Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If I had a Hammer

The subject of this BlogSpot is the Hammer (shot mallet) and other variables that influence your performance on the Keiser Force Machine. The Trusty-Cook hammer is the perfect tool for this job. If you attempted to strike the beam with an all-steel hammer, the recoil effect would significantly reduce your effectiveness. The head of the official hammer contains thousands of tiny BB.'s. At the point of impact, there is a one-two punch effect: the mass of the hammer head quickly followed by the shot. When the beam is hit in the “sweet spot” a distinctive ringing sound is heard. 

I’m not convinced that alternating hits from edge to edge is effective. But, I can assure you that anything other than a 90° strike is directing force in a plane that is less effective than a square hit. 

Heat is generated by the friction of the BBs hitting each other and this heat can increase to the point where the urethane will actually disintegrate. For this reason, we are only selling hammers in pairs. If you wish to purchase a single hammer, they will be available for purchase at our store. To prolong the useful life of the hammer, it’s best that it be used in temperature greater than 60°F, and not more than 100°F. And, it’s a good idea to rotate use between firefighters. 

As you no doubt know, we added heaters to the trays of the Keiser Force Machines last year. This year, we’ll be adding a hammer heater. From the survey responses, several people remarked that the heaters were not working. Yes, they were “on” for the duration. But when the temperature dipped, the hammers were no longer pliable. In my conversations with the manufacturer, I was told of roughnecks in Alaska carrying the hammer in the back of their pickup- and the shattering of a perfectly good hammer because they didn’t keep it in their cab prior to use. 

We warranty the hammer for defects, not normal use. It is not a lifetime warranty. Take care of the hammer and you’ll get reasonable use. 

Heating the trays of the Keiser has had a profound effect on creating consistency. So, the bottom line is that we cannot guarantee a laboratory-controlled pristine environment everywhere we go and every time you mount the machine. We are very much attuned to the quality control required to clean the sleds. We rely on volunteers to perform a fairly low-skilled job: spraying the tray and the runners with a 50/50 mixture of alcohol and water (to aid evaporation) and wiping the runners and tray with a clean cloth. Does this happen every time? Almost; at least 99%. 

Other than a few "short" Keisers, and hammer placements, there was only one race that I'm aware of where the competitor lost the hammer. We edited the rules to address this safety violation. 


Larry H said...

Having been a competitor for 14 years, my perspective on the Keiser is simple: Of the five basic evolutions in the FFCC, the Keiser portion always evokes considerable debate. Often it appears that one side is faster than the other and you'll hear competitors saying," I had a good Keiser or the damn thing wasn't moving". Any effort to attain an even consistency is appreciated as it's a shame to lose a race by milliseconds due to an uneven playing field.

Unknown said...

What is recommended to clean the track?