Beating metal into submission


100% agree…we need a ventilation system so we can quench inside


Something to consider, have we looked into making our own power hammer. I was looking into making my own a few years ago, and came across something called an “Appalachian power hammer” that looked easy to make and source materials for. From what I remember, it didn’t hit that much harder than a human could hit, but it could hit a lot more regularly and a lot longer than a human arm could (maybe faster too?)


The challenge with quenching inside isn’t just ventilation, it’s also the flame flair up you get when oil quenching.
One of the accounts the company I work for regularly inspects does a lot of oil quenching, and we recharge 10-20 fire extinguishers every couple months. And this is professional manufacturering facility with well trained employees.

The much better option, which we have talked about in committee meetings, is improving access to the gas forges, the first two steps towards this have already been completed. Namely onsite propane and a smaller forge. Still working on making things mobile and training, storage room is also an issue for the moment


There is what do I need to get started in blacksmithing … you don’t need a power hammer or much

and the other question …

what do I need to be successful in blacksmithing without wasting my time …
Yes, you can cut wood with a hand saw … but the woodshop is full of tools that will cut your hand off …


The answer isn’t “power hammer.”
The answer is “practice.”


I totally agree. Practice comes first … no doubt but … easy answer …
Everything takes this if you want to be good!

The answer isn’t just practice.

You are saying, just because one person isn’t practiced in an art that we should think that everyone isn’t experienced.

I get where you start. I get it, really I do. That is not my point.

My point is that other places in the space do not see it this way. They know that others out there are ready for bigger tools. This is one of the reasons we have the space. To provide tools that we couldn’t afford ourselves. This is why woodshop in expansion has a very large space, all the power tools. Tell them to go back to hand tools because they don’t have enough practice and they will question your sanity or think you are joking.


Well, you’re kinda all over the place here and I don’t really feel like playing the “Draco hypothetical game” today, but here’s my best shot at explaining why I think you are both wrong and ill-informed about the desirability of a power hammer as honestly and as directly as I can.

  1. It’s about budget- blacksmithing does not have the budget for a power hammer.

  2. It’s about interest- blacksmithing is a growing part of the space, but is harder to get into than some others for a lot of reasons. Most people pickup basic skill in woodworking, ceramics, painting, sewing, electronics, computers, machining, etc… in a lot of different ways like work, school, or general exposure in ways that they don’t with blacksmithing. It takes a special effort to learn because it’s not commonly encountered. If you want to practice, you have to make a special effort. Thus, the users of our stuff are far fewer than some other committees (like woodworking). If there were only 10 woodworkers at the space, you’d see a lot less powermatic…

  3. It’s about manpower- More training required tools mean more classes on those tools, which necessitates more teachers. Put simply, we don’t have 'em. I teach more blacksmithing than anybody and it’s all I can do to keep the induction forge and the open forges being taught on a regular basis. As we currently sit, we couldn’t safely teach all that people would need to know to safely operate a power hammer. This is especially when the vast majority of interest in the tool comes from folks uninterested in the underlying skillset and who want to make ALL TEH SWORDZZZ. It is vastly harder to teach someone to be skilled and safe when they are looking for the shortest way to make deadly wallhangings because it requires way more oversight.

  4. It’s about priorities- In a world where Blacksmithing had unlimited resources, space, and teachers, we’d totally get a power hammer. We don’t live in that world. As a result, we have to make choices regarding how to spend what we do have. In analyzing the availability of those resources and the utility of the tools available for purchase, we have placed a power hammer very low on the priorities list. There are a lot of reasons why- other tools more greatly expand our capabilities, other tools are inherently safer, other tools are less time consuming to teach, other tools are less impactful (hehe) on the foundation, other tools are less disruptive to others via the noise and vibration they create.

At the end on the day, many of us started this hobby because we like swinging a hammer and don’t view this tool as the necessity that forged in fire might make it seem.


This is why we are working on getting a forge press, look them up and what they can do it’s pretty great.

You seem too keep over looking it and focusing on power hammer, which simply isn’t the best solution right now.


Chicken and Egg.

You get tools that people want and show them that they can build experience to make things they actually want, you will have more people,

I think the forge press is a great step in the right direction as long as we have a gas forge next to it.


Probly not gonna…


do we have the budget to make our own small, low power hammer?
and while I do agree that the power hammer isn’t the best thing for novices (I wouldn’t use it for example) what about the people who aren’t novices and have the practice to properly use a power hammer?


Not right now.

I dunno… That I could name off the top of my head, there’s about 5 or 6 people out of the entire current membership that fit that description. I suppose those folks will have to settle for developing very strong hammer-arms; or donate a hammer if they really want us to have one.


You aren’t looking broad enough. I’m not saying that we have to have a power hammer. Not at all. I’m saying this goes with any tool. There are people out in the public that have all kinds of skills and many want to learn. If there are not examples of the work being done, or that spark of possibility and the skill being shown, it is a hard sell. We have to show what can be done to those looking on to us. This goes with any committee and any tool. Until they say … wow, I want to do that and Dallas Makerspace is the place to do it, you will only have a handful of people.


I disagree. I posted, in detail, why the hypothetical would be a bad idea. It’s infeasible on at least 4 levels and myopathy isn’t one of them.

Good! Because that’s what this thread is about and it’s a bad idea.

I don’t think it’s that hard of a sell. We’ve got a bad ass induction forge, two propane forges and lots of cool tools. We’ve introduced around 200 brand new people to the Art this year. Our classes still fill up.

I think we show plenty of cool stuff- just not power forging. When we get a press, we’ll show 'em that too.


Wonderful to hear!

I think DMS has lots of cool stuff too … :slight_smile:

If we get one … I’m sure it will be popular …


Huh? You lost me on this one. Of course it does. In other news: water is wet, the sky is blue, and irrelevant comments are… well, irrelevant.


The post and even the quote you quoted… in which you replied to wasn’t about one committee but all committees and tools. … DMS as a whole

I said …

We have to show what can be done to those looking on to us. This goes with any committee and any tool. Until they say … wow, I want to do that and Dallas Makerspace is the place to do it, you will only have a handful of people.

You said …

I think we show plenty of cool stuff- just not power forging. When we get a press, we’ll show 'em that too.

I took that to mean “we” as DMS…


Ahh, gotcha.


@EthanWestern mentioned that a forge press is on the horizon. This will provide many of the benefits that a power hammer would provide (namely moving thick/large/high carbon steel more quickly) without some of the negative aspects of a power hammer (namely noise and the inherent issues of rapidly moving parts).

The press seems like a better fit for DMS blacksmithing.


I love the idea of a press. I hope we can get one.
I just hope that the induction forge is up to what we want to do with it. :wink: