The person-powered hammer has historically been an ingenious and valuable assist to the blacksmith. Today there are several foot-powered (treadle) hammers on the market which are well designed and a nearly essential component of the well functioning artist blacksmith studio. The conventional treadle hammers are large machines which can deliver powerful blows for heavy work and are used while standing. They essentially serve when a striker is not available.
The Persimmon Forge pedal hammer is not designed to do the work of these competent treadle machines. It is designed to be used primarily for the more delicate application of force especially in chasing and repousee
|The operator is comfortably seated and one or both feet are used to apply varying amounts
of striking force with minimal effort. The flywheel design places most of the mass near
the floor, lowering the center of gravity for stability, and it reduces the mass needed in
the hammer head for striking power. The fast return of the hammer head speeds work.
The accurate strikes per minute is approximately twice that of the treadle hammer in
Most work is done on a variety of flat anvils, mild steel, lead, and wood. A tilting mild
steel anvil option allows tools to be worked at an angle to undercut and push up an edge
raising an image on the surface of thick material such as 3/8" thick mild steel (bookends)
or 1/4" bronze (coasters).
This pedal hammer is designed not only for precision work with comfort but also for safety. Holding a chasing tool under a treadle hammer is not recommended since a mis-strike could kick the tool out from under the hammer head and allow the hammer to injure the tool-holding hand. The pedal hammer is designed with redundant safety stops to prevent the hammer from descending to a point more than one-half inch below where the tool is
normally struck which is also higher than the span of the tool-holding hand. No safety
design can be one hundred percent perfect and all powerful tools should be used with care.
The final responsibility for safe performance relies on the vigilance of the operator.
The hammer rides very nicely fully assembled and upright in a pickup bed. The footprint is small enough that the hammer can be placed on its side and ride below the level of the pickup bed sides. It can be disassembled into upper and lower parts for space-conserving positioning.
The advantages of the Persimmon Forge pedal hammer for chasing/repousee work are its redundant safety design, speed of operation, portability in and out of the studio, low cost, and comfortable ergonomics. The usefulness of the tool is not limited to just metal artists
but could be used for some types of wood and leather working.
This pedal hammer was built after considerable planning and experimenting. I use it frequently and I am quite happy with it's operation. Like most other machines its construction process and its operation is inherently dangerous and requires considerable skill and vigilance to mitigate risk.
See my Blog June 2011 entries for measured drawings and comments about my construction process. This information is made available as an explanation of "how I did it" and is not intended to be a recommendation to others. It is offered without charge but if anyone finds the information useful and wants to send me a few bucks to keep me encouraged about continuing this sort of posting - Super!
If you would like to have me arrange to have a machine built for you or certain parts made, assembled or in kit form, contact me for a price quote firm for 30 days.