Air hammer chisel guidance

O.K. My turn to ask a question instead of answering them.
    I just picked up an air hammer with a set of five chisels.
    Looking at them, I see things which don't look right to me, but since I've never used these, I don't know whether the problem is in my expectations or in the actual chisel set that I got.
    In particular, the two chisels which I would have thought would be for ripping off old mufflers and such -- both sort of 'V' profile, one symmetrical and the other with one wing shorter and thinner than the other -- both have rounded corners, which strike me as difficult to get started under the end of the muffler's clamp. I am tempted to go to the grinder and sharpen them -- but before I do this, I would like to know how they *really* are supposed to be used.
    I guess that the rounded corner could be started in a drilled hole for ripping sheet metal (body work). One is just a narrow cone which would be nice for driving out taper pins or dowel pins. One is a wide chisel with a groove in the center. And the final one is just a plain chisel. Both of these last two do have somewhat of an edge, though far from "scary sharp" (which I would hardly expect to survive the first five cycles anyway). :-)
    So -- Is there a good web site or book which will explain the uses of these chisels, and how they should be sharpened? The extent of the "manual" which came with the set was:
1)    Always put a few drops of oil in the hose before using the     air hammer.
2)    Always put the retaining spring on *before* connecting the     air hose or using it.
    Absolutely nothing about the chisels other than "with a 5-chisel set". :-)
    At some point, I'll want to make rivet setting tools to go in this, of course. And get a needle scaler for it as well.
    For that matter -- do I need a cushioning glove to avoid damage to my hand and wrist?
    Thanks all,         DoN.
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On 12 Oct 2007 01:57:09 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

OOH, a HF $4.99 special? I bought one for wood carving but I have a good Chicago Pneumatic for real metalwork.

In Chinglish, of course? Try the descriptions on these sites, Don: http://www.become.com/shop?q=air+chisel
http://www.granitecitytool.com/howtochiselhammeruse.cfm
Or try auto-body books: http://tinyurl.com/ytetog

No, put a couple drops in the inlet connector on the chisel. That way it doesn't blow out when you connect the hose. (Those turkeys!)

Leave it on and only loosen it one turn (if you have to) to remove or install chisels.

FIRST, learn to keep your hands off the chisel and out of the spring. DAMHIKT. ;) Then, once you've got that mastered, you can put on a padded glove and gently help guide the chisel while you work.
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    No -- a couple of notches better than that. The brand is AmPro -- sold by the local auto parts chain "Advance Auto Parts".

    Actually, the English was pretty good. They just assumed that I knew what the chisels were for, and focused on the instructions (such as they were) for the air hammer itself.

    Hmm ... not enough detail.

    That was one of the ones which I hit looking for information, but it is specific to use for rock carving, and had no illustrations to help me identify the chisels which they were listing.

    That looks to be what I'm going to need, since nothing really seems to give any detail about the chisels and how to use them.
    I had sort of been hoping for one of the Army tool manuals.

    Well ... they suggested (strongly) not putting the quick disconnect on the tool (the vibration probably kills it quickly), so I got an 18" pigtail and that part of the hose will remain with the air hammer.
    Actually -- I already have an in-line oiler.

    Hmm ... I wan't able to get a chisel in or out with that little loosening -- but I'll try again. I notice some quick-change replacements for the spring.

    I was thinking more of the danger to the hand which holds the grip of the air hammer -- but your advice about the chisel and spring are good, too.
    Thanks,         DoN.
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On 12 Oct 2007 04:31:43 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

Ah, a reboxed HF gun. Gotcha.

That might be interesting. I wonder if there is one. Now that you've mentioned it, Iggy will probably find one for all of us.
Generally, the chisels are used just like manual chisels, but they're a whole helluva lot faster. Quickest fix: Go talk to a body man at the nearest body shop. He could show you how to use each chisel in your set in ten minutes. If you were to take a pizza down at noon, you might get more help than you imagined. ;)

The MALE portion goes on the air tool, sir. Note that the pigtail has a male fitting on the loose end. <giggle>

Bueno, bwana.

Stretch that last coil a bit until you get a spring which will hold in a chisel but move enough to let you manhandle one out of the gun without having to twist the sprint each time. You'll get used to it pretty quickly, after maybe a couple dozen uses.

Gloves around sheetmetal are pretty much mandatory if you value fingers. But the air chisels don't do your hand too much damage without. The impact is primarily focused on the chisel end and air- damped through the tool body. The stronger the tool, the softer it is on your hand since you won't have to push very hard to get it to work.
My CP has a long cylinder, the HF a short one. The HF works well on wood (soft) and stone (brittle), the CP on tough balljoints and flexy/movable front-end pieces. If I hold my mouth right, it'll successfully install u-joints.
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    Well ... it is nicely anodized a Burgundy color, and it was nicely polished before anodizing. I've not seen the Harbor Freight ones (no local branch that I know about here in Northern VA). But I would not expect a HF air tool to look as nice.

    That would be nice. He is good at that kind of search. I know that my Army manuals which I have in dead-tree form don't cover these, though one does cover a much larger air hammer. :-)

    The problem is that the shapes of some of these are not at all like any of the manual chisels which I have.

    That sounds like a good choice. Thanks!

    Of course. But while the tool is in use, the female has to be connected to it -- and if the male is screwed directly into the handle of the tool, that joint between them is going to be rattled rather thoroughly.

    The pigtail which I got has a male 1/4" NPT on each end.

    Makes it harder to forget to lube the tools (except the paint guns). :-)

    O.K. Thanks!

    :-)
    O.K. I've been considering getting some of the cushioned shooting gloves for use with my .41 Magnum. The rest of my firearms are gentle enough so there is no problem.

    O.K. Thanks,         DoN.
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On 13 Oct 2007 03:47:24 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

They don't, I assure you.

Yeah, there's that, too. <g>

They use air hammers on a daily basis and have a complete assortment of chisel types for you to see.

I've never seen any problems with any of my tools at that junction. Well, except the one I dropped directly on the connector from 6' up on a 4-wheel alignent rack. It bent the connector and cracked the Rodac tailcap, but a new connector installed with Gorilla Snot fixed it right up. That's held for 25 years now so I don't think it's going anywhere.
Note that the pigtail has

I've seen them both ways, with 1 threaded end and 1 male QD fitting end.

Right, do not use that line for painting. It looks funny. Do you use different colored hoses for paint, I hope?

Um, I meant "spring", not "sprint".

Wuss! ;) I take bandaids for shooting my KelTec 9mm. It eats my thumb knuckle for lunch every time if I don't have one on there.

Jewelcome. -- Remember: Every silver lining has a cloud. ----
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    [ ... ]

    I somehow did not expect them to. Whether the works of mine are as good as the exterior appearance remains to be seen. :-)
    [ ... ]

    Great!
    [ ... ]

    That sounds good enough. How often is the female on the hose replaced? That is the part which I would expect to suffer more from the vibration.

    O.K.
    I will once I start painting. Right now, I'm using the air primarily for driving various tools. One interesting one which I got from a hamfest along with a nice screwdriver one is something called a "Screw-Stick". It has a hex drive at the bottom and a tube to just clear the points of the hex all the way through the body. What goes in it is a series of short screws with a hex head, beveled just enough so it will force the hex drive up when it reaches bottom. There is a section about half the diameter of the screw thread connecting the head of one to the screw of the next. When the screw bottoms, it drives only through the narrow section, which wrings off as it torques the screw into place, leaving you ready for putting the next screw in the next hole. I wish that I could find a few more sticks. I'm reluctant to use these up until I can get replacements. (I've been watching eBay for a few years and not seen them.)

    I read it as "spring", given the context.

    Hmm ... that sounds like a bit of poor design there. The .41 Magnum did not used to bother me, but with 66 years on these old joints, things are a bit more sensitive now. :-) Sort of encourages me to load up light loads. :-)
    Thanks again,         DoN.
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On 13 Oct 2007 22:52:13 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

Indubitably.
I've never seen one replaced from that, per se. Most stop sealing (the o-ring goes out) or they wear out from years of daily use. I won't be buying any more HF QD fittings. They're just too cheaply made and the female's doohickey gets cocked sideways in them far too often, letting the air escape after the male fitting has been removed. It's a PITA.

Sounds handy for production work.

I think the curve is too tight at the back of the frame where it goes from the grip to the base of the slide. Or maybe my thumb knuckles are larger from auto work for all those years. Who knows? A bandaid saves the blister from forming, though. Cheap fix.
And don't worry, Don. You'll find dozens of other uses for the air chisel once you get using it for a while. There are plenty of different planishing hammer heads for them if you're into that. -- Remember: Every silver lining has a cloud. ----
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    [ ... ]

    O.K. But could the female's doohickey getting cocked have anything to do with the vibration from the air hammer?
    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    Indeed so. And if I have a lot of something to make, I'll be sure to design it to be held by the 4-40 threads that these use -- *if* I can get more sticks of screws. :-)

    As long as it works -- that is what matters.

    I'm sure that I will. I keep picking up new tools (or used ones) as opportunity presents itself -- and then worry about why I need them. :-)
    I picked up the compressor (an ancient Craftsman from back before the noisy oilless ones with the magic horsepower numbers) a few years ago at a yard sale. Two wheels, 20 gallon tank (IIRC). I had to take the regulator apart and clean it before that would work, but overall I'm quite pleased with it. I've been picking up various air tools since, and finally spotted the air hammer with the chisel set while picking up a wrench to dedicate to the new drill press vise (after making M10 T-nuts to fit the slots through the drill press table.
    A friend had already gotten one of the newer ones before I could warn him, and I am still amazed at how much noise it makes. It is even worse when his Newfie chews through the hose. :-)
    I also finally got a ceiling-mounted reel for the air hose so O won't keep tripping over the rubber hose (and getting metal chips in my hands when picking it up near the lathe or mill.)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On 14 Oct 2007 02:44:28 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

No, they do it from day one. I think 95%+ of the vibrations go out the front of the gun on the chisel (If you let the gun do the work like you're supposed to) and your hands take up 4% more. If there were lots of vibration, there would be more broken male fittings. I've only had the one break on me. Others were used daily for 1 or 2 decades.

Don't wait. Just make them on your lathe, Don. <bwahahahaha>

Truth!
That's the way it's supposed to be done. Looks cool? "It's MINE! Hmm, now what am I going to use it for?" And then I find dozens of uses. As soon as the tool rests in my shop (or truck, nowadays), uses automatically develop for it.

Crapsman is its own punishment. (As are dogs. My fracking neighbors have guests so the number of barking dogs in their yard is now doubled. I'm really, really depressed that I can't sight in my SKS scope on them.)

Good show, sir. -- Remember: Every silver lining has a cloud. ----
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    O.K.
    This is a task for a small CNC lathe with a controlled feed through the spindle -- and probably a cylindrical guide into the tailstock (or even hex bore rotating in bearings) to keep the weakened (torque limiting) spots from letting it whip and fly apart.
    There just is not enough room between the top of one head and the bottom of another for standard single-point threading on a manual machine. Believe me -- I have considered this.
    [ ... ]

    :-)
    At least these days. Back in the mid 1960s Craftsman tools were pretty good. I got three tenths vernier micrometers (0-1, 1-2, and 2-3) which I am sure were made by Scherr Tumico.
    And I just recently picked up a nice drill press vise with the Craftsman name cast in the stationary jaw -- but it is basically one of the Ralmike ones -- quick release, slide of the jaw, and a lever which cams the movable jaw against the workpiece. I don't know when this was made, but I am willing to bet that I would not be able to find it in today's Sears catalogs. :-)
    I have other tools from the 1960s which are still in excellent condition.
    But -- I would not buy today's Craftsman branded tools.

    Well -- this dog is over friendly. The first time he saw my wife (who is 4' 11" tall) he came up to her, put his paws on her shoulders (ready to lick her face) and toppled her over onto the lawn. No harm done, and we make sure that she has a prop behind her (often me) when the dog is free to reach her. And he does very little barking, and what little he does is low pitched enough so it is not annoying.
    However, little yappers are a totally different matter.
    We have cats -- not dogs -- even though I am allergic to cats.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On Sat, 13 Oct 2007 22:52:13 +0000, DoN. Nichols wrote:

...
...
http://www.pemnet.com/fastening_products/the_stickscrew_system/ has some StickScrew pictures, and as you may know, Tower Fasteners at http://www.towerfast.com/Default.aspx?Page=customer&file=customer/tofaco/customerpages/productline.htm (all on one line) says they sell StickScrew products. No idea if affordable.
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    That is the product -- though they have swapped ends of the name (or I have mis-remembered :-)
    And looking at the PDF brochure, the joining of the screws is a but more beefy than those which I have -- which are 4-40 brass.

http://www.towerfast.com/Default.aspx?Page=customer&file=customer/tofaco/customerpages/productline.htm

    Hmm ... a pity that the site is currently returning:
    "Configuration problem in hosting file accessing: www.towerfast.com"
so I'll have to try again later -- after they finish breaking the web site. :-)
    Thanks,         DoN.
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DoN, Do your self a favor and look for a Quick Disconnect type of retainer to replace the spring. Those springs have a bad habit of breaking and causing some exciting thrills that you really do not need.     The Quick Disconnect look like a jumbo QD for an air hose, They have the same ball locking arrangement as an air fitting that holds the chisel in place.
Have fun
Bob
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I have used cheap air chisels a few times, and they have gotten me out of jams. Once I had to remove the bed wood from a truck. In those days they drilled down through the wood & bed and ran a nut up onto the screw. The nuts were all rusted on forever tight, so I used an air chisel. Worked great. I recently used it to cut through spot welds, worked great there too.
Biggest thing is to make sure you are wearing leather gloves. I got some nasty cuts and pinches learning that.
I don't know if there is a definitive use for those chisels. That's a tool you tend to pull out when there isn't any other way, and one of the chisels looks like it will work.
The chisels aren't all that hard, or mine weren't. I dressed new edges on them every so often when I was doing that truck bed job.
GWE
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    Thanks -- just as I should *not* be (and am not) wearing gloves when using the power tools (lathe, mill, drill press, shaper).

    O.K. The ones which have me most puzzled are the ones with a Y-shaped open end -- and especially the one which is not quite symmetrical, and with the outer corners rather rounded and the smaller "wing" thinner than the larger one. The straight chisels are pretty obvious, and the straight with a notch dead center I would guess is for popping spot welds. The long tapered round one I figure is for driving out (and in) taper pins or scroll pins of appropriate size.

    I would not expect them to be too hard, or they would be chipping more than the workpiece. :-)
    Thanks,         DoN.
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According to Bob Miller <rhmillatenter.net>:

    O.K. Thanks for the warning. I had not realized that the springs were that failure prone.

    Great! Thanks,         DoN.
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On 13 Oct 2007 03:49:50 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) quickly quoth:

If you control your gun, they're not (Bob.) ;)
I'd seen those QD kits on maybe two guns in my automotive career, and I worked wrenching at a body shop for 5 years and used air tools daily for 20. Perhaps they've improved in the last decade or two. I've not used my air tools nearly as much since '86, but they're sure handy when I need them. -- Remember: Every silver lining has a cloud. ----
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    Arrrggghhhh! Another thread twists to gun control. :-)

    O.K. Maybe the quality of the springs has gone downhill? Following one of your links, I saw packs of two springs being sold together, which does suggest a higher failure rate than your experience suggests.
    Thanks again,         DoN.
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snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:
[...]

Leather gloves and ear plugs are what I use. I used to use the ear plugs only if the sound was bothering me, but discovered that some days I'd still wind up deaf even though it didn't seem loud. Same with the gloves--used to only wear them if my hands were hurting, but they always eventually hurt. Leather gloves don't have a lot of padding, but it seems to have been enough. Without them I get that odd kind of bruising in my palms that just leaves them tender for a day or so. My only sheetmetal chisel is a bent-tip chisel with a notch displaced in the center of the blade. Hook the notch under the sheet and hammer away--it'll lift a strip of metal out. Then I have a straight punch, hammer head, and assortment of long chisels that have been ground into various shapes. The handiest is a semicircle notch that isn't sharp. It's meant to grab on and let me push. I use it frequently to push wrenches around on really tight bolts. Also nice is a hammerhead piece I welded a bit of pipe to, making a cup, so I can use the air hammer to drive a regular punch or chisel. And a straight punch I threaded and put a hunk of brass onto. Yeah, lots of passive voice, starting with conjunctions and ending with prepositions.
--
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