Ballpeens and Bronze

1988fxlr

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I’ve been playing around lately with hammering on a cutdown cracked ZBT with some mixed results, and today decided to try swinging a hammer at a real cymbal.

The victim is a 1980’s 20” A medium crash weighing a not so medium 2452 grams. It wasn’t a bad sounding cymbal to begin with but it took such a blow to open up as a crash that it would throw off your timing compared to other cymbals and was too high pitched to be a pleasant to play ride for more than a few measures. I read a few online resources on hammering which suggested that bottom hammering would lower tension, so I started with that working from the edge in an inch at a time rotating the cymbal as if it was an 8 lug drum being tuned.

It needs to rest to get a real idea of what I’ve accomplished, but it sounds promising. Lower pitched and much easier to open up now.

Anybody have any experience with home rehammering and have any tips to share of what to do or not do? I’d really appreciate any direct reports of others experiences before I give this one another go
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2oo2

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That hammering looks neat, evenly spaced and not overdone. I’ve seen some cymbal smiths hammer in a radial pattern (a “pizza slice” from bell to edge at a time), but your strategy may make more sense for an already-hammered cymbal. Did you hammer on opposite sides for each circunference (like actually tuning a drum) or just placed one hammer mark next to the other?
 

1988fxlr

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That hammering looks neat, evenly spaced and not overdone. I’ve seen some cymbal smiths hammer in a radial pattern (a “pizza slice” from bell to edge at a time), but your strategy may make more sense for an already-hammered cymbal. Did you hammer on opposite sides for each circunference (like actually tuning a drum) or just placed one hammer mark next to the other?
I went to opposite sides for each circumference. My initial intention was to just do the outer couple inches and then wait a few days to do more to try and learn what affect hammering each area has, but then I got carried away
 
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1988fxlr

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Are you using wood for the anvil?
A section of steel railroad track on a section of log. I need to dress the face still, and grind a bevel on one side to make top hammering less dicey but curiosity overcame caution and patience today. I also need to talk somebody into torching some holes through the base so I can lag bolt it to the log. Not the most sophisticated setup, but its a start
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Sequimite

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I have a railroad track anvil but, strangely I also have a cylinder anvil with flat top and rounded edges rather like what I just saw on Craig Lauritsen's "Hammering 101" except that mine has a small hole in the middle. I say "strangely" because I can't remember where I got it and have no idea what it is actually for but I've always used it as an anvil. I also bought a bunch of hammers from in iron worker moving sale so I'm going to try this. Like you I'll work on some cheap cymbals to start but the cymbal I have in my sights is similar to yours: it's a 20" Bosphorus Traditional ride weighing 2548 grams.
 

1988fxlr

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I have a railroad track anvil but, strangely I also have a cylinder anvil with flat top and rounded edges rather like what I just saw on Craig Lauritsen's "Hammering 101" except that mine has a small hole in the middle. I say "strangely" because I can't remember where I got it and have no idea what it is actually for but I've always used it as an anvil. I also bought a bunch of hammers from in iron worker moving sale so I'm going to try this. Like you I'll work on some cheap cymbals to start but the cymbal I have in my sights is similar to yours: it's a 20" Bosphorus Traditional ride weighing 2548 grams.
Something round for an anvil would definitely simplify the process for top hammering. Once you start experimenting I’d love to hear how different hammers create different responses. I’m pretty sure the 48oz ballpeen I’m using is overkill but it seemed more appropriate than a claw hammer
 
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Sequimite

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I'll get some photos tomorrow. Just about to start BBQing for a couple of hours and then I'll eat and collapse.

edit - My brain caught up while at the BBQ. My iron worker friend Joe made my BBQ table from a leftover 30" piece of granite. He became ill, couldn't pursue his craft anymore, and left for the South Pacific. I got the anvil as well as the hammers from him. He used it as an anvil but it didn't start out life that way.
 
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Sequimite

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Rougher than I remembered; I'll have to spend some time with a sander. It's 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide, keyed, with a threaded hole for a bolt, about 20 pounds. Cast iron, not the tempered industrial steel that Craig L favors. It might a mill riser, which run $300 to $400 in this size so I have hopes that it is well made and will continue to hold up as an anvil.
 

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1988fxlr

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after some time to rest, I’ve given the old a two more hammering sessions. On the last session I hammered in a slight flange from the bottom a couple inches in and did some light hammering from the top in the last inch to the edge. This dropped the pitch considerably but has made it pretty washy.

I need to come up with a better anvil solution for top hammering so I can reintroduce some tension and see where I’m at. I’ll probably scare up a sledgehammer head to start with.

Today I gave another band of bottom hammering a few inches from the bell. At the moment that seems to have lowered the pitch and increased wash while cutting overall volume, but I suspect after a couple days rest the result will be more subtle
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Bronzepie

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I’ve been playing around lately with hammering on a cutdown cracked ZBT with some mixed results, and today decided to try swinging a hammer at a real cymbal.

The victim is a 1980’s 20” A medium crash weighing a not so medium 2452 grams. It wasn’t a bad sounding cymbal to begin with but it took such a blow to open up as a crash that it would throw off your timing compared to other cymbals and was too high pitched to be a pleasant to play ride for more than a few measures. I read a few online resources on hammering which suggested that bottom hammering would lower tension, so I started with that working from the edge in an inch at a time rotating the cymbal as if it was an 8 lug drum being tuned.

It needs to rest to get a real idea of what I’ve accomplished, but it sounds promising. Lower pitched and much easier to open up now.

Anybody have any experience with home rehammering and have any tips to share of what to do or not do? I’d really appreciate any direct reports of others experiences before I give this one another go View attachment 560154
Be careful with underside hammering, you can create lots of nasty situations. There’s not much reversing what you do in this craft. Every hammer blow against an anvil spreads the bronze outward so keep that in mind. Looks like you’re hitting pretty hard. Your end goal dictates your hammering. Detensioning doesn’t require a lot of hammering, and where you loosen it up matters. You can put tension back in, but keep in mind that’s more hammering, thus raising the profile and moves all your perimeters around and new variables are introduced. Next thing you know, your chasing a new and different mystery dragon and will loose sight of what does what in your learning process. For what you’re after, lathing would be a big help. If you don’t have a lathe, practice on stainless steel to get the basics of hammering shape and tension. Save your cymbals for down the road mods once you have a feel for cause and effect. Perhaps set this one aside and come back to it. Machine shops have chunks of steel scrap laying around that you can pick up really cheaply. Even better, high carbon tool steel stakes. Square stock is fine too if that’s what they have. That straight edge is actually helpful. Tool steel is best, especially if hardened, but plain steel will work in the meantime, you’ll just have to resurface more often. Some loss via impact absorption. Railroad yards will offer up car truck roller bearings for free. Ask a RR guy for one. A bit small (3x3) but good steel.
 

Bronzepie

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Nicky Moon is starting a 5 day class. That would get you past the lone wolf learning curve.
 

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The anvils Zildjian had in the factory (hard to see in this old ad picture, but was undoubtedly what was still in use there there on top log)… they were thick, square, cast iron anvils, with three sides of the square contoured and one side flat (if you can imagine that). They were great…Probably a 75lb casting that wedged into a log.

The flat zone was key, for doing flat work and the inside of cups. I imagine that since these were a casting, it helped to deaden the blow (less springy) compared to the steel anvils I’ve seen.

What’s the level of interest if could get these reproduced? Ping me if interested.

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Some Google investigation: The Canadian Zildjians look to have what we had in Norwell, and what I’m talking about.
 
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1988fxlr

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View attachment 564815
The anvils Zildjian had in the factory (hard to see in this old ad picture, but was undoubtedly what was still in use there there on top log)… they were thick, square, cast iron anvils, with three sides of the square contoured and one side flat (if you can imagine that). They were great…Probably a 75lb casting that wedged into a log.

The flat zone was key, for doing flat work and the inside of cups. I imagine that since these were a casting, it helped to deaden the blow (less springy) compared to the steel anvils I’ve seen.

What’s the level of interest if could get these reproduced?

View attachment 564816

Some Google investigation: The Canadian Zildjians look to have what we had in Norwell, and what I’m talking about.
Thanks for the info. For my own use I doubt investing in such a specialized anvil would make sense. I don’t really intend to regularly alter cymbals. I’m leaning towards finding a regular blacksmith style anvil that I can use for other projects too. I appreciate the info though
 


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