lol).  It does a good job of going over basics of smithing too that will help improve your overall work. :D
 

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+1 on that book, and all of Aspery's books.  There's a lot to hammer dressing, but the gist of it is to radius the edges to some degree, depending on the intended use and results desired. A slightly domed face leaves a gently wavy surface that looks good on ornamental work. A mostly flat face, used properly, leaves a smooth flat surface. A sharp edge or even a sharp chamfered edge on a flat face will leave marks.  If you have a pocket watch, look at the crystal.  That's the right shape for a round-faced hammer to be dressed.  A square or rectangular face needs a little bit different approach. I like to add a little side-to-side rocker to those. Not enough to leave a dent, but just enough to act as a very gentle fuller when drawing out.  

 

And Alex is right too. Make sure your anvil height is such that the hammer face strikes squarely.  If you're leaving half-moon dents, you're too low or too high. Once you've gotten good at it you can adjust your blows to adapt to other anvil heights, but it's always good to give yourself every advantage when starting out! 

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49 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

If you have a pocket watch, look at the crystal.  That's the right shape for a round-faced hammer to be dressed. 

Gem of wisdom!

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thanks a lot everyone. After checking again, the anvil seems to be at a good height. All of the hammer dents i believe are from me inadvertently striking with the edge of the hammer face sometimes. I’ll see about getting my hands on that book too 

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The other part of hammer dressing is the handle.  Most factory handles are too fat and force you to grip too hard, which ruins accuracy and control.  Round handles are hard to keep indexed to the exact orientation you want.  My solution is to reshape the handle to a sort of octagon with very wide flats on the sides, basically rectangular but with the corners knocked off.  Sand it down to 220 grit and call it good.  Maybe oil it with a non-drying oil if you want, but in regular use it'll pick up enough skin oils to make a finish.  

 

Needless to say, you can't really do this with a fiberglass or rubber-coated handle.

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5 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

you can't really do this with a fiberglass or rubber-coated handle.

but you can build up the face sides of the handle with athletic tape, leather, etc... to get the rectangular shape.

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