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Tim Harris
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jul, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Forging Techniques         Reply with quote

I am able to get my grubby hands on a 3 ton swing press, and I'm wondering if any other makers have used anything similar as a forging tool.

Although hammer and and anvil forging is central to what I do, I find that the small inconsistencies I get in blades can lead to distortions in the heat-treat.
My thinking at the moment is that using a press with adjustable depth, I ought to able to produce blanks of consistent thickness that stand a far higher chance of staying consistent after final shaping with the hammer.

Grateful for any thoughts on the subject.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jul, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am still working on the hammer method! Please explain what a "swing press" is. Is this a "treadle" type machine?
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Tim Harris
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Mon 14 Jul, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared,

I have only just come to (sort of) understand how the thing works. I know they were used by plumbers before hydraulic presses became more common, presumably for heavy-duty seating and similar tasks. It uses a weighted arm and a big thread to deliver pressure with one swing of said arm, rather than repeated turns of a screw. Depth of stroke can be adjusted. If you like, it's the thread-driven equivalent of the flywheel press, which I know makes a reasonable power--hammer substitute. It will easily accomodate custom top and bottom tools, so I can see immediate value in it for fullering.

On another tack, I was considering a treadle hammer to save my shoulder, but a knifemaker whose opinion I value told me they are rather troublesome. Any opinions on that?

Cheers

Tim
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Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Mon 14 Jul, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is a treadle hammer some kind of powered hydraulic hammer? We had one of those back in the smithy I used to study at. It was a big, very powerful straight-line motion machine operated by a pedal that increased the rate of hammer blows as the pedal was pushed down.

It was a great tool for rough shaping. If you had a big piece of steel that you wanted to hammer out into a longer or flatter shape it was ideal and saved a lot of time and hard work. It was in no way or form a precision tool, though, so it was still necessary to go back and do the finer shaping by hand. Also, it was a little too strong and easily overdid it if you weren't careful, so I sometimes ended up with a result a bit longer or flatter then I intended.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Tim Harris
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders,

What I know as a treadle hammer is unpowered, opearted by a foot lever. What you describe sounds like a variety of power hammer, some of which have a foot control that does indeed alter stroke speed and/or strength.

One or the other has been on my "things to get if I strike it rich" list, but I'm currently thinking a press might achieve the same result by different means. Three tons of pressure on hot metal would have to do something useful.
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Andrew Davis




Location: USA
Joined: 23 Apr 2005

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well personally I could not advice on the 3 ton swing press unless I saw a photo of it. Did you say you already have means to use it or will purchase it??

In my shop we made the crafty and smart decision to go out to our local industrial hardware retailer and purchase a $800 22 ton log splitter instead of spending thousands on a pre made forging press!

Its was the best decision we ever made for our shop and its stepped the quality of our work up a notch.

All we had to do was made replaceable forging dies to fit onto the cutting blades, and presto! You have yourself a working simple high quality press Happy

It makes pattern welding damascus and straitening long swords so much easier!

We still do hand forging to taper the edges of course, but the press saves so much time and energy!

Here are a couple photos:





http://maddwarfworkshop.com/
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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew,

Nice idea. You're doing exactly what I intend to do, but horizontally with hyrdaulics and a few more tons of impact, instead of vertically with a screw...

I've seen the machine in question, which cost the current owner $100 on eBay. He was using it with custom dies to form and flatten rings for rivetted mail in one operation. Even if I end up only getting better fullers out of it, I think it would be worth the outlay.
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tim,

I have used one of these for punching out shapes in leather before and I know the type of press you mean. I'm not 100% sure of the method with which you intend to use it but must say that I have been reliably informed that they are not designed to impact with any force, but rather to squeeze. The weighted arm is not supposed to be swung with much momentum. It may be well suited to your purpose but I'd hate to see it break!

Please let us know if you decide to go ahead with the purchase. I'd love to hear of your experiences with it.

Darren.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a suspicion that the "swing press" may be the homemade variety of power hammer. Whereas the expensive industrial ones tend to have linear motion and be hydraulic or compressed air powered, many of the self built types utilize a rotating flywheel and cam / off center lever rod to drive some form of oscillating "see saw" arm. The "Appalachian Power Hammers" are a good visual example of what I am talking about. http://www.appaltree.net/rusty/index.htm

Treadle hammers are considered capable of more delicate work, where the operator varies force according to effort input with their feet. These might be preferred for punching/ slitting sword guards. http://home.comcast.net/~thomas23/treadlehammer.htm

I am leaning towards a fly press for the punching operations, but, that is years away.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Tim Harris
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 161

PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darren,

Well, it isn't going to cost me much, so I'm going ahead, and I'll keep you posted on how things work out. If you consider hitting as high-speed squeezing, I should get the right result.

Jared,

We're definitely talking about a different beast. I'll post pics when I get it.
Thanks very much for the links though. The DIY power hammer looks particularly interesting. High-tolerance engineering is not really my strong suit, and that one appears to be well be within my range.
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sun 26 Oct, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi TIm,

Not sure that this page will tell you anything you don't already know but I found some interesting info on this type of thing:

http://www.abana.org/ronreil/flypress.shtml

How is your press going by the way?

Darren.
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