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Casting copper hammer heads ?

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Rich250230/06/2022 18:46:03
79 forum posts
2 photos

I have acquired a copper hammer with no inserts, I know nothing about casting and only want to roughly cast these two heads, what would be the easiest way to do it with common items?

One thing I have got is a copper recycling bin so no shortage of metal.

noel shelley30/06/2022 19:12:07
1445 forum posts
23 photos

Starting from nothing it would be cheaper to buy them. The list of things you would need is a very long one ! and also the skill to be able to run a furnace, make the molds Etc ! Good Luck Noel.

Simon Williams 330/06/2022 19:25:26
662 forum posts
82 photos


finished result.jpg


Lead's a lot easier. Just sayin'

Rgds Simon

JohnF30/06/2022 19:38:03
1175 forum posts
193 photos

Just search for Thor hammer spares and you can buy the copper or hide inserts for a few pounds -- not worth the trouble of making them I think


PS Simon like the lead casting method ! I cast lots of lead bench vice jaws.

Simon Williams 330/06/2022 19:42:57
662 forum posts
82 photos

FWIW I played much the same tune on an old (hammer), though my ambition fell short of casting copper . But I did discover that their fitting is essentially a one trick pony, as the cast iron head is crimped around the copper insert to hold it in place. Un crimping cast iron isn't going to work.

I'm guessing casting in situ with copper is dodgy. 1093C melting point is going to be interesting, no?

I imagine the insert - if annealed - would retreat into the original tapered socket if hammered home enthusiastically, I haven't tried it.

If it is of any interest I found the thread where I played with this, and got (as ever) detailed advice about what I'd taken on courtesy of the forum. Here's the link.

Thor's Hammer

Do let us know how you get on.

Robert Butler30/06/2022 20:53:26
403 forum posts
6 photos

With no inserts is it a copper hammer?

Robert Butler

pgk pgk30/06/2022 22:47:48
2605 forum posts
293 photos

Out of interest: If one were to mix pieces of lead with copper chips while heating the lead to it’s melt point and giving it a stir before pouring into a mould...
Would the copper be coated enough with lead to stick properly together as it floats to the top and effectively be a copper topped lead insert? Flux needed?


Simon Williams 330/06/2022 22:57:20
662 forum posts
82 photos

PGK's following a line of reasoning I've been chewing over most of the evening.

The problem with using lead is that, while it's cheap and easily obtained, its shortcomings as a hammer material are obvious. So what alloys with it to make a harder, more durable material without passing into the realms of red-hotness and its attendant dangers?

Tin is one such. But it's expensive and AFAIK difficult to obtain, at least in the quantities desired.

I've never worked with Woods metal - though the prospect of a hammer which melted in the sun is an interesting concept. How hard is it at room temperature I wonder?

Silver/lead solders get a rotten press, might be just the thing here! £ouch!

Do we have any metalurgists aboard?

noel shelley30/06/2022 23:15:47
1445 forum posts
23 photos


Simon Williams 330/06/2022 23:18:13
662 forum posts
82 photos

Where to buy it?

And how much per (say) kilo?


Edited By Simon Williams 3 on 30/06/2022 23:20:49

And (looking at its properties on Wikiarsenic) would one be better off with the perils of 1000+ degC?


Edited By Simon Williams 3 on 30/06/2022 23:22:48

Michael Gilligan30/06/2022 23:43:17
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

Copper is a good material for the job [with a nice balance of properties] but personally, I prefer screw-in plastic faces on a lead-shot weighted head. [of the hammer, that is !]


Simon Williams 301/07/2022 00:26:35
662 forum posts
82 photos

Copper Hammer

Coincidence. Honestly!

John Olsen01/07/2022 02:51:07
1256 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

Speaking as someone who owns two copper faced hammers, I'm not actually all that convinced about the value of them Copper work hardens, to the extent that it will bruise mild steel. Since the whole point of a softer faced hammer is to avoid bruising things, it seems to me that lead or plastic is actually a far better bet. So mine are mostly of historic interest...they were made from pieces of copper locomotive boiler stays. I keep meaning to buy one of those hammers with lead on one face and plastic on the other, but so far mostly just put a piece of wood in between the hammer and the item that needs persuading.


Martin Kyte01/07/2022 09:37:55
2798 forum posts
53 photos

Mine has Hide on the opposite end.

regards Martin

Mark Rand01/07/2022 09:38:05
1314 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Simon Williams 3 on 30/06/2022 19:42:57:

FWIW I played much the same tune on an old (hammer), though my ambition fell short of casting copper . But I did discover that their fitting is essentially a one trick pony, as the cast iron head is crimped around the copper insert to hold it in place. Un crimping cast iron isn't going to work.

They're malleable iron, not grey iron. Thor give a drawing of a suitable press tool for expanding and contracting the heads with their fitting instructions on the web site.

I do find that the rawhide ends are more useful for a lot of things than the copper ends.

The youf of today look at you askance when you talk about 'soft hammers' laugh

noel shelley01/07/2022 09:59:46
1445 forum posts
23 photos

YOUF ! it goes with their soft life ! Noel.

Nicholas Farr01/07/2022 10:01:13
3421 forum posts
1592 photos

Hi, I made the tools as per Thor's instructions for swaging the hammer for fitting new hide's, but when trying to open the rim big enough to get a new hide in, the rim fractured and some of it broke away.

tools for copper#hide hammer.jpg

I did though, acquire a second hand hammer that had a loose dried out hide, which actually broke up and fell out after many uses and the rim just happened to be just wide enough to squeeze my new hide in the above photo and it was successfully crimped in using the closing tool without any fracturing. To be honest though, the hassle of replacing these is more trouble than they are worth, in my opinion.

Regards Nick.

Juddy01/07/2022 10:33:53
106 forum posts

Lead fumes are highly toxic, be careful casting lead

Hopper01/07/2022 10:47:55
6694 forum posts
347 photos

Copper hammers are traditionally used for belting motorcycle flywheels into alignment. But they do, as mentioned above, tend to work harden and leave "babies' bums" on the steel flywheel rims. I like Phil Irving's (designer of the Vincent) suggestion to instead swing the flywheels, held in hand by the rods, against either a lead or hardwood block firmly attached to the bench. Much more sensible.

When I worked on full-sized steam turbines, we cast our own lead hammers using a piece of 6" pipe split as a mould and a bit of 1" pipe as handle. They worked well but deformed very quickly. They came complete with a monstrous 6'2" Albanian tradesman's assistant who loved nothing better than to swing them as hard as he could until they were a mangled mess.

Edited By Hopper on 01/07/2022 10:52:20

Michael Gilligan01/07/2022 10:50:17
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by Nicholas Farr on 01/07/2022 10:01:13:

Hi, I made the tools as per Thor's instructions […]


Thanks for the link, Nick

… I agree with you conclusion !!

Time for the forum to devise a better repair-scheme ?


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