May 14th, 2004

Little Giant

2nd axe head

Finished the forging on the 2nd axe head. yay. Used the power hammer, which some consider cheating, but as far as I'm concerned it partially makes up for not having an apprentice or three around the place to do the heavy hammering, cleaning, and to take the abuse that they so generously deserve after I've had a hard day. S.C.F.T.H.I.

Anyway, hammer's working well, despite not having fired it up in a while. 83 year old equipment, that's lasted that long, tends to be robust anyway. Had to replace the plug on the motor, don't remember what happened to the old one. Generator fired up on the first pull, the hammer's flywheel started spinning, and the 50 lb ram made short work of hammering the edge out flat. I should use it more often.

As a comparison, hammering out the first axe head by hand took about eight heats and probably close to half an hour to finish. Using the power hammer, two heats, and about 5 minutes. This doesn't include the time spent rewiring the plug, lubrication on the hammer (front bearing zerk, rear bearing zerk, middle bearing zerk, treadle zerk, plus free oil in the two Babbit bearing oil cups, on the treadle hinge points, the oiling holes at both ends of both arms, on the ram slideway, and the four holes in the ram head guide), and putting on the additional protection (heavy welding gloves, face shield, leather apron, cap.) still, very much worth the effort.

After hammering out the edge, I did some final shaping, then normalized twice and started annealing, utilizing the vermiculite tub this time as I have run out of gas and did todays hot work in the coal forge. I should have time to finish it up next week during any free evenings that may evolve.

P.S. what do you think of the new user images? Power hammers and anvils.