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Affordable pressing implement?

keane

Member
Hi everyone, I recently upgraded and built myself a new forge capable of getting to and holding forge welding temps. I've been wanting to get my hands into making some Damascus, and I definitely will hand forge a few billets, but it seems that for larger pieces a press is almost necessary to avoid so much material and time loss. I've been looking around marketplace and kijiji for some pressing implements, and all of them seem to be several thousands of dollars. My shop is pretty small too so I can't built or fit an entire power hammer or hydraulic system: I have a small 10 ton shop press on a manual pump but it seems far too weak and slow to be able to forge out larger billets. I was looking into some hydraulic power packs to be able to convert it from manual to electric, but with the price ranges those are in it may just be worth it to sell it and purchase a better press entirely. Please let me know your thoughts and or if you know anywhere/anybody that could help me with my dilemma. Thank you.
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
There is no free lunch when it comes to moving metal. The actual forge welding you can do by hand, but drawing out for folding/layering would take days, and you'd lose a lot of material to scale during the process just because you'd need so many heats to do the work. For making Damascus you need to tonnage and speed to move the metal. A hydraulic forging press is probably the most bang for the buck machine to accomplish that. A tire hammer close behind.

I face the same dilemma. I've done a small one (1/2sqx3") by hand and quickly decided that a Hydraulic forging press is among my next big projects for the blacksmithing shop (press first, tirehammer 2nd). I'm still tossing around ideas about how to build it, while accumulating steel and parts for cheap off marketplace and kijiji in the meanwhile. Also watching every video I can find, and reading all the posts about press builds too, just to get ideas about what works, and what doesn't. There are a bunch of them out there to pick and pull ideas from, some better than others.

Another option is to build a roller. If you're mainly into making billets for knifemaking a roller would be very handy. I still think a press is the most versatile all around though. A roller would be a great add on.

There are a lot of knifemakers that use coal ironworks presses on youtube. Take a look at their lineup, and decide for yourself. Not terribly difficult to make yourself, and if you can scrounge the parts over a period of time, it'll certainly come out cheaper. If you need it right now, for money making projects, them buying is the best option.
 

djberta

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
If you’re at a real budget you can make a trip hammer or power hammer, just a sledge hammer, some angle and a motor. Guys have even made most of it out of wood. Air over hydraulic presses come up online for sale all the time would work as well. Purpose built stuff is nice by its money and then look at how much use. One guy I Worked with made a press with a hydraulic cylinder and heavy channel. Look up power hammer or forging press from scrap.
 

keane

Member
There is no free lunch when it comes to moving metal. The actual forge welding you can do by hand, but drawing out for folding/layering would take days, and you'd lose a lot of material to scale during the process just because you'd need so many heats to do the work. For making Damascus you need to tonnage and speed to move the metal. A hydraulic forging press is probably the most bang for the buck machine to accomplish that. A tire hammer close behind.

I face the same dilemma. I've done a small one (1/2sqx3") by hand and quickly decided that a Hydraulic forging press is among my next big projects for the blacksmithing shop (press first, tirehammer 2nd). I'm still tossing around ideas about how to build it, while accumulating steel and parts for cheap off marketplace and kijiji in the meanwhile. Also watching every video I can find, and reading all the posts about press builds too, just to get ideas about what works, and what doesn't. There are a bunch of them out there to pick and pull ideas from, some better than others.

Another option is to build a roller. If you're mainly into making billets for knifemaking a roller would be very handy. I still think a press is the most versatile all around though. A roller would be a great add on.

There are a lot of knifemakers that use coal ironworks presses on youtube. Take a look at their lineup, and decide for yourself. Not terribly difficult to make yourself, and if you can scrounge the parts over a period of time, it'll certainly come out cheaper. If you need it right now, for money making projects, them buying is the best option.
Thank you Dan for the detailed response, you're completely right in saying that it's gonna cost a reasonable amount of time effort and or money. Keep me updated if you figure out any good designs, I'm pretty familiar with CAD software so finding parts and designing and building one will probably be my best bet, since time is not a huge deal for me. The roller is also a great idea, I'll look into those some more as well.
 

keane

Member
If you’re at a real budget you can make a trip hammer or power hammer, just a sledge hammer, some angle and a motor. Guys have even made most of it out of wood. Air over hydraulic presses come up online for sale all the time would work as well. Purpose built stuff is nice by its money and then look at how much use. One guy I Worked with made a press with a hydraulic cylinder and heavy channel. Look up power hammer or forging press from scrap.
Thanks for the info, I'll look into finding some parts second hand and try and build something.
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
This was a concept I drew up last year based on material I had already lying around. Uprights are 3x3x3/8" angle, and the platten is mostly 3/4" plate. Only thing I've left to buy is the cylinder and valves.
YaRHIW2.png

A few changes I'd make before building, mostly to the upper guides, but it'll have to wait as the bank account is bone dry at the moment. I want to have the cylinder on hand before starting. I might also invert it, to conserve vertical space as my shed is a bit tight for room. Undecided about that yet.
 

keane

Member
This was a concept I drew up last year based on material I had already lying around. Uprights are 3x3x3/8" angle, and the platten is mostly 3/4" plate. Only thing I've left to buy is the cylinder and valves.
View attachment 48718

A few changes I'd make before building, mostly to the upper guides, but it'll have to wait as the bank account is bone dry at the moment. I want to have the cylinder on hand before starting. I might also invert it, to conserve vertical space as my shed is a bit tight for room. Undecided about that yet.
Looks great, gonna look to marketplace and kijiji for some scrap and parts to see if I can make something similar on a budget. I'll also have to wait a bit to save for the parts, but thats all just part of the process. Thanks.
 

djberta

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Looks great, gonna look to marketplace and kijiji for some scrap and parts to see if I can make something similar on a budget. I'll also have to wait a bit to save for the parts, but thats all just part of the process. Thanks.
Keane where are you at? If your in Alberta I could give you some heavy pipe, I think I might have some heavy angle as well. We are moving from Leduc to Airdrie so some of it is going to end up on kijiji at some point.
 

keane

Member
Keane where are you at? If your in Alberta I could give you some heavy pipe, I think I might have some heavy angle as well. We are moving from Leduc to Airdrie so some of it is going to end up on kijiji at some point.
Thank you for the offer, but I'm located in Ontario. Would be quite the drive lol, but I appreciate your offer.
 

Ironman

Ultra Member
Looks great, gonna look to marketplace and kijiji for some scrap and parts to see if I can make something similar on a budget. I'll also have to wait a bit to save for the parts, but thats all just part of the process. Thanks.
I have 3 pieces of 8x8x6ft I beam for sale or scrap that will be perfect for that model.
 
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