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close this bookBasic Techiques of Blacksmithing: A Manual for Trainers (Peace Corps, 1982, 102 p.)
close this folderDay 5
View the documentSession: 16. Forging a Cross-peen hammer
View the documentSession: 17. Forging cutting tools: the wrapped-handle knife

Session: 16. Forging a Cross-peen hammer

Total Time: 4 hours


* To discuss types of scrap steel suitable for making hammers
* To forge a cross-peen hammer
* To identify and discuss the forging of other types of tools that may be made from a hammer head blank


* Attachment 16-A, "Forging a Cross-Peen Hammer"
* Andrews, pages 78-82

Materials: Examples of scrap steel suitable for hammer-making; e.g., car, truck and rail axles, rail car springs, etc. (see Steps 1 and 2); one section of truck or car axle (half-section between gearbox and wheel) per station; a prototype hammer blank finished to the point of dressing and tempering.


Step 1. (5 minutes)
Briefly explain the objectives and draw the group's attention to the display of scrap metal for hammer-making.

Step 2. (10 minutes)
Ask participants to explore the assortment, to identify each item, and to discuss why the scraps are appropriate for making hammers.

Trainer Notes

* Have the group refer to the scrap pieces' previous uses and describe the steel grades and properties.

* Ask participants:

- Have they seen these and other scrap pieces used for hammer making in local forges?
- If axles are not used in local hammer forging, what type of material is?
- If hammers are made from material other than axles, are they case-hardened?

Step 3. (15 minutes)
Distribute Attachment 16-A, "Hammer Illustrations" and discuss the procedure of forging a cross-peen hammer. Show an example of a hammer forged from an axle.

Trainer Notes

* Explain to the group that, using the illustrations in the attachment as a guide, they will cut off one end of an axle and forge their hammers to the point of grinding or dressing.

* Stress that, as no step-by-step demonstrations will be given until grinding and tempering, it is essential to carefully study each illustration.

* Have the participants study the pictures one-by-one, and describe the process depicted in each.

* Mention that each step in the process may take several heats to accomplish.

* Briefly demonstrate the striking technique on a piece of scrap axle and have several in the group try it with you.

* Point out any important details which they have missed, and ask for questions and clarifications.

* Encourage the participants to rely as much as possible on the illustrations, their own experience, and the skills and knowledge of others in the group while working through the activity.

Step 4. (2 hours)
Have the participants forge the hammers.

Trainer Notes

* Check in with each team periodically but offer assistance only when necessary.

* Help the groups identify errors or incorrect techniques by referring them to the illustrations and discussion during Step 3.

Step 5. (10 minutes)
When the hammers are forged, demonstrate grinding or dressing techniques using the unfinished prototype.

Trainer Notes

Emphasize that:

* Edges on both peens should be rounded and smooth so that no marks will be left on the work.

* Faces should be as polished as possible.

Step 6. (60 minutes)
Have the teams dress and anneal their hammers.

Step 7. (5 minutes)
Describe the tempering process for the hammers.

Trainer Notes

* Explain that the hammers will continue annealing through lunch and early afternoon. By the end of the next session, they will be ready for tempering and time will be provided.

* Also mention that participants may wish to make handles and mount their hammers during free time or open shop.

Step 8. (10 minutes)
When all the groups have finished, facilitate a brief discussion on the experience of learning to forge a hammer using drawings as a guide rather than demonstrations.

Trainer Notes

Stimulate response by posing these questions:

* Did the participants find out most of the vital information before or during the forging activity.

* How were problems resolved? By asking the trainer for help? By observing others in the group? Through trial and error?

* Does the group understand the process and feel comfortable with the skills involved in hammer-making? If not, why not?

Step 9. (5 minutes)
Ask participants to identify and discuss the forming of other tools which may be made from a hammer blank.

Trainer Notes

* Have the group scan the tools in the forge area for ideas.

* Ask them to give examples of other tools they have seen used at their worksites which may be formed from the hammer blank.

Attachment 16-A


Forging a cross-peen hammer

Direction of hammer

Direction of hammer blows should be at 45° angles to the anvil and away from each other for safety.