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My Ray Clontz Powerhammer
Well for everyone who is reading this, this is a story of a weekend power hammer build I attended on Jan 27-29 2006 in Elgin SC with Clay Spencer. I guess I should start out with how I came to find out about the build, I went to an ABANA meeting at the John C. Campbell Folk school in Brasstown NC and met Mr. Clay Spencer and got to see his wonderful power hammer. He explained it was first designed by Mr. Ray Clontz and that he had picked it up with his permission and was occasionally doing weekend builds if enough people got together. He further explained that one was coming up in SC very soon, When I asked if there was still room left he hesitantly said he would look into it for me. Well I guess I was persistant enough with my pestering him most of that day which was then followed up with several emails and before I knew it the person heading up the build in SC Te Koehler sent me an email saying I was in. Man I was ecstatic, I could not believe it, I was actually going to have my own powerhammer. The only catch was to ante up the $1000.00 that it would cost for the supplies to build the hammer. The crew in SC got together for several Saturdays in a row before the build to cut stock, purchase parts and prepare for the class, so I volunteered to machine the 3.5" pulleys that mount to the motor as I lived two hours away and I have a metal lathe in the back yard shop. The build took 3 days between Fri-Sun and a few got together on Thursday to get things started. Clay has a whole truck full of fixtures and jigs to ensure everything gets welded and drilled where it is supposed to be and the build was far more organized than I thought it would be. Clay's job was primarily running around ensuring each station was doing things properly, it was an assembly line type of scenario. Each station had one job to do until completed then a new task was given by Clay or Te. Most of the time we had 4 welders going at the same time and we all ended up with a nice healthy welders sunburn by the end of the build. A big hearty thanks goes out to Darwin who donated his shop for the build and his wife Kathy who made all the delicious meals for us on Fri-Sat and Sun. I have a feeling Darwin wanted to pull his hair out a couple of times at the 15-20 people going through all his stuff looking for a particular tool or clamp but all went smoothly and I hope Darwin does not have to take too much time getting his shop back in order after we all went through it. The weather on Fri was alittle cold but Sat was beautiful, Sunday it rained but by then we were in the assembly phase so we were all inside assembling except for the heat treating crew. Although the heat treating crew was outside, Darwin and a few other guys had the night before erected a Tarp tent to keep them for the most part out of the weather while they heat treated the two sets of dies each hammer received, flat dies and drawing dies. When we were about at the halfway point Te Koehler decided to name each Hammer and when she put the names on the hammer we all started to refer to them by their proper names. It was quite comical to hear someone saying Don't forget to tighten up the rods on Lucy, or Clay go check out the slop on Annabell. At the end of the build Clay and Te put the names in a box and we drew for the hammer we would take home, I ended up taking home Isabella and will paint my hammer Grey with yellow trim and proudly put the name Isabella on the front of her. Below are a few photos of the build, just click on the small photo and a larger photo will be displayed. The first few photos are of Clay Spencer checking the machines to ensure they are being built properly and within spec.
The next three photos are of Darwin Lamb, Darwin is the owner of the Lazy S Welding/Mechanical shop that we all worked out of. Darwin, great shop by the way and thanks for putting up with all of us. The second photo in this set is of Te Koehler who orgonized the build.
And the rest of the photos are of the hammers as they came along and some of the different stations we had set up. Also a few snapshots of us taking a break.
Did anyone else notice that Mike the character in the last four photos is always caught sitting down.