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TOPIC: Hammer Handles

Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 02:36 #1

Just wondering
Is there a magical ratio or a guideline on the lenght of a rounding hammer or clipping hammer. Or maybe how will I know/feel if the hammer lenght is right. Right now my arm is truly sore trying to make clips, square toes ect....
Redd
Redd McIntyre
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 03:18 #2

  • Derin Foor
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Redd,

I dont think it's the handle length as much as it is the width which affects your grip.......... try to get Roy Bloom's tapes.... he talks about handle grip, etc........ the VHA might have them in the library (not sure)

keep the shoes hot and follow what Chris Gregory says about the different roles of the tong hand vs. the hammer hand (labor and management)

a flat horn anvil will work you twice as hard as a round one

a clinic with Bob Marshall will help you a lot too

we all went through the phase where we were going to beat the clip into submission... I pulled a bunch of clips today and just relaxed and made it happen.... it's not a matter of hammer smacks per minute......... more of making each one count... I have numerous CJF's here in VA for helping me get to where I can make a decent clip, square toe, etc

come by the shop anytime and we'll work on destroying some old shoes :)

Derin
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 03:25 #3

If it keeps up raining I should have some time. I also will be working up in Charlottsville for the next two months so maybe i could take ya up on your offer.
I have come to the realization the tong hand control is a must. If i cant hold it in place i cannot hit the same spot
Redd
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 04:11 #4

would you say the bloom video's are the best for learning how to get grims right along with upgrading your forging?
-Chad
Chad Cordes
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 04:12 #5

  • Rancho JD
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I've talked with blacksmiths who live and die by the fire and my personal experience is grip has more influence on hammer control, even though blacksmiths do have some short handles i think for farrier work that choking up on a long handle is better than snubbing the end short which for me anyway leads to a loss of control and arm fatigue.

it can take me a few hours to tune a new handle, i dont like it when sweet old handles break. i'll forge with a new one then belt sand the fat out in increments, the entire length if its to round. if it feels long and i'm choking up to much to find the comfortable balanced area and the end is getting hung up on my clothes, i'll trim it down in increments forging with it between trims so i dont ruin a few hours of work.
Hit on 16 stand on 17 and split those aces, merry christmas!
'panhandler' Reno, Nevada.
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 04:14 #6

  • BS-Horseshoeing
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I just bought a new Bloom clipping hammer and adjusted the thickness of the handle but didn't cut anything off the length. I just made it fit my hand and feel like my rounding hammer that I adjusted last year when my elbow got to hurting really bad. Used it tonight with no problems after pulling clips for about 45 minutes. I also use a layer of vet wrap covered by athletic tape for comfort and non slip grip.

Speaking of Tongs, does it just take practice to learn to grip and control them right? I am working on position in my stance, hammer control, and direction of the blows, but sometimes it just seems as if the tongs won't hold no matter how soft or hard you squeeze the reins. All four different size tongs seem to be in good shape and fit the size stock they were made for, so I guess it's just my weak hands and lack of practice. :rolleyes:
Ben Sturman
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Tough times never last, but tough people do!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, one lick and you will suck for ever!

Folks who think traditional farriery means perimeter fit don't know a heluva lot about shoeing. Tom Stovall,...
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 04:27 #7

  • Mike Bailey
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I keep beeswax on my handels, not to much just enough to keep it sticky.
Mike Bailey, CJF

"If your not part of the solution,than your part of the problem." Dr. Chick Gandel

Plan for success, Be prepared for failure
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 04:34 #8

Adjusting the reins on your tongs may be equally as important as adjusting the size of your hammer handle. But a tighter grip on your tongs isn't the best way to hold a shoe more securely. Proper placement of the tongs on the shoe and subsequently how they are braced on the anvil is the most important part (I too am struggling with this).
I personally like a pretty smooth, burnt hammer handle.
Wade
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RE:Hammer Handles 09 Nov 2006 12:36 #9

BS-Horseshoeing wrote:
All four different size tongs seem to be in good shape and fit the size stock they were made for, so I guess it's just my weak hands and lack of practice.


If your hands are getting weak, try to use a "keeper". I'm not sure that's what they are actually called but that what I know them by. Its a small steel ring (looks like the letter "C") that will keep your tongs gripped to your stock. I make mine, but I know you can buy them.

They helped me and my countless hours of mutilating old shoes....

As for clips, I use the bob punch method. After trying about 1000 times other ways, my mentor asked me "what the hell are you doing?" - he then showed me how to use a bob punch to pull clips and I pull em all day long now. Almost perfect every time. Try it out.....

troy
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RE:Hammer Handles 10 Nov 2006 05:29 #10

  • Bill Adams
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After using a hammer almost every day in one trade or another since 1974, several years ago I went to a very thin 'licorice whip' handle.
The firse thing I noticed was that my thumb wanted to stay up on top of the handle and that I had more control. A few months later I noticed that the calouses on my hands were much smaller, as I wasn't griping the handle as tight.
As to lenght, you can always choke up on a long handle, but if you want it longer and it ain't, no amount of wishin' will work.
I started to get a sore elbow so I taught my self to use my other hand to do part of the job. Though I'm right handed, I check the heels of all my shoes left handed and will sometimes catch myself hammering with my lefty without thinking about it.
As to tongs, if the shoe dosent fit flat in the jaws my Govenor couldn't even hold it tight enough. I have a set in for each brand and size of shoe.

Hey Ben,
As I wrote this I wondered, are those worthless tongs you use the ones I sent down there? Now I feel bad. They were made in England, so don't blame me. Are they the shiney ones with the round raines?
Bill

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Hammer Handles 10 Nov 2006 06:28 #11

  • beslagsmed
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I went and worked with Michael Wildenstein. While there he watched me pounding some iron. He took my hammer and cut the handle off real short and said now work. I just looked at him with suprise. He said that was all the handle I was using so just cut the extra off.

We then set in a new longer handle. He then had me work it down real thin. After I found I was using less force which was easier on my hand, elbow and shoulder. Now all my forging hammers have slim long handles and I find I am working less.

Mikel
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(Denmark)
What part of "NO" don't you understand!!

Caution: Watch for hoof in mouth disease!!!
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RE:Hammer Handles 11 Nov 2006 01:10 #12

  • BS-Horseshoeing
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Bill, I am using the tongs you sent, but they are not worthless. They seem to work just fine and fit the size stock they were made for. It just seems that I don't have enough hammer and tong control at the same time to keep the steel from moving. It will just take practice. I kind of like those tongs, they are comfortable to hold. I just need more practice on position.
Ben Sturman
AFA CF #7558

Tough times never last, but tough people do!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, one lick and you will suck for ever!

Folks who think traditional farriery means perimeter fit don't know a heluva lot about shoeing. Tom Stovall,...
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RE:Hammer Handles 11 Nov 2006 01:22 #13

  • Bill Adams
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Ben,
Thats what I meant, those invaluable, irreplaceble tongs.

A rightous man regardeth the life of his beast. Proverbs 12:10
I don't give a damn for a man who can only spell a word one way. Mark Twain
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RE:Hammer Handles 11 Nov 2006 01:35 #14

  • BS-Horseshoeing
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Right now Bill that is exactly what they are. I found a couple of guys to have some practice sessions in the forge with and have been learning and practicing a couple of hours three to four days a week. My hands are so tired I can't even hold on to pee, but that's a whole different problem.
Ben Sturman
AFA CF #7558

Tough times never last, but tough people do!

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, one lick and you will suck for ever!

Folks who think traditional farriery means perimeter fit don't know a heluva lot about shoeing. Tom Stovall,...
The administrator has disabled public write access.

RE:Hammer Handles 11 Nov 2006 03:45 #15

  • Mike Bailey
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Ben what heat are you working at?
Mike Bailey, CJF

"If your not part of the solution,than your part of the problem." Dr. Chick Gandel

Plan for success, Be prepared for failure
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