The Lie of the Giant Hammer


The Lie of the Giant Hammer

or Why Sometimes Smaller is Better

Hammers. You can’t really forge without them, but which to use?

New people tend to gravitate to the largest hammer that they can, thinking that the bigger the hammer, the harder the hit, the easier to move metal. The problem with that is that if they can’t hit what they’re aiming at, it doesn’t matter how large the hammer is. The end up missing, overstressing themselves, damaging the anvil, denting the hammer, and not being safe.

This is the kind of hammer I use for day-to-day forging:


This is called a French Cross Peen hammer. It weighs slightly more than a pound. It’s light, agile, and I can hit any spot I aim for. If I’m working on an excessively tough steel, I may grab a 3 pound hammer, but that’s about it unless I’m striking for someone else and I’ll use a sledge; but that’s a rare occasion.

It’s just far too easy to hurt yourself or others by using a hammer that’s too big. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been a body builder for years, try a smaller hammer and work your way up.