Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lately I have started collecting and restoring old Snap-on and Blue Point autobody hammers.  I'm not really sure why these fascinate me, but I can't get enough! 

I bought these two beat up old body hammers online, one is a Snap-on BF611 and one is an older Blue-point BF611 (they changed the name sometime I think in the 1960s).  Both were in pretty rough shape, so I restored them.  The Snap-on has a 1983 date code, the old Blue Points are not date coded.

The faces were both really rough, the Snap-on (longer one) was in worse condition even though it looks a little better in the photo below.

Since I couldn't easily salvage the face of the Snap-on, I decided to change its shape slightly.  These hammers came from the factory with a very low crown (slight curve), and I decided to make a high crown hammer with a smaller face radius.  I was able to load it in the lathe, but only to use it for spinning the part while I used a sanding disc on the face.  The faces are hardened steel, so I couldn't cut it on my lathe even if I wanted.

The profile gauge was set to the Snapon BF618B factory high-crown hammer, I added a little more crown.

Here are some comparisons with the unmodified Snap-on BF618 high crown hammer.

These are the crowns of some similar hammers - Snap-on BF618B, Fairmount medium crown, and the new modified BF611 high crown.  These each have their place in different sheet metal forming operations, it's handy to have a few different face radii.

I sharpened the pick end of the Snap-on to a sharp point, and blunted the Blue-point.  Similar to the faces, it's handy to have different pick radii at your disposal. 

Here is the CG location of the hammer heads.  Only the nerdiest of bodymen would ever need/want to know this!

The face of the high-crown hammer is really polished.  I went to 800 grit on the lathe, then switched to Tripoli compound on a sewn wheel and white rouge on a loose cotton wheel.

You can still buy new replacement handles from Snap-on, so I bought a pair and installed them.

Including the hammer heads, shipping, and replacement handles I have about $40 into these two hammers that are modified to my taste.  A brand new BF611 is $60 on the truck! 

I also recently did a really old Blue Point BF613, this particular hammer was discontinued sometime in the late 1950s or early 60s.  This is one of the most useful shapes, one side is a medium crown face for bumping and dinging off the dolly, and the other side is a low crown larger face for finishing on the dolly. 

Stay tuned for the BF612 restoration, it's next on my list when I get a free minute.

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