2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Hand-Forged Tools Created At Blacksmith’s “Hammer Heaven”
He cut his teeth as a young lad working nearly 20 hrs. a day, 7 days a week, stoking coal furnaces in Gary, Ind. One day, while feeding a furnace, he noticed a small billet of red hot steel by the door of the firehole. He pulled it out and pounded it into his first hammer head.
He soon set up Brent Bailey Forge. “Like an old style blacksmith, I service everyone who comes through the door. Gradually a market developed for my hammers and other tools.”
Bailey still does custom projects, but he also turns out what he calls his production line. It’s a wide variety of hammers and blacksmithing tools. Hammers range from 1 1/2-lb. cross-pein hammers for small forging or bench work to 25-lb. sledges. The production hammer line includes framing and finishing hammers, ball-pein, farrier and sword making hammers, as well as a wide variety of other sizes, shapes and types for blacksmithing and general metal work.
Some buyers have reported buying Bailey’s hammers simply for display. Growing demand hasn’t driven up prices.
“I don’t like the business model of if I’m busy, I can raise my prices,” says Bailey. “I tried to create low overhead for myself and constantly try to get better and faster at what I do to keep prices down.”
Faster means that from start to finish, including dressing and polishing the head and shaping the hickory handle, it takes Bailey around 2 1/2 hrs.
A finishing hammer is priced at $150. The small cross-pein hammer is only $60, while a 7-lb., short handled, straight-pein for heavy forging and driving work is $175. Every hammer comes with a forged American Flag key fob and a hand-forged bottle opener.
Bailey is expanding into a line of production axes, beginning with the $195 Middle of Nowhere. It is a shorter handled, 2 3/4 to 3-lb. axe.
“I plan to continue making tools. However I also want to start developing new products and ideas,” says Bailey.
His 88 YouTube videos cover everything from working with a power hammer to punching holes and forging hammers, drill bits, and hardie tool shanks for anvil work. Other videos cover blacksmithing tips and reflections on resources, as well as setting tool handles.
He is producing a series of documentaries about metalwork and metalworkers. These can be streamed from Vimeo for $5 for 1 week. His 54-page, full-color, “10 Hammers” book details how to forge 120 different styles of hammers using open die forging methods. He is now working on a second book on forging 10 types of axes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brent Bailey Forge, 3626 County Road P, Orland, Calif. 95963 (ph 530 228-5388; email@example.com; brentbaileyforge.com).
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