Line Shaft Blacksmith Shop Video

Joel Sanderson

New member
I just finished a little video of the shop. It shows two hammers in operation: a 100 pound Hackney and a 250 pound Murray, and it also shows both a shaper and a toggle press working hot metal. There are shots of the lathe and surface grinder too. And of course, I had to show the engine starting.

There are pictures of my work too. In them there are a couple tables with arches that were made on the shaper like is shown in the video. The upper frames of some of the tables have bars textured the way the press is doing in the video too.

I hope this is interesting. I'd be happy to answer any questions about what's in the video. It's just sort of meant to be an overview and is not intended to really go into depth on any processes. I plan to do that in the future, but this one's a start at least.

Wow, that is really impressive. I dream of having a small line shaft shop someday. I really have to give you a big thumbs up for keeping that vintage equipment and techniques alive and functional. Well done.


Joel Sanderson

New member
Thank you, everyone. I sincerely appreciate the compliments. To be honest, I don't know much about what's going on in the rest of today's blacksmithing world, because I don't get out much among other smiths. That sort of makes me a professional recluse, I suppose. Maybe that's foolish, but hey, there's only so much time in this life.

A toggle press, Akuna, is quite a bit different than a hammer. A hammer's ram is linked to the crank through some sort of spring, which is what gives a hammer its flexibility. Most mechanical hammers have a coil spring (though my Hackney has an air spring) which compresses as the hammer's speed increases, causing the ram (the hammer) to strike harder and lower the faster the machine is run. A press has a solid link, with no spring, so each stroke is exactly the same--the same force, depth and position each cycle. This allows the press to make repeated impressions with greater precision than can be done with a hammer. It cannot, however, make variable shapes like tapers or change with each stroke for hand held tooling.

My press, sometimes called a horn press, has very long ram guides, so it keeps the ram aligned precisely with the table, letting matching top and bottom dies be fitted directly to them. A more common press that came out later is called an Open Back Incline (OBI) press, also casually called a "punch press." Most of these have a looser ram guide, so they usually require a sub press arrangement for precise die alignment.

In the video, I am using the press to make a series of impressions in the bar. The upper die is essentially a fuller. By using a press for this, each impression is the same depth as the preceding one, so my bar stays the same thickness for the entire length. This particular operation can be done with a hammer if you set up a system of kiss blocks to control the depth, but I find I have better control doing it with the press.

Gee that was windy. Hope it helped.



Great video !:cool:

Love the line-shaft powered surface grinder.

Never seen a shaper used for actually 'shaping' metal like that before either.

Pretty Cool !:cool:

And even though I see you're on Facebook, I shared it on there on my own page so my small handful of 'friends' can see it too.



Thank you for putting that where we can see it! That's a great looking shop, and amazing work! I'd like to be an engine wiper in a shop like yours, just to be able to spend the time there


Wonderful work and wonderful shop!
I know you are a busy man but I’d love some input from you about setting up a “new” lineshaft shop.
I have about three antique lathes, two drill presses, two power hammers, two horizontal mills, and many bench top belt driven tools, too.
The shop space is only about 25’ x 35’, but the building was built in 1910 so I have the correct ambiance, I think.
Any general or specific advice would be greatly appreciated!
I’m about two years into a three year project (give or take).


Bill Hazzard

Active member
The roof framing looks light. You might want to double up on the framing where the hangers will be. It looks like it will be a nice shop when done.