The Gade Marx Treadle Hammer as We Built Them Some other swing arm treadle hammers to Look At
A couple of people have asked me what the original ABANA treadle hammer looks like, so I've added this Treadlehammer
page to our website. I am a proponent of the original Gade-Marx Treadle Hammer design, which is simple to build and
operate, with a minimum of moving parts. I consider it to be Elegant in the simplicity of its design.
This treadle hammer is about 6 feet tall and the hammer head weighs about 65 pounds.
On behalf of the Guild of Metalsmiths, I sponsored another build of these treadle hammers in 1997. In this project, we recruited 12 people who wanted to have a treadle hammer, were willing to put out the $200 to $250 that the components cost and were willing to help in the process.
ABANA used to sell the plans (a nice 12 page pamphlet) for $5. Now ABANA only sells plans for a version of it that has
been re-designed again and again by Clay Spencer. An earlier redesigned model is quite versatile, but is more complex to
construct, has more adjustments to make and may be slightly less safe to operate (in my own personal opinion). The main
reason for the redesign was to make it adjustable so that matched upper and lower tooling could be used.
Later, Clay designed an in-line model, which is quite complex, too, compared with the Gade-Marx design.
In my humble opinion, if you KNOW that you need the added complexity, and have the skills, build one of the Spencer designs. Otherwise, build this simpler hammer (which ALSO can handle Matched Upper and Lower Tools).
This 1997 project was the third build of Gade-Marx treadle hammers in which I have been involved. This time we
added an adjustable upper tool holder as an accessory for those who want to use matched upper and lower tooling.
This simple device attaches to the hammer head with two bolts when needed and is entirely removed from the machine
when not in use.
No other parts are added to the hammer and no other adjustments are required to make this accessory work.
Click the "Upper Tool Holder Info" link to learn how to make and use this upper tool holder.
The (March, 1997) issue of the Guild of Metalsmiths newsletter contains more detail on this project.
One of the changes we made to all three builds was to have the Head Springs rolled and bushed in a spring shop to
avoid having to weld spring steel to mild steel and to elminiate the need to drill 1/2" diameter holes 3 inches
deep in 1" diameter bars.
In April of 2010 I got a quote to do this and the price was $78 per pair (plus shipping) from Duluth, Mn.
I ordered a set and they arrived in about a week. I have checked them out and they are very well made. Total cost,
including UPS shipping was $85.00
I chose not to have grease zerks added. I simply oil the pivots from time to time.
If you want to get a set of these, you can order them from:
Zenith Spring Co.
3116 West Michigan Street,
Duluth Mn. 55806
I spoke with Ron Erickson when I ordered mine. The CAD drawing I sent them is: "Gade-Marx Swing arm Assy. ,Mod; Part #11A".
Here's a picture of the one-piece Head Springs installed on my first treadle hammer:
The spring companies can make either a "plain eye", as you see here, or the "berlin eye" where the flat part of the spring is centered on the bushing. We decided that fewer bends is better.
If you want to build the "Gade-Marx" Treadle Hammer, you can get a set of plans from me. I'm not in business to make any money on this. Send $6.00 and your mailing address to me at:
2476 10th Av.
Baldwin WI 54002
Or, use Paypal:
For your money you will get a photocopy of the plans and an article written by me that corrects some errors in those plans and suggests some additional accessories. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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