Hello. Christmas is approaching, and I am being pestered for a present list. i plan to start on the boiler for my 3.1/2 gauge Rodean Schools class in the spring, so thought that a suitable hammer for beating the copper flanged plates into shape would be highly desirable. i know enough not to use a standard claw hammer or similar - but what have others used and recommend? Thanks john
I have used wooden mallets too, but having bought a planishing hammer for making a raised dome, I have used it on flanged plates and find it works well. A planishing hammer has one round and one square head, both highly polished - one of the heads is dead flat and the other very slightly domed. The domed head makes it easier to avoid marking the metal with the edge of the head and the flat head is good for final sizing. Used gently, the planishing hammer enables you to get the shaped parts of the plate very smooth (provided the former is smooth too).
However, I am not convinced that the improvement on the traditional wooden mallet is enough to warrant buying the special hammer unless you use it, as I do, for sheet metal work more generally.
2.5"g narrow gauge modeller - Bagnall 0-4-2T, L&B 2-4-2T "Lyn" and just completed Burma Mines Rly 0-6-0 - all to 1.25": 1'. Now working on the next 2.5"g model - ex-Mecklenburg Pommersche Schmalspurbahn No.99 3462, until recently on the Waldeisenbahn Muskau near the Polish border....
I have used a hard plastic hammer. Works great and leaves no marks. I have done a complete set of plates for a Super Simplex this way. I'm sure a hard wooden mallet would work as well. Whatever you use, as long as it is softer than copper, it will not leave a mark.
I use any hammer that has a reasonably smooth surface. It doesn't have to be special as you do not need a smooth finished surface, and it's better to have a slightly rough surface which is necessary to give the joint space for silver solder to penetrate. If the final surface is smooth it's best to roughen or scratch it to ensure the spacing.