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Do-It-Yourself Power Hammer For Blacksmiths
For about $1,000 and 100 hrs. of gathering materials and construction time, you can make your own power hammer with a unique drive mechanism.
    “This Tire Hammer uses an emergency spare tire and rim mounted on a trailer axle and hub,” says Clay Spencer, who sells plans and leads workshops to build the tire hammers. The retired NASA mechanical engineer has a passion for power hammers because they’re so handy for any blacksmith – amateur or professional.
    He developed the design based on a sketch on a napkin by inventor Ray Clontz, who gave him permission to build and create plans.
    It’s driven by a 1 hp, 1,750 rpm, single phase, 60 cycle, 120/240 volt, frame 56, (TEFC preferred) electric motor. A flat pulley (3 7/8-in. dia.) is mounted on the motor. The motor is pivoted by the treadle action, so the pulley rubs against the tire to drive the hammer downstroke. This “clutch” provides outstanding control, says Spencer, because the harder you push on the pedal, the faster the tire spins. It delivers up to 270 blows a minute and will cut through 2-in. thick metal in about 20 strokes.
    Spencer’s design calls for a 50-lb. hammer and a 6 by 36-in. solid anvil. The 6 1/2-ft. column that supports the hammer and drive is made of 1/4-in. wall, 5-in. square tubing.
    “We have made 371 hammers in workshops across the country,” Spencer says. Blacksmiths get together to plan a date and spend three weekends doing preassembly before Spencer arrives for the final weekend. His fee is a tire hammer and mileage from his home in Alabama.
    “This is a difficult and demanding project to build correctly,” Spencer says. “The welds must be done strong enough to hold everything together. The pins must all be parallel to prevent wearing out the bearings. The hammer head must be aligned to the anvil correctly so the dies will hit evenly, and the tire and crank must be properly positioned to line up with the toggle mechanism and guides.”
    Still, he notes, it’s a project many farmers and ranchers have the skills to complete, as well as parts on hand to reduce the cost. He has sold several hundred copies of his plans with 20 pages that include a materials list, drawings and complete directions.
    Spencer also offers workshops on making 450 tools to go with the tire hammers, and he has designed two styles of treadle hammers. Spencer teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C., in a blacksmith shop named after him.
    To see his hammer in action, go to www.farmshow.com to view a video.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clay Spencer, 73 Penniston Pvt. Dr., Somerville, Ala. 35670 (256 498-1498; clay@tirehammer.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #2