Beautiful hand forged ironwork designed and made for you by Joe Babb

I just moved my shop to a new building.  I’ve got twice the space that I had before plus a level concrete floor.  Moving the power hammer was an adventure.  It is a Little Giant 25 lb mechanical hammer that I bought eons ago and rebuilt.  In order to move it with my little truck crane, I disassembled as much as I could to lighten the frame.  So now I am re-assembling  it and remembering all the folks who helped me with information.  This was in the early 80’s before we had the web and youtube.   One of the things that has fascinated me about blacksmithing over the years is the community of folks and their willingness to share knowledge.

My hammer was built in 1949.  I bought it somewhere around 1980.   I dug out the old worn out babbit bearings and poured new ones.  I had a new main shaft machined along with a new bronze bearing for the rear pulley/flywheel/clutch.  I bought a new spring and two sets of dies, one flat, one drawing.  After I had been using it for a while, I attended a class on working with tools under the hammer dies.  So then I added a brake.  It has been one of those constant improvement things for so long.  Now I am putting it together once more and changing the motor mounting so I can more easily oil the motor.  I’ve added a power switch to the front guard, and I’ve finally fixed the yoke that engages the clutch assembly.  The yoke is shown below, held in the vise prior to adjustment.


The next picture shows the problem.  I think this yoke must have originally belonged to a larger hammer.  Even so, I used it this way for many years.


Putting something like this in the fire is always a little intimidating or worrisome to me.   One never knows what stresses it has been through.  It looks like it was drop forged originally, then bent into shape.  I looked at the thing carefully.  But I knew that even if I ruined it somehow, I could make another.  It’s handy having your own blacksmith shop!  So into the fire.


The very nice thing about a coal or charcoal fire is that you can build it up if you need to heat a specific area of an odd shaped piece.  After a few heats, and a few adjustments via hammer-anvil-tongs-vise, and a few tries.  It fits!


It fits on the other side too, by the way.