Introduction: How to Make a Prop Wooden Hammer for Theater

Picture of How to Make a Prop Wooden Hammer for Theater

A few weeks ago the theater troupe I am involved with needed a prop hammer for a production. The one that the tech crew came up with was clunky and unwieldy. So I spoke to the director and got her permission to do what I could to make a better hammer. This is what  I came up with. It's based off real woodworking hammers that I've used before. I'm entering this in the wood-working contest so I appreciate your vote. 

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this project you need a few things.

 - a saw (I used a standard hand saw and a coping saw)
 - wood (A scrap piece of 2 by 4)
 - 1/4 inch dowel rod
 - something to draw out your pattern (Once again, scrap from another project)
 - ruler
 - Exacto knife
 - chisel (I used a 1/2 and 1/4 inch)
 - rasp (Dremmel attachment)
 - sand paper
 - wood glue
 - clamps

Step 2: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started

To start off sketch out what you want you hammer to look like and then cut it out with the Exacto knife. The measurements are what I used but go ahead and make it as big as you want. just be sure to make the handle wide enough to work with in later steps.

Step 3: Cut That Wood

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Once you have your pattern cut out, it's time to transfer it to the wood and cut out. Remember to cut out two copies of the hammer head.

Step 4: Making It Fit Part 1

Picture of Making It Fit Part 1

After you get all the pieces cut out you're ready to start shaping. Starting with the handle, trace the pattern for the hammer head onto each side. Next measure in 1/4 inch from each edge and from the top and bottom. Once marked, start removing the wood. I used the coping saw, chisels, and rasp tip for my Dremmel to do this.

Step 5: Making It Fit Part 2

Picture of Making It Fit Part 2

Next grab both head pieces and decide which side you want facing out. Once that's done line them up in the notch on the handle and mark both sides of the shaft and the necessary depth. Once it's marked start removing the wood. Make sure to check the depth every so often to ensure the two halves meet up properly around the handle.

Step 6: Fun With Wood Glue

Picture of Fun With Wood Glue

Once you have the hammer head lined up around the handle the way you want it to it's time to coat the handle notch with wood glue and fit one side of the head. When you have half the head on and lined up properly, coat the inner face of that side with wood glue and fit it around the handle making sure to line it up with the other half. Clamp it tightly and let it sit over night so the glue sets all the way.

I apologize for the lack of pics of the gluing itself, I had glue all over my hands and couldn't hold the camera.

Step 7: Shape It Up

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After the glue has had a chance to dry it's time to shape the hand grip. Wrap your hand around the handle like your going to swing the hammer and then mark a space just larger then your hand curving in from both sides. I used the rasp and sand paper in order to shape this part, but a skill saw or band saw would probably work too. After the handle is shaped go ahead and sand the entire thing to get it smooth, or in this case to remove the black paint.

Step 8: Don't Lose Your Head

Picture of Don't Lose Your Head

Next cut two pieces of dowel rod just longer then the head is thick. These will help keep the head from shifting once the hammer is in use. Mark and drill pilot holes for the dowels making sure to keep them centered on the head to ensure they go through the handle. Once the holes are in place, drip some wood glue down each hole and carefully pound the dowels in place. (I used the handle of my chisel, but a hammer would probably work better and be safer.) When you finish inserting the dowels set everything aside so the glue can dry.

Step 9: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing Up

When the glue is dry all that's left is to make it look nice. Cut the ends of the dowels flush to the hammer head and then sand everything smooth. You can also use this time to round off any sharp corners and make adjustments to the grip so it's more comfortable to hold. Once you've got it looking how you want, you're finished. You can choose to use some type of stain or sealant if you want, I wanted to leave it unfinished so the oils from peoples hands would slowly stain the wood. I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and that it helped you in some way. Please vote for me in the wood-working contest and since this is my first Instructable feel free to give me advice to make my next one better.

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