The details in the pictures are hard to see.
From the bottom, there is a pointed key sticking out of that outer shaft.
Is that key the same piece as the square shaft the hammer hits? So if it's
raised the square shaft will also be raised, and the hammer can hit it down
without shearing the cotter pin holding that shaft in?
How does the ratchet work? Does it automatically step with each hammer
blow? Or is it just spring loaded so that the outer shaft can rotate in
only one direction?
Is there any chance the hammer was designed to swing outward (180 degrees
from the picture) when it was being used? i.e., instead of intended to hit
that square shaft?
The outer shaft seems to be on a pivot from the base plate. Is that
correct? Could that pivot be what allows the ratchet to auto-step as it
moves up and down slightly?
The hammer head alignment doesn't seem like it will be flat with that
square shaft when you lower it. YOu don't have a picture with the hammer
head down. Is that correct? That and the fact that it seems to be a very
large hammer for a small delicate square shaft makes we wonder if it
actually was intended to hit that piece.
Ah, I wonder if the intent was for that floating shaft on the end to be a
pivot for the rest of the jig. The key and the hammer might be used to
wedge that piece into a center hole on the work piece. The rest of the jig
could then be pulled around in a circle with the ratchet preventing it from
going backwards. The adjustable shaft in the center would then be the tool
that was run around the outer edge of whatever the thing was, perhaps to
bend a band around it, or to seal a lid on it or something like that?
Or, maybe, the hammer was only used to remove the jig from the hole it was
stuck in by taping on the square shaft. And when turned outward, the
hammer would act as a lever to pull the jig around the work-piece.
The "work-piece" would be something round with a hole in the center that
needed something done to the outer edge. Wheel? Barrel? Gear?
I asked on facebook and got this answer:
Okay since I have one and spent the time trying to figure out what it
is. Well okay, it's a steam tube expander for a steam tractor/ boiler.
These were used when replacing the steam tubes and the bulkhead was too
loose, out of round or leaking, they used this tool to expand the tube,
next they used a roller tool to close the last fraction. I hope that
This seems to fit with your comment Pete!
However, I still have found nothing on the internet to confirm this. I
have found 100's of tools for expanding (flaring) boiler pipe but nothing
looks at all like this tool! I do see how that could be what the tool is
for, I just can't find anything to confirm it.
Well, Curt, It's a small world after all! I just spent the weekend with
Corky Kittelson and about 30 other blacksmiths at the site of the Tunnel
Mill Craft School just south of Rochester MN. We have an annual gathering
there. Corky is a Guild of Metalsmiths member as am I.
We talked about your contact with him on this whatzit issue. The
internet sure is an interesting animal.
Boiler tube beading tool, it is!
See the updated page, if interested:
That's neat! I still can't find any reference to such a tool on the
Internet! I see you at least found one reference somewhere! There are too
many modern versions of the same tools so the net is filled with general
reference to boiler tube tools but I've not found one of that design.
Did you identify about how old it is?
No, I did not attempt to idnetify the tool's age.
Since we now know that it was used for boiler making and repair, I figured
that was enough for now.
Twin cities (Mpls/St.Paul , Mn) natives tell me that once upon a time there
were 26 railroad roundhouse/locomotive-train repair facilities in the area,
so that alone would account for a lot of those tools being around here.
And, of course, that says nothing about the countless steam traction engines
and heating and industrial boilers that would have needed them.
I must point out that a couple of "experts" told me that this one would
have been for a relatively small boiler.
I just now returned from the auction house where I told them a little
about the history of that tool.
Oh, yeh--- I took in a 100# swage block with stand to sell.
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