Nov 17, 2017
My earliest training as a mechanic was in a farm shop without air tools or a hydraulic press. So when it was necessary to disassemble tight-fitting pieces and parts, we reached for the biggest hammer we could find and beat the living daylights out of things. I developed the attitude that if something didn't want to come apart, get a bigger hammer.
Since then, I've learned that more violence is not always the best or easiest answer. Once I learned about the advantages of LOTS of hammer blows as opposed to fewer, mighty blows, I became very fond of using an air hammer for disassembly. It's almost like magic, the way an air hammer with the right bit can separate components that defy even my 10 pound sledge hammer.
I'm equally fond of using a hydraulic press, but that's often not an option since a lot of my work is away from a shop and I don't have a portable press on my truck. There have been times when I COULD have gotten things apart with my air hammer, but all the pounding was going to mar surfaces I didn't want to mar, so I traveled to a press and, presto-chango, things came apart. It is obvious to me that as I continue to plan for developing my dream shop at home, a good air system is a must, and some sort of hydraulic press is on my "want" list.
Looking back, there would have been a lot fewer broken hammer handles and less mangled metal in that original shop if only we had an air hammer and a simple hydraulic press.