Swage Block

J.B. Castagnos

Active member
An old friend gave, or willed this 15" swage block to me. He's 92 years old and still makes cypress swings and rockers. The only thing he used it for was to buck the copper tubes he puts through the arms where the chains pass through. I made him a dedicated tool and he let me take it. It's not as rusty as it looks, he had it under his bench grinder, most of it will clean off. Should I just wire brush it, blast it, or pass a flex grinder disc over it?


Tracy T

my grand father had a block kind of like yours, it was for doing stagecoach work. if it were me i would just hit it with a angle grinder with a wire brush and call it done.

Pete Spaco

New member
Depends on what use you will put it to.
If it's just going to be for display, I'd sandblast it and maybe put some kind of anti rust finish on it. Could be LPS 3 or even paint.

But if you are going to use it much, I'd take some time and clean up the swages so they will present a smooth surface when beating metal into them. I'd also sharpen up the edges of the holes some, particularly if you intend to use them as a monkey tool to clean up tenons.

Of course, you can also make a stand for it to get it up off the floor. I've seen some pretty nice stands. Some allow the block to sit flat for using the through-holes while having a slot in the middle so you can stand the thing on edge when using the swages.

I have one that's similar, but I don't have a lot of room, so it is slid under a bench, standing up, and only gets pulled out when I need it. Which isn't very often.

Pete Stanaitis

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
I love my glass beading cabinet but I hate a new finish on Old Iron.
I agree with Tracy and would go for the knotted wire cup brush on an angle grinder. A little oil rubbed on next.
I have one very similar in my blacksmith shop. If you keep it inside, I would wire brush it and leave it alone. I built a stand for mine using a wooden utility pole set into the dirt floor of the shop. There is a notch equal to the thickness of the block cut into the top of the pole several inches deep. The block can be laid on top flat or set on edge in the notch so that the desired edge is on top.