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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

This page last revised on 6 Nov. 2003

Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

If you're going to build a Grasshopper Treadle Hammer, you should know why. I have no axe to grind here. If you need or want a treadle hammer, it is not necessarily a given that the Grasshopper Treadle Hammer is the machine for you. To help you decide, I'm providing links to and information on other treadle hammers. Plans are available for some of these of these. Jere Kirkpatrick sells a kit. The "Big Lick," Richard Sheppard sells complete. Oliver Hammers

Basic Oliver Hammer Olver Hammer at Old Sturbridge Village All-Steel Oliver Hammer

Modern Swing-Arm Models

Otto Schmirler Nahum Hersom Gade-Marx Jere Kirkpatrick Clay Spencer / Hans Peot Uncle Al's Paul Morneault

Vertical-Motion Models

Richard Sheppard's Big Lick Otto Bacon Bob Warner Clay Spencer's Vertical-Motion Model Grasshopper

Oliver Hammers

An Oliver Hammer was a sledge mounted on a pivot with a treadle to pull it down and a spring to pull it back up.

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

Illustrations thoughtfully provided by Kevin Hall. Return to top.

Oliver Hammer at Old Sturbridge Village (ca. 1992)

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

Photos by Schlosser at beautifuliron dot com (That's all the name he gives on his webpage http://www.beautifuliron.com/old.htm) Return to top.

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

An all-steel Oliver Hammer. Click here for commetary. No plans available, but you might be able to figure it out from this photo.

Modern Swing-Arm Models

Otto Schmirler's Treadle Hammer From his book, Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Work and Methods of the Artsmith), as reviewed by Jock Dempsey: http://www.anvilfire.com/bookrev/ This may be the oldest hammer of this type. This machine is mounted to the wall, so is not moveable.

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Nahum Hersom's Treadle Hammer This space reserved for photos by Ron Reil of Hahum Hersom's treadle hammer. (Unfortunately, I'm having difficulty downloading these, and will have to get them off another computer on which I have already successfully downloaded them.) This treadle hammer was apparently based upon that of Otto Schmirler, which it resembles. Nahum made some changes in the design, which may not be entirely clear in the photo's I'm posting. See Ron Reil's posting to alt.crafts.blacksmithing on Nov. 16, 2003, "Nahum Hersom's Treadle Hammer, & Misc Tools Images."

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Gade-Marx hammer

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

(Plans formerly sold by ABANA, now sold by Pete Stanaitis)

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Jere Kirkpatrick's Treadle Hammer Kit

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

This hammer is evidently quite similar to the Gade-Marx hammer, above. The spring mounting is different and would give this hammer a different feel from the Gade-Marx design. The one Marshall Bienstock built is made to strike work or tooling at least 4 to 6 inches above the anvil, and the hammer will not even return on his hammer when all the way to the anvil. (Possibly the springs could be adjusted otherwise.) This results in less return force against the foot, making the hammer easier to use. (Kit sold by Jere Kirkpatrick's Valley Forge and Welding)

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Modified Treadle Hammer Plans by Clay Spencer and Hans Peot. (Plans sold by ABANA)

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

This is the famous "Clay Spencer" treadle hammer with the adjustable head height. (Photo from Rick Leeson's website.) Two adjustments are made to accomodate high tools, like a "Smithing Magician" (aka a "guillotine tool"). The head is raised or lowered by means of a crank (rack and pinion) on the rear frame and the treadle linkage is lengthened or shortened by means of a hand wheel mounted on the linkage. Both of these adjustments are made from the side of the hammer. Plans may be purchased from ABANA: http://www.bookmasters.com/abana/plans.htm

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Uncle Al's Treadle Hammer

This hammer is sold complete at http://www.riversidemachine.net/item16378.ctlg. It appears to be a variation on the Spencer/Peot design, but I don't see an easy way to raise the head and arms - only to adjust the treadle linkage. Perhaps that's just not clear in this photo.

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Paul Morneault's Treadle Hammer

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

This picture was posted by Ralph Sproul, apparently from a New England Blacksmiths' meeting. Frankly, I'm not sure what I'm looking at. It appears to be a swing-arm-type treadle hammer, but with each arm composed of two struts and a cross strut. That seems unduly complicated, and I don't see the reason for it. The treadle linkage is the Y-shaped thing going down the middle. It looks like the anvil is a 1" thick plate supported by two steel cylinders about 3" or 4" in diameter. I'm not sure where that lamp fits in - maybe it's behind the hammer. The real puzzler, though, is the red bar in front of the lamp and behind the anvil. It seems to be supported on two (green) arms, which may move out of the way, but it really looks in this photo like it's in the way of the hammer, so I'm confused. I expect there's a degree of sophistocation here that is not obvious from this single photo. If anyone can provide elucidation, please do. I'll contact Ralph or Paul when I get a chance, but I don't know when I might get around to it.

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

Vertical-Motion Models

The Big Lick Treadle Hammer Tick Creek Forge

Photo used with permission. Photo credit: Fred Holder - The Blacksmith's Gazette A compact, well made treadle hammers of a unique design. The patent is pending. This is a vertical-motion treadle hammer working on sliders. These hammers are sold assembled. To purchase one of these hammers, contact: Richard Sheppard P O Box 146 Bruceton Mills WV 26525

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

(304) 379-7450

(This listing from a compilation by Dr. Mark. E. Williams.) Return to top.

Otto Bacon's Treadle Hammer: (Click here for a better picture) Sorry about all the blank space that follows, but that's how it is posted.

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Bob Warner's Treadle Hammer

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

As the text around the picture says, Bob Warner has made plans available for a simple in-line treadle hammer more-or-less similar to those of Richard Sheppard and Otto Bacon. There is a discussion of this treadle hammer at http://ckdforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19961 along with more information. If interested contact Bob: http://www.serviceusa1.com/serviceusa1/Contact.htm

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Clay Spencer's vertical-motion treadle hammer.

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper

Photograph courtesy of Dave Mudge.

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(Photographs courtesy of Jim Binnion) Treadle Hammer Plans The new design in-line Treadle Hammer uses plastic skate wheels to guide the head in a straight line. 18 page, parts, list, drawings, assembly instructions. (Has been listed at $9 postpaid, but contact Clay for current price.) Clay Spencer 934 Partridge Lane Murphy, NC 28906 (828) 837-0708 [email protected]

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And, of course, the Grasshopper Treadle Hammer.

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Photographs of Grasshopper Treadle Hammer constructed from preliminary plans courtesy of Cameron Stoker. For additional details, click here. Drawing of final version of Grasshopper Treadle Hammer by Bruce Freeman.

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Note the left-hand crank on the former and the inverted J-tube on the latter. These represent the change in the kickback adjustment mechanism, which has been improved and simplified in the final version.

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Return to the Grasshopper Treadle Hammer home page.

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Treadle Hammers Other than the Grasshopper