From the bustling forges of blacksmiths to the intricate workbenches of jewelers, one tool stands out for its unique design and multifaceted uses: the cross peen hammer. While the market teems with numerous types of hammers, the cross peen hammer carves a niche of its own.
You might have seen cross-peen hammers when seeing blacksmiths working on metal. But the cross peen offers a much wider variety of uses that makes it one of the most unique hammers.
What is a Cross Peen Hammer?
A cross peen hammer is a hand tool with a flat striking surface on one side of the hammer head, while the other is a tapered end called the “peen”. The peen has a tapered end and a perpendicular orientation to the handle, which lends the tool its name – Cross Peen Hammer.
This tool, with an enduring legacy, has been a staple in the world of metalworking for centuries.
The head is traditionally forged from high-quality tool steel, while the handle can be fiberglass, wood (hickory or ash), or even steel.
Different types of tool steel may be used to manufacture the head depending on the intended application of the hammer. For example, a cross peen hammer intended for heavy-duty forging or blacksmithing usually has its head made of high-carbon steel, given its excellent impact resistance and ability to maintain a sharp edge.
This type of hammer comes in different sizes, but the basic style is simple and functional.
Uses: What is a Cross Peen Hammer Used For?
A cross peen hammer is primarily used for shaping, texturing, and forging metal in various industries such as blacksmithing and jewelry making. Its unique peen design also allows it to perform tasks like chipping away unwanted material and pinning rivets.
Here are some of the most common uses of a cross-pein hammer.
The most common use of the cross peen hammer is to help forge the metal. Metal that has been pulled from the forge so that it is softer and easier to manipulate.
The flat surface can pound the metal flat and spread it out while the peen shapes the material. The peen can also be used to remove some of the metal if it becomes too flattened.
2. Shaping Metal
In addition to metal that has been heated and softened, this hammer can also shape metal that is hardened. It depends on the type of metal, but softer metals can be easily shaped using both the flat and tapered ends.
A common use is in automotive body work where the different parts can be shaped to be put into place or dents removed.
The hard, heavy head of this hammer can be used to chip away unwanted materials. Quite often, it is used before the metal is forged to remove anything that is not wanted. Particularly items that might not survive the heat. It can also be used to chip away excess material from stone.
Also, it can be used after the metal has become heated to chip away excess materials. The tapered end or peen can chip away while the flat striking surface can shape.
Another common use of the cross peen hammer is how it can texture the surface of metal objects. The peen or tapered point can create different designs that may be decorative or serve a specific purpose. Quite often, metal is textured, which adds a unique visual element to the piece.
5. Pinning Rivets
For riveting work, the cross peen can hammer or pin, adjust, and shape each rivet into place. Once in place, the edges of the rivets can be pounded flat to merge with the surface of the metal. This not only creates a neater, more uniform appearance, it also helps secure the rivet into place and may prevent its premature removal.
For those who are considering blacksmithing, the cross-peen hammer is the ideal tool for shaping, texturing, and forging metal. But it also has other uses as well which should be considered.
Who Should Get a Cross Peen Hammer?
If you are a mechanic, jewelry maker, blacksmith or artisan, you should certainly consider getting a cross peen hammer.
In the hands of a blacksmith, a cross peen hammer serves as a primary tool for forging, shaping, and texturing ironwork, transforming a raw piece of metal into intricate shapes.
Jewelers, on the other hand, can use it delicately to shape or texture precious metals, adding artistic elements to jewelry. In contrast, mechanics can leverage the cross peen hammer to shape metal and although a ball peen hammer is better suited to fix dents and imperfections on a vehicle’s body, showcasing its wide-ranging applications across different industries.
- Check Hammer Head: First, ensure the hammer head is securely fixed to the handle. For hammers with wooden handles, inspect the eye part of the hammer to confirm that the wedge is securely in place. Loose hammer heads can pose a significant safety risk and may result in severe injury.
- Eye Protection: Always wear protective eyeglasses when you use a cross peen hammer to guard against flying debris.
- Importance of Grip: Get a hammer with good grip to prevent the hammer from slipping out of your hand. Grips can vary from bare wood or rubber coatings on fiberglass and steel handles.
- Proper Use: Use the hammer in a controlled manner, striking squarely at the work surface to avoid glancing blows.
- Maintenance: Periodically inspect and maintain the hammer for cracks, splinters, loose handles, etc., to ensure it remains in safe working condition.
This humble hand tool has evolved in design and size over the years to suit a wide array of applications. Yet, its fundamental form – simple, functional, and efficient – remains largely unchanged, a testament to its timeless utility in shaping, bending, and manipulating metal.
Today, the cross peen hammer still remains as an essential tool in the arsenal of blacksmiths, toolmakers, artisans, and jewelers alike.