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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
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Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Mon 18 Oct, 2010 11:14 pm    Post subject: Pommel Peening Woes.....         Reply with quote

Hello there,this is my first time starting a new topic ,hope you like it.

Last night I finally finished my august/september project, a hobbit shortsword.Yes,it's VERY short, and one would deem it a long, chunky dagger on sight ,but you have to actually FEEL it to understand why it is definately a sword.My apoligies for not having any pictures yet....

Anyways,all was going smoothly until it came time for final assembly and peening.This was my first time peening a pommel,and things quickly went south Laughing Out Loud I seen Owen Bush using a gas torch when peening,so I figured that would be the way to go.However,I don't own one of those(it's sad, I know),so I used a portable propane torch instead.Same concept,right?So with drool on my chin,I slip everything into place,and with the flick of the lighter and the grin of a mad scientist,I start directly heating the end of the tang.And heating,...and heating.....My patience is wearing thin,and I can tell something is wrong.The pommel is absorbing all the heat.I got the top of it all the way to purple,but that darn tang stubbornly resisted my hammering Confused .In the end,I finally was able to get it to mushroom just enough with a few desperate blows.Miraculously,my wood grip never did burst into flames Big Grin Despite the surprisingly happy ending,I wasn't astoundingly pleased with the results.So my question is ....am I doing something wrong? Or is peening normally a hit and miss pain? Whats the deal? I know there are guys on this forum who could probably peen a blade in their sleep,so knowledgeable replies would be greatly appreciated.

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
Joined: 23 Oct 2003

Posts: 714

PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, I think I had a similar problem once when I tried to peen a pommel. If I am reading your issue correctly it sounds like you are heating the tip with the pommel in place. I know that was I did at first too. What was suggested to me that worked like a dream was to remove the pommel and heat just below the tip of the tang. A small hand propane torch should be fine for this and it should heat the tip to red hot fairly quickly. slip the pommel back on and peen away. Hope this answers your question.
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Arne Focke
Industry Professional



Location: near Munich, Germany
Joined: 13 Mar 2006
Reading list: 34 books

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is also important which kind of hammer you use.
A ball peen hammer is the right one for the job.
And i agree with Joels hint, heat up the tang without the pommel.

Will you show us the result? I am very curious. Happy

So schön und inhaltsreich der Beruf eines Archäologen ist, so hart ist auch seine Arbeit, die keinen Achtstundentag kennt! (Wolfgang Kimmig in: Die Heuneburg an der oberen Donau, Stuttgart 1983)
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
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Posts: 551

PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joel's suggestion is one method and probably the best, as long as you are fast enough at peening and provided that your steel will not air harden and crack while you are hammering on it.
I usually peen cold, having made sure that the peen area is dead soft beforehand. Some alloys are pretty forgiving in this method, and some are less so. There is always a little risk involved in peening.
At any rate you wan to be using a relatively light hammer.
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Dan Dickinson
Industry Professional



Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

Posts: 967

PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Isaac.
Your main problem for the way you're doing things is your heat source. The problem you described with the pommel heating up and the tang not getting red is caused by the fact that your torch is not kicking out enough heat to overcome the pommel acting as a heat sink.
An accetelyne torch is preferable as it heats the end of the tang quickly enough without having the heat spread everywhere. However, if you can't get access to one of those , you want at least a Mapp gas torch (I would reccomend the hose torch model from bernzomatic). Also, be sure to clamp the tang in a vice to prevent any unwanted heat spread to the blade and be sure to normalize the peen after you're done to prevent breakage. Removing the pommel to heat the tang is a possibility, but if you wedge the pommel before peening, a hotter heat source is about your only other option. As Justin mentioned, cold peening can be an option, but it's one I would prefer to avoid at all possible with alloy steels. I would also disagree with Justin about the hammer. A ball peen is the one you want to use, but I find it's easiest to start with a 24oz ball peen to move most of the metal and to finish up with a light model(also keep the heat on the peen area while peening).
Finally, if using the hot peening method, it's easiest if possible to add the grip after peening using the sandwich construction. That way you avoid any issues with the grip burning or the heat loosening the epoxy.
I hope this helps.
Dan
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm glad to know about the pommel/heat sink! I usually end up standing on my workbench beating the hell out the tang to get the job done. Duh. It's easy to overestimate the amount of tang you need for a secure peen, too. Too much exposed tang will have you working for a LONG time, assuming the steel doesn't harden and crack before you have a good peen.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Likes: 32 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey guys,thanks so much for the replies.

I think I like Joel's advice about heating the tang without the pommel best.However,this wouldn't have worked in my situation,because I did wedge the tang before peening.I don't plan on using wedges in the future though,so the technique without the pommel will do fine.
Regarding what type of hammer I used,I WAS planning on employing a ball peen to do the job.But the hammer mysteriously disappeared,and I couldn't find it anywhere.I suspect my little brother took it,as he's always hoarding tools like we here at myArmoury hoard weapons.So I ended up using an ordinary claw hammer. Sad It sounds like Sean was experiencing some of the same frustration I was.Fortunately,I realized that the tang was still to long before starting,so I whipped out my all-powerful Dremel tool(I love that thing) and ground off a few more millimeters.

Also,clamping the tang to a vice to prevent altering the temper is a simple and brilliant solution that I hadn't thought of.Regarding showing the results,I will do that under a new topic as soon as I find enough time for a photography session.

Thanks so much for all the great info. Big Grin

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


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