How to Forge a Hammer for Beginners 2021 [Updated]
As a beginner blacksmith, you will likely have the basic tools and large equipment needed to complete simple projects and experiment with more advanced techniques.
However, somewhere along your blacksmithing journey you will find yourself desiring or needing new tools that you can make yourself. A hammer is just one of these tools that is a great beginner project and an excellent introduction to making more complex tools for your personal workshop.
Blacksmithing hammers come in a few styles depending on the type of work being done, but one of the most popular is a cross peen hammer. This hammer is a multipurpose must-have in your collection of tools.
Making one yourself may seem intimidating, but with in-depth instruction and written and visual aid, you’ll be able to successfully create your first blacksmithing tool.
The following videos and written instructions will guide you as you forge the hammer and create its wooden handle. Don’t worry if you aren’t a skilled wood worker, the process of handle making only requires a few tools and basic techniques.
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This beginner friendly project utilizes tools and materials you are likely already familiar with as a beginner smith. The tools used to make the hammer handle are useful to keep in your shop if you decide to make more hammers or other projects incorporating some wood working.
For the cross peen hammer you will need:
- 40mm x 40mm x 100mm stock
- anvil or other heavy metal work surface
- measuring tools/chalk
- wire brush
- hammer eye drift
- angle grinder
- hard stone disk, 40, 80, and 120 grit disks
For the handle you will need:
- piece of straight grain, hard wood
- measuring tools/pencil
- hand saw
- hand plane
- angle grinder
- metal wedge
- oil/finishing product
Part 1) Forging a Cross Peen Hammer
Using measuring tools and chalk, measure 1 1/2 inches from the end of the block and draw a line to mark this measurement. Repeat around the entire block.
Find the center of this measurement and mark it on opposite sides of the block. This mark shows where the eye of the hammer will be punched.
Punch in a notch to further identify where the eye will go. This does not have to be very deep, but should be the starting point for punching and drifting. Repeat on the opposite side of the block.
Heat the block in your forge and drive the punch further into the notches on either side of the block. Then begin the punching process by driving the punch in further again. Remove the punch and repeat on the other side. Repeat this back and forth process until you punch through the block completely. This process will keep the metal warm and will reduce any irregularities from one side of the eye to the other.
Hammer the drift through the block. This will gradually open the hole further. Keep the drift in the block for the next steps.
Begin hammering one end of the block, holding the block at an angle on the anvil. Create a long taper for the peen of the hammer. Reheat as needed.
Once you’ve defined the taper of the peen, begin lightly tapering the other side of the block for the head of the hammer. Focus on tapering in the corners of the block to create the more rounded shape of the hammer head while maintaining a flat end.
At this point, reheat the block again and hammer the drift all the way through. This will open the eye of the hammer to the desired width.
With the drift still in the hole, refine the hammer’s cheeks as needed. The cheeks should be as identical as possible at this step in the forging process, so work back and forth to even each one out. Any further refining will be done later with the angle grinder.
Remove the drift and hammer the block on the horn of the anvil to further shape the peen. Working it on the horn will create the curved shape of the peen that is characteristic of a cross peen hammer. Refine the edges of the peen and the entire surface of the block with your hammer to remove any irregularities.
Grind the piece to clean up the surface of the hammer and even out any irregularities between the cheeks of the hammer. Begin with a hard stone disk to remove any tough scale from the hammer, then move onto 40, 80, and 120 grit disks as needed.
Part 2) Making the Handle
Begin by hogging out (removing) excess material on your length of wood to begin refining the shape and thinning out the bulk from the handle.
Place the handle in the vice and use a hand plane to shape the handle further. This can be done as much or as little as you would like, keeping in mind that the handle should fit comfortably in your hand.
Mark the direction of the wood grain on the end of the handle with a pencil. This will help you determine the orientation of the hammer.
Remove any moisture from the end of the handle where the hammer will be fitted by holding it over a small flame. Be careful not to burn the wood.
Mark how far down the eye will be driven onto the handle. This will be your guide during the final steps of the process.
Place the handle in a vice and take a measurement of the eye of your hammer piece. Transfer this measurement to the end of the handle as shown in the video.
Saw off the excess material from each side of the handle to fit the eye of the hammer and use a chisel to further refine this shape as needed.
Using your plane, remove any wood from this worked end as needed and round off the bottom of the handle to avoid splitting when hammering the handle through the eye in the upcoming steps.
Hammer the handle in and knock it back out. This allows you to know the exact size of the eye.
Saw a slit into the tapered end of the handle. This will be where the wedge is driven into.
Sand the entire handle with your sanding tools and apply oil or another finishing product as desired.
Hammer the wedge to fit the eye and refine this shape with an angle grinder if necessary.
Remove any scale from inside the eye with a file or a chemical method. This is important to ensure a tight fitting handle.
Seat the handle by tapping it into the eye gradually. Then tap the wedge into the slit made earlier. An epoxy can be applied during this step as added insurance of a secure fit, but it is not necessary.