The Perfect Forging Hammer

My main forging hammer – 2.5 lb. cross peen

Forging iron requires hard hitting and good hammer control. Having a well designed and efficient hammer is essential if you want to produce good work and last the entire day without your arm becoming too tired and/or sore. The weight of the hammer head, the shape of the hammer head, and the shape of the handle all need to be considered when making the perfect forging hammer.

Some would say the heavier the hammer the better. But that’s not necessarily true. When considering the formula for kinetic energy, it is seen that acceleration is the more important factor over mass in producing energy. Other factors being equal, a faster swing at a lower weight is better than a slower swing at a heavier weight.

Obviously you will need a heavier hammer for larger material, but if you’re mostly making average size home decor and tool projects, it is good to have one “go to” hammer which can handle 90% of those projects. In my opinion, a well balanced 2.5 pound hammer is the best weight for this.

gstongs hammer
Japanese style hammer by GS Tongs

The balance of the hammer refers to the amount of weight on each side of the handle. A perfectly balanced hammer will have equal weight on each side. A front heavy hammer will have more weight on the main face side. A Japanese style hammer has all the weight on one side.

I personally prefer a slightly front heavy hammer as it produces a dropping effect and (possibly) helps with acceleration. But that idea is probably just in my mind. I am not a physicist.

The most common forging hammer will have a cross peen on the back side of the hammer. The cross peen is used for spreading out material. You can orientate the peen in others ways to suit the type of spreading you want to do. The peen should be quite flat with rounded edges. With my hammer (pictured above) I made the peen quite wide as I find this works better for what I want it to do. But of course, the narrower the peen, the narrower the fuller it will produce.

The face of the hammer should be close to flat with a slight crown. The edges of the face should be rounded as sharp corners will show in the work piece. Some guys like to work with a rounding hammer which has a pronounced rounded face, like a squished ball. This shape can be helpful when drawing out material. But the peen of the hammer and/or the corner of the anvil work well for that as well.

The gripping part of the handle should fit your hand comfortably. I like my fingers to completely reach around the hammer so that they just touch the ball of my thumb. You don’t want to have to grip the hammer too tightly as that will cause fatigue and soreness in your arm.¬†You should mainly grip the handle with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb. This allows the hammer to pivot as you swing causing a whipping effect as you bring the hammer down. The handle should not be shaped round, but rather with a square/oval shape. This will better conform to your grip.

I shave down the handle between the grip and the hammer head to a relatively small circumference. This creates a spring effect in the handle and helps dissipate the shock of the hammer blows so the vibrations don’t travel up to your arm.

So this is the perfect forging hammer: A good weight you can work with all day; a properly shaped face and peen; balanced on the handle to your liking; a handle which fits your hand comfortably; and a handle which correctly dissipates shock vibrations from reaching your arm.

Happy forging!


Ten Red Flags Indicating Narcissism

queenNo one wants to work under a narcissist. Below is a video by Dr. Les Carter on identifying a narcissist. He gives ten flags:


  1. tend to be critical
  2. don’t care about your emotions or feelings unless they want to manipulate you
  3. try to highjack conversations
  4. lack reflective thinking
  5. excuse their mistakes
  6. insist things always go their way and are not flexible
  7. turn conflicts into contests
  8. exaggerate their positives, minimize their negatives
  9. are materialistic and impressed with external success and power
  10. closed minded, impatient, and shallow

Watch the video….


Like People, Like Priest

I am a western English speaking Christian worker in Cambodia. I administrate a Christian elementary school. This position is a good fit for me for both general and specific reasons. It is generally a good fit because I like kids (usually), I care about kids being discipled for Christ, and I care about education. It is specifically a good fit for me because, as the administrator, I am able to work from behind the scenes and let much of the forefront decision-making be done by local people. Why is that important to me? Because I want my work to reach and be effective to Cambodians, and that best happens, in my opinion, when Cambodians work with Cambodians. As the old Khmer proverb says: Only the spider can repair its own web.

bbbAnd such is the principle of Like People, Like Priest; people will follow those they can relate to. If you’re an English speaking expat starting up a church in an Asian city with a high population of English speaking expats, don’t be surprised when the people coming to your church are all English speaking expats. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are honest with yourself and admit that you are the pastor of an expat church and not the pastor of a Cambodian/Thai/Burmese, or whatever nation you happen to be in, church. If you wanted to be the pastor of a church of nationals, there are some major steps that need to be taken to do that, mastering the language for example, and you might find you are unwilling/unable, for various reasons, to take those steps.

Being honest with yourself about what you are truly capable of doing is the first step to finding the right fit for your life and being an effective participant in the building of Christ’s kingdom. Who can you connect to? Who can connect to you?

Were You Duped by the Gillette Ad?

Were you, like myself and thousands of others, duped by the Gillette ad?

How do you know if you were duped?

You took sides.

And if you took sides, and defended the ad, I’m guessing you are liberal leaning. And if you hated the ad, you’re probably conservative leaning.

Here is the problem with that: Does a liberal’s definition of a good man and a conservative’s definition of a good man differ a whole lot? I’m guessing not. If you asked a conservative to write a list of ten things describing what a good man is, and asked a liberal to do likewise, I’m pretty sure those lists would be nearly exact.

Then why did the Gillette ad cause so much division?

Because it was designed to.

If Gillette truly cared about encouraging men to act as good men, could they not have created an ad which would offend no one and create no division? Of course they could. It’s not hard. Simply portray a variety of men acting in a variety of good ways in a variety of situations: A man holding a door open for a woman; a man defending someone against bullying; a man working with inner city kids; etc…. Create an ad like that, but do not infuse into it any accusatory or preachy tone. That ad would encourage men to act well and it would offend no one.

gillette women blue suits

Gillette does not care about men behaving well. Like an arms dealer making millions selling weapons to both sides of a war, Gillette is playing the culture war hoping to increase its profits. If, in ten years, Gillette believes it can increase profits by appealing to conservative men, you can be sure it will create the appropriate ads to do that. With this latest ad, Gillette seems to be targeting progressive liberals.

So lets all agree that there are both good men and bad men out there, on both the left and the right, and that most men are trying to be good men. And also, lets all agree that a multi-billion dollar corporation, like Gillette, is not the best place to look to for our moral standards.

Related reading

PS… Why are men buying Gillette razors anyway? They’re a rip off! Go and get yourself a Merkur safety razor, along with a box of a hundred blades, and you’re set for decades.