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It’s always fun to see what reader tmib_seattle is cooking up; this time it’s a few mods to a treadle hammer.  It didn’t quite cut the mustard when he picked it up — it was rusty, and some of the welds weren’t great — but that didn’t turn out to be a problem for him.  A little TLC and some changes in the accessories, and the hammer was ready to smash.

So what does tmib do once he’s finished all his mods and the hammer is up to spec?  He does what any self-respecting Toolmonger would do –- find stuff to smash, and extra points if it’s messy. He graciously put up a few videos of the carnage, to amuse his fellow tool freaks.  We love the smell of flattened marshmallow in the morning.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]
Hammer Smashing Video – Peep [Flickr]
Hammer Smashing Video – Walnut [Flickr]


9 Responses to Flickr Pool: New Life For An Old Hammer

  1. TMIB_Seattle says:

    Thanks for the feature. 🙂

    I love the simple mechanics involved in an item like this, so I couldn’t pass it up when I saw it, despite the rust and broken welds.

    I’m moving to a new house this month, but once I get everything set up (and actually bolted down) I’ll try and get some videos of the treadle hammer in action on actual forging work.

  2. Greg says:

    Great tool for crushing soup, pop and various other can in order to make more room in the recycle bid. Heck, I bet the teenagers would love this job… not.



  3. Pony says:

    I have a feeling I’m going to need to construct some type of splatter shield for my camera once this puppy gets bolted down nice and stable…

  4. Chris says:

    How about some video of the actual hammer mechanism in action? I’m having a bit of a hard time visualising how this works, never having seen one in action myself.

    Also, what’s one of these things used for normally?

  5. tim underwood says:


    The treadle hammer can take the place of a 13 year old apprentice.
    Since the striking is done with the leg, one hand can be used to hold the hot iron leaving the other hand free to handle tools struck by the hammer.
    It is also a great tool for repousse and chasing work.

    Here’s a chased candle sconce.

  6. tmib_seattle says:

    I’ll try and get some more video for you Chris. In the meantime here’s a rough description of how it works:

    The hammer head is heavy- about 74 lbs on this one with the upper die and die holder in place.

    The foot treadle is attached to a vertical shaft with a pivot on its end. This attaches to the lower of a pair of parallel flat bars which keep the hammer head vertical. Because the shaft is attached towards the rear of the flat bar, there’s a lot of leverage between the pivot point and the hammer head.

    A pair of garage door springs run from the middle of the treadle to a threaded rod which runs through the back of the frame. These springs provide enough lift that the treadle stays up, pushing the vertical shaft up, which keeps the hammer head in the upper position.

    Stepping on the treadle pulls down the vertical shaft, which pulls the lower bar/lever attached to the hammer head.

    Properly adjusted, there’s not much downward pressure needed to overcome the spring tension, and the hammer head comes slamming down. You can hit harder or softer depending on how much downward force you apply to the treadle.

    When you take your foot off the treadle, the springs pull it back up, and the hammer head raises back up.

    In my little videos I just slam it down once to smash stuff, but it’s really made for repetitive hits. It’s ideal for forging hot iron when blacksmithing. In addition to being able to rapidly draw out long stock, it also is a great way to punch or chisel items. To do so, you put the hot iron on the lower face, and hold a punch or cutter in place on top of it (with a long handle so your hands are not near the hammer). Then by stepping on the pedal, you can hammer on the punch or chisel to drive it through the hot iron.

    Doing this the normal way with a hand-hammer can be a bit awkward, as you’re trying to hold the iron and chisel while hammering on it at the same time.

    Different combinations of upper and lower dies can be made to forge iron in different ways.


  7. apotheosis says:

    It’d be cool even if it didn’t provide a satisfying new method of Peep death. That just makes it even better.

  8. Chris says:

    Next question: where’d you get it, and how much? I found a lot of places that offer plans to build your own for $25 or so, plus the $200 or so in parts and materials (assuming you already own the welder you’d need), but I didn’t see anyone selling manufactured versions.


  9. TMIB_Seattle says:

    Chris: I bought it from another hobbiest via a discussion email list. He sold it to me for the cost of the materials.

    Centaur Forge sells one for $1325 (http://www.centaurforge.com/Valley-Forge-Treadle-Hammer—fully-assembled/productinfo/TRHAM/)

    That price is similar to others that I’ve seen.

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