In The Shop: Score Another Victory For An Air Hammer

Published on: 10:23AM Oct 17, 2010

 I've posted in the past about how air hammers are an often overlooked weapon in the battle to repair equipment quickly. Yesterday offered another example of how the right tool at the right place at the right time is worth its weight in gold.

A big grain cart had sheared the two 5/8-inch bolts that connect the driveshaft for the horizontal unloading auger to the auger itself. The auger had spun on the stub shaft, and I needed to turn the auger on the shaft to find and re-align the shear bolt holes. The fit between the auger and the shaft was far too tight to turn by hand, and I was working inside the auger housing, around, over and in-between the auger flighting. No room for a punch and hammer handle, let alone room to swing a hammer.

Long story short, I fired up the air compressor on my service truck, weaseled my air hammer inside the auger housing and gave the edge of the auger flighting a couple quick bursts. What would have taken an hour or more of two-handed hammering with a hammer and punch surrendered to a couple quick "brraaapps!" with the air hammer.

It all comes down to selecting the right tool for the job.  If you look at a job and think, "That needs one or two good, hard smacks with a sledge hammer," then reach for the sledge hammer. But if you think to yourself, "That's going to take a LOT of pounding," reach for an air hammer. Unless you LIKE tip-tapping for an hour or more in uncomfortable positions with a hammer and punch.