Anyone made a Clay Spencer Tire Hammer?

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I was wondering if anyone here has made one of these. I am considering giving it a go but I am sure I will have questions.
I want to go to one of the classes. Problem is there seem to be none anywhere near the Northeast (Im in Western MA)! I also contacted Raymond Head he will build and ship one to you. I have a friend that has an earlier one with 50LB head he enjoys it. The newer style head is closer to 70 or 75 pounds and they addressed some issues with earlier hammers. If I had the machining capabilities and a good source for steel I would probably give it a shot. Ray quoted me around $4100 about a year and a half ago delivered. I was trying to figure how to handle it once it got to me and was laid off (No more toys!!).
 

Casey Brown

Well-Known Member
Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing does a yearly class to build one. They charge $2500 for the weekend, and you drive away with a power hammer. I may have to do this eventually.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
For that $4100 figure you're approaching the cost of a 33lb Anyang air hammer.

I have a close friend who owned a 33lb Anyang, and sold it, thinking it wasn't big enough. (I taught him Blacksmithing over 25 years ago, and he only does ornamental work)
He then went to one of the Tire Hammer workshops about 2 years ago, built a Tire hammer, brought it home, and initially loved it.

But, after several months of using it, he started to complain about how much maintenance/adjusting it required, and how the hammer had gotten "really sloppy" with time/use.

As time went by, he was either fixing or adjusting it on almost a daily basis. Several times he asked me to come to his shop and help track down problems. What I saw on his Tire Hammer was not nearly enough lubrication points/grease fittings..... parts were wearing way too quickly.
I also noticed that his hammer had been assembled with grade 8 bolts....which is a big "NO, NO" with hammers. You always want to use the softest bolts/pins you can find....because you want the bolts/pins to wear instead of the parts. It's FAR cheaper and easier to replace a bolt or a pin, versus having to buy materials and fabricate new parts. In the case of his hammer, we had to rebuild toggle arms because the grade 8 bolts had nearly worn through the eyes. At the same time we also replaced the grade 8 bolts with "dead soft" pins. ;)
I spent one day shimming the slide/tightening the stroke, and other times helping install grease fittings and/or replacing parts here and there.

He recently sold it, and has his name on the list for a 33lb Anyang, but the next shipment isn't coming in until August.....then he's going to drive to Texas, pick it up, and bring it back. He said he wished that he had never sold his Anyang, and that after using a air hammer, he didn't think he could ever be satisfied with a mechanical hammer.

To add to that, I have owned a 110lb Say-Mak air hammer for over a decade now, and aside from adjusting the drive belt ONCE, the only thing I've ever done is add oil. The moral of the story? While I dearly loved my Little Giant Hammers (I owned/ran a 25lb and a 50lb in my shop for over 20 years), when you consider the long term cost and the maintenance and adjusting requirements, there isn't a mechanical hammer out there that can hold a candle to even the smallest of air hammers (like the 33lb Anyang. I'd say that if you want to be using a hammer, versus working on it/adjusting it, go for an air hammer if there's any possible way. With a couple extra sets of dies, you'll be able to tackle just about any job, and aside from adding lube to the hammer, you'll rarely ever have to maintain it. Just thoughts/input from someone who's been on both sides of the fence, and found which side is actually "greener" :)
 
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opaul

Well-Known Member
Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing does a yearly class to build one. They charge $2500 for the weekend, and you drive away with a power hammer. I may have to do this eventually.
I like those guys. I took a forging class there and forged a bearded hatchet. Nice shop and space.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I have always wanted to go to John C Campbell Folk School. They teach many blacksmith classes. Including one on Celtic style blades.
 

Dan Pierson

Well-Known Member
I want to go to one of the classes. Problem is there seem to be none anywhere near the Northeast (Im in Western MA)! I also contacted Raymond Head he will build and ship one to you. I have a friend that has an earlier one with 50LB head he enjoys it. The newer style head is closer to 70 or 75 pounds and they addressed some issues with earlier hammers. If I had the machining capabilities and a good source for steel I would probably give it a shot. Ray quoted me around $4100 about a year and a half ago delivered. I was trying to figure how to handle it once it got to me and was laid off (No more toys!!).
New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, ME had a class/build session a couple of years ago. I know of couple of people who went. One still has his hammer and is happy with it (he's primarily a sword maker), the other sold or traded it off but he's a wheeler dealer and always doing that.

You might contact them to see if they plan another one.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, ME had a class/build session a couple of years ago. I know of couple of people who went. One still has his hammer and is happy with it (he's primarily a sword maker), the other sold or traded it off but he's a wheeler dealer and always doing that.

You might contact them to see if they plan another one.
Thanks for the info. I planned on going there for a class in general but I think they have canceled them because of Covid?? I'm hoping just to go up there and take a class or 2.
 
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