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Primitive Technology: Water Powered Hammer

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Our man in the jungle creates his first machine from primitive materials that does not use human energy: A water powered hammer. 

“Our man in the jungle,” as we’ve come to call him, has advanced technologically in his primitive skills projects. This time he built his first machine by creating a hammering device that is entirely water powered. It uses no human energy to operate.

He indicates that the water powered hammer is called a ‘monjolo’. The applications for the machine are multiple, and with a few modifications it could be made to perform several different tasks.

Using fallen trees, stone, natural cordage, fire, and his hands and ingenuity he spent several days building the hammer.

Using fire to “cut” the tree to the desired length, he also used an adze to further form and shape a trough in the tree. He made the adze from a stone chisel, an angled tree section and bark fiber cordage.

He then used coals from a fire, and a blowpipe to increase the heat, to burn holes through the tree trunk. These he filled with smaller log cross pieces to create a pivot point and a hammer head.

Finally, he positioned and lashed the giant hammer to a tripod at the base of a water trough he made from half of a hollow tree. He balanced and positioned the log hammer in such a way that when the trough carved into the log hammer filled with water it lifted the hammer head, and when the water flowed out of the trough the heavy hammer came down. Then the process started over and repeated itself.

The rate at which the hammer struck the rock was relatively low, approximately once every 10 seconds.

The hammer works well enough to crush fragile items like certain stones, pottery shards and charcoal, but its main function is as an experiment to see if the machine would actually work as a concept.

He indicates that he may modify the hammer or create a more refined version with which to pulverize grain, crush clay, pulp plant fibers for papermaking, or even crush ores into powder for smelting.

This man’s creativity and patience in pursuing these experiments in primitive technology is inspiring. His efforts show what man can do with the most primitive of materials, his hands and a creative mind.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Primitive Technology: Using Termite Mound Clay to Make a Kiln and Pottery

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Primitive Technology: Water Powered Hammer