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Prototype Mechanical Hammer - Built By Dan Dreyer
My Junkyard Hammer:

I started the construction of my junkyard hammer before doing a web search, the idea had never occurred to me, or not knowing anything about of the blacksmith websites such as 'Anvilfire' or the 'Keenjunk'. And also before reading Douglas Freund's power hammer book 'Pounding out the profits'. I had at this time basically exhausted all of my leads for used power hammers and decided to go it on my own when I went to visit Matt Tilton's shop at Ballard WA. (Seattle) to measure and study some 'Little Giants' in order to get some idea of real working machines proportions.

During my visit I noticed a disassembled machine in a warehouse passageway that had a totally different layout plan than the 'Little Giants', to my surprise the shaft journals were crosswise instead of fore and aft like the 'Little Giants'. This machine I later learned was a 'Kerihard'. Having carefully examined the strange looking machine frame, suddenly I knew that there was more than one way to build a power hammer and I set about to design a machine using this information and parts that I already had.

First I decided to eliminate the need for a clutch and its maintenance problems by using an electronic adjustable speed AC drive that I had purchased years before from the Boeing Company. Secondly I wanted to eliminate the flywheel and toggle link assembly used on the 'Little giants' because I thought that it was a messy way of doing things. I had used a 'Howe' or 'Fairbanks' power hammer many years ago while working as a blacksmith for Portland Bolt Inc. and knew that rubber spheres were used in some toggle links instead of springs but I digress. And finally 'Scotchman Industries Inc.' builders of hydraulic ironworkers demonstrate that very functional equipment frames can be fabricated instead of cast. Thus I would choose to fabricate my hammer from steel plate and I would do my best to incorporate pleasing lines into the machine design.

The end result is I think a totally new Power Hammer though similar to two others built in the late 1800's. After reading 'Pounding Out the Profits' I find that the key points of my design were apparently patented in the late 1800's but probably never built. Building time was 60 days from the time that I first purchased the steel plate until the hammer struck its first blow. About 30 days were spent in the machine shop, the balance having been spent 'cruising' junkyards and doing 'vise grip cad' engineering.

Initially I ran the hammer for about one week using it daily to forge with, by then I knew that I could do better and got out the 'hot wrench' and cut out the turnbuckle, its hinge and other loose things to remove their rattles. As I was pleased with the operational characteristics I stayed with the original design and replaced the loose parts with rubber and plastic where I could to make a quieter and smoother operating power hammer. I have used the power hammer now for over a year.


  • Hammer weight 35 lbs. Approximately.
  • Horse Power 1 HP
  • Maximum hit rate: 300 plus
  • Overall height 56"
  • Anvil height 32"

Steel plate was surplused because it was dimensionally undersize 0.487" instead of " It drills and taps with the crunchys as if it were AR plate. (abrasion resistant) The Motor and Drive came from Boeing Surplus. Separate purchases. Hammer 'tup' CNC flame cut blank prior to machining Leaf spring, found in the grass in front of the shop. Hammer guide plates 1045 rem. From Pacific Machine and Tool Steel. Hammer and Anvil are Tool Steel, purchased from Boeing Surplus. The paint color looked like CarTech's color foroil hard. Heat-treated and used as if it was. Used for over a year and I still think that its CarTech Oil Hard.

I expect that the power hammer will be repainted for Flagstaff 2000. The photo shows a two horsepower motor. That has been replaced by a one horsepower motor and I'm going to try running with a three quarters horse motor in the future as a local junk dealer has twenty five to fifty new, in their original boxes, in his warehouse( three phase, probably not too much demand for these).    - Dan

COMMENTS: Dan calls his machine a Junk Yard Hammer above but it is much more. It is beautifuly designed and built. If you look closely you will see dovetails in the sow-block and ram.

Lets hope this hammer makes it to Flagstaff. I'd like a closer look at it!     - guru

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