John Martin of Oklahoma, USA


John Martin, a bladesmith from Ocmulgee, OK, built this power hammer from the Rusty plans.  
The 60# hammer, built with mostly new components and scrap steel, cost $678.65.
(Photo by John Martin)

john martin and his power hammer from rusty plans


Oklahoman Discovers "RUSTY", the Appalachian Power Hammer

As a part-time bladesmith working over 40 hours per week in my shop, I decided on a mechanical hammer to assist me in the construction of my pattern-welded blades. I found the ABA website on the Internet and contacted Jerry Allen for a set of “Appalachian Power Hammer” plans. 

Knowing that a factory-made hammer was not an option for a variety of reasons, I set out to build the best hammer I could afford. By purchasing new components whenever possible and buying scrap steel at 15˘ per pound, the total cost, with tax included, was $678.65

The base is 5/8” plate (20” x 42”.) The pivot point for the spring is 72”. The springs are professionally treated 5160 with the longest being 42” and the shortest 30”. It has a 7” throw with a 60# hammer. The anvil was fashioned from a railroad car axle.

The bolt-on dies are made from treated 1040 steel. The die height is 34”. The pulleys are factory made with the large one being 16”. The drive belt is a 78” A-type. The idler pulley fits a 1984 Mustang. A jackshaft was made from 3/4” all-thread rod. I made the turnbuckle from 3/4” nuts and 5160 1/4” x 12” x 1” bars. A modified extension cord carries 110 v. to a handy box which is mounted on the sand-filled 4” square center post. The motor is 1 HP. Pillow block bearings support the 1-1/8” dia. main shaft. The foot pedal is the same diameter and the extensions are 1” rebar.

It took me a month to build RUSTY, which isn’t bad for someone who had never welded or used a cutting torch until this project. The hammer is here in Okmulgee, OK. It runs smooth and strikes very hard blows.

Thanks to Jerry Allen and my friends, Rob Weber, Reese Lane, and Howard Williams, I now have a machine that can flog steel like it was a galley slave!  With Jerry’s permission, I have donated the “RUSTY” plans to the Dewey, Oklahoma FFA chapter for their 2004 Oklahoma State Fair project.

Sincerely,  John A. Martin

Appeared in the December, 2003 issue of the ABA Newsletter

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