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Just bought some body hammers...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Giovanni, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Giovanni
    Member

    I just bought a 10 piece Martin body and fender set off of Amazon. I looked over the hammers and dollies carefully and noticed two defects that i think will affect performance. I might just be a little anal because i dropped 300 dollars, but these are my first and i seek the almighty wisdom of the H.A.M.B.
    On the medium pick hammer, The point of the pick is not smoothly rounded. There is a flat off to one side that extends all the way to the tip.
    And on the chisel hammer, the edge of the chisel on the handle end is rounded off. The edge facing away from the handle is a sharp corner.
    I haven't done a whole lot of swinging yet, but from what I've read any imperfection in the hammer will show up in every blow from the hammer.
    I'm inclined to contact Martin at 30 bucks a hammer, or am i making a big to do about nothing?
    I can post some pics tomorrow
     
  2. ModelEh1931
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 90

    ModelEh1931
    Member

    A few body hammers I have bought from Martin are not perfect....very good quality pieces most of the time...IMO Snap On has the best quality and balanced hammers.

    Body hammers should be dressed and prepped before you use them.....basically taking the sharp edges off the face with a file or sander(so they do not leave smiley faces on the panel) and polishing the face with 400-600 grit.

    Overall, if the defects can be filed or sanded out, I would do it....could be a hassle to go through all the complaint and return scenario.
     
  3. JKerb
    Joined: Jun 5, 2008
    Posts: 91

    JKerb
    Member

    Martin are great hammers, you won't be disappointed. About the imperfections, you can sand and re-polish the faces and picks/chisels. I've sanded and polished all the hammers I have many times,( bodyman 17 years), they sometimes are perfect when you get them most of the time they need a little modifying. Best thing to do is sand the problem areas with a dual action sander set on grind with some 120grit, take care of the imperfections then polish them with progressively finer grits ( I.e. 240 then finish with 600 ).
     
  4. 52pickup
    Joined: Aug 11, 2004
    Posts: 833

    52pickup
    Member
    from Tucson, Az

    Yes, imperfections on the face of your hammers and dollies can transfer onto the metal you are working. However, unless you are working a piece that is going to be polished, any slight marking from your hammer and dollie work will be taken care of with a coat of primer.

    I don't think I've ever bought a hammer that I didn't have to dress to get it to my liking. Take a sander with 80 grit and shape to your liking, then hit it with a DA 80, 180, 320, up to however high you feel is necessary, then if you're really OCD about it you can polish them out on a buffer to a mirror finish.
     

  5. Got a file ?

    For $300 each, they should be perfect.
    For $30, some minor fine tuning may be necessary.
     
  6. bikersteve
    Joined: Oct 19, 2008
    Posts: 155

    bikersteve
    Member

    you will dress and redress them many times over their life...no reason not to start with them now......even on high end hammers you will end up tweeking the handles and face to suit the way you use them.....are they wooden handles? if so you can sand and shape them for a perfect fit
     
  7. 48 Chubby
    Joined: Apr 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,015

    48 Chubby
    Member Emeritus

    Due to theives, sons, several divorces, and two major fires I have bought many body tools. The one set I bought used from an old body man needed nothing. The rest of them needed some help before they were fit to use.
     
  8. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,628

    Squablow
    Member

    I grind on my hammers to make them work for whatever I'm doing to them, I ground my pick hammer down to the nub, then ended up welding on a new "pick" end which was just a cut off air chisel pick. That's why I buy cheap ones, if I have to constantly grind and file them to my liking, a $5 one is as good as a $50 one.

    Then again, my anvil is a cut up chunk of train track and some of my dollies are old hammer heads that the handles broke off of.
     
  9. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,092

    bct
    Member

    my favorite dolly for hammer welding is a 1 1/4" x6" bolt grade 8....dressed on the end .....lots to hold on to, less bounce, less work.
     
  10. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Giovanni
    Member

    thanks for the input guys. the weight and balance feel awesome. I'll grab my favorite abrasives and go to work. I got hickory handles biker steve.
    Cant wait to start knockin' some tin!
     
  11. fleet-master
    Joined: Sep 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,770

    fleet-master
    Member

    hammers only as good as the guy swingin it.... imo
     
  12. matthew mcglothin
    Joined: Mar 3, 2007
    Posts: 970

    matthew mcglothin
    Member

    agreed!
     
  13. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,274

    Koz
    Member

    I love and cherish my Martin hammers and dollies. All of them have been dressed and polished many times. After a while they become old friends and they just talk to you. Like said above, tune to your liking. They are the best I've ever found. As a side note, the hardest to be friends with is a good shrinking hammer. My favorite, an old Martin 153S, has been tuned up a dozen times and is the only hammer in the shop no one else dares to touch! When "on" a good shrinker will move metal like you won't believe.

    If you would like several of us could probably post pics of out favorite tuning tecniques. Everybody has their own style.
     
  14. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Giovanni
    Member

    Thanks Koz. I took my medium pick up to 600 grit, then hit it with some mother's polish. It's like a fun house mirror :) I went with martin because i've heard nothing about good things. I'm glad i went with them. I had to take about 1/8" off the length of the hammer to get rid of the flat, which seemed like a bit much to me, but there's still plenty of metal left :)
    I'll post a picture tonight. I'd love to see some of everyone elses
     
  15. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,238

    the metalsurgeon
    Member
    from Denver

    exactly right! but there are a lot of fools think because they have a 'snap on' hammer in their hand it makes them a true craftsman!


    my metal work blog ,including homemade hammers! www.themetalsurgeon.com
     
  16. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,258

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Hey, Koz;

    If you're still willing. I'd like to see your "tuning" techniques. Others, too.

    Only have a few hammers & dollies, now kinda rusty from non-use. So they need to be cleaned up anyways, & I may as well see how it's done correctly. Still need to get a decent set of hammers, + a shrinking hammer, didn't know they needed "help". Always learning...

    TIA.

    Marcus...
     
  17. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,238

    the metalsurgeon
    Member
    from Denver

    shrinking hammer,save your money there,they stretch the material rather than shrink.

    my metal work blog www.themetalsurgeon.com
     
  18. fleet-master
    Joined: Sep 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,770

    fleet-master
    Member

    started my apprenticeship with a $5 garage sale set of hammers n dollies.Still use them now and then. Anyone starting off into bodywork in no way needs to spend big dollars on hammers n dollies. Make your own dollies if you have to it ain't that difficult. I've ground some of my old cheap hammers to suit all kinds of accent lines etc in panels.
    If you don't want to marr the surface of the panel your working on ...stick a couple layers of masking tape on the hitting face. Works just as good for most jobs as a highly polished face and saves hours of sanding n polishing..!!
    TIP....don't swing a panel hammer as if your bangin in nails...roll your wrist and strike with glancing blows. when you've got this down pat..THEN you might benefit from a high dollar hammer thats got better balance to it.
    again my .02
     
  19. fleet-master
    Joined: Sep 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,770

    fleet-master
    Member

    and yea the term 'shrinking hammer' is really a bit of a misnomer. We weren't allowed to use shrinking hammers till we'd got to grips with a smooth faced hammer :p
     
  20. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Giovanni
    Member

    Thank you for the input. That is some incredible work on your blog fleet-master.
    I agree that good tools don't make good metal shapers, but think that bad tools can cause bad habits.
    I was going to post pics and then my apartment was broken into and computer stolen. It just so happens that the first bump i dinged out was still on the camera memory card. I have since smoothed it out a little more with a spoon.
     

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  21. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,939

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    Hey Giovanni,

    The Falcon quarter is commin along great! May I suggest you learn to raise low spots in a damaged repair by raising them with the corner of a dolly or by lite on-dolly hammering? The pick end of a bumping or dinging hammer usually does more damage than good, and if you ever move on to restoration work/repair one of the first things a good show judge looks for is ''pecker tracks'' behind a repaired panel!:eek:

    The balance of the repair work to that quarter should give your forearm a good workout:D

    " Meanwhyle, back aboard The Tainted Pork "
     
  22. heyitsnate
    Joined: Apr 8, 2004
    Posts: 1,699

    heyitsnate
    Member
    from tacoma,wa

    i prowl swapmeets for older body hammers. I'm a fiend for plumb hammers.
    old cars-old tools. some good advice in this thread, the only thing I'll add is lock them up when not in use!!!
     
  23. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,939

    pimpin paint
    Member
    from so cal

    Hey,

    Also keep an eye out for Plomb body hammers! I seem to recall a legal tiff between Plomb & Plumb & what would become Proto. All of these are great body tools, and gettin tougher to find, everyday:eek:

    " Life ain't no Disney movie "
     
  24. super plus
    Joined: Dec 14, 2006
    Posts: 566

    super plus
    BANNED

    I have had & used only one body hammer for almost 50 years Snap On . Tools don't make a mechanic
     
  25. tooljunkie
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 209

    tooljunkie
    Member
    from manitoba

    my favorite pick hammer is one i found in a box of various junk that was given to me.broken handle -welded a piece of thin wall pipe from the same box of junk.
    its light and just seems to do what i want it to.dollies are mostly chunks of round stock and pins from old heavy equipment.
     
  26. Giovanni
    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 173

    Giovanni
    Member

    I tried using off dolly hammer first, but found i was just spreading the damage. I ended up hammering it out with a dolly on the back side, alternating from one side of the ridge to the other. It was tough because right next to that dent, was a ridge running down the inside of the quarter, where the two flanged pieces were welded together.

    Definitely need to get some off dolly practice!
     
  27. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,851

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    You might be just hitting with too much power. When working off dolly, the hammer is pretty much just used to set off vibrations, that let the dolly move the metal easier. Not to actually move the metal itself. Most beginner tend to use too much force with most things like this. Again, practice, practice, practice. Also try moving the hammer either closer or farther away from the dolly until you get it right.
     
  28. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    fab32
    Member Emeritus

    I've got several body hammers and not a new one in the bunch. One of my favorite swap meet activities is scrounging around in those boxes of misc. crap looking for that hidden gem. When I score a good one I spend hours cleaning grinding and reshaping it to do whatever I need it for.

    Frank
     
  29. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,238

    the metalsurgeon
    Member
    from Denver

    you can move the metal with the hammer using more side wards glancing blows.You can use an aluminum hammer,aluminum does not stretch the material versus steel faced hammers allowing you to move the material in conjunction with the dolly.

    my metal work blog www.themetalsurgeon.com
     
  30. fleet-master
    Joined: Sep 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,770

    fleet-master
    Member

    trying to metal finish right on a body joint like that isn't easy to learn on. Poss best to bump up the leaded area a little higher then file it back down to flush. Again ...its an awkward area to metal finish but at least the lead will most of the time bump up without cracking...unlike bondo. If it was bondo you'd just have to dig it all out and redo it.
     

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