Picture of Making a Viking / Barbarian War Hammer
 This instructable will show you how to make a leather Wrapped Viking / Barbarian  war hammer. The one I have the most pictures of is the prototype. I make these 3 at a time and all are unique  so if the colors of the leather or the handles don't match from picture to picture the techniques are still the same.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
   The base I currently use for the war hammer is called a commander, a large mallet used in timber framing. These are available at The Japan Woodworker in Alameda CA (www.japanwoodworker.com).

    5 to 7 oz. Tooling leather (Vegetable Tanned) or  latigo

    Leather dyes in the color of your choice

    Antique Brass Upholstery tacks

    Heavy thread or artificial sinew and needles

    2" brass ring or antler crown for end cap

    40' of sisal rope

    Snap Clip

    2   3" Screws

    30 or so 3/4" carpet tacks


    Band, Jig Or Coping Saw

    Razor Knife


    Propane or Mapp gas torch

    Wire Brush

    Drill and Drill Bits




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Speidumb3 years ago
Just finished mine. I couldn't bring myself to pay $70 for a Commander, so I built mine out of an old fence post I had used as a caber tossing trainer. Some old gun straps I got from the discount bin at work, and a few hours of work, and I ended up with this - not quite the same, but it should work.

2012-05-17 22.30.32.jpg
bevmo63 (author)  Speidumb3 years ago
Very Nicely done. You do my instructable honor sir.
Cheers Ronin
mmd208711 months ago

what size of commander would you recommend? on Japan woodworker, there is a 120 mm and a 135 mm

bbyrd19871 year ago
I wood like to contact the person who makes the viking/barbarian war hammer. I would like to make one for my self. I did not know if you had more details on how to make it or even a video. Where do I get the materials. It seems it will be difficult and I do not want to mess it up. If you have a phone # or e-mail address it would be great. If you can contact me (Brent) at rbyrd16@nc rr.com I would very much appreciate it. Thank You Brent
muskyman2 years ago
What is this end made out of?
The other ending not the rope and ring ending or the antler crown
bevmo63 (author)  muskyman2 years ago
I was told it is a rock drilling bit.
That's different. I would of never thought of putting that on a war hammer. How did you attach it to the hammer and made it stay on?
bevmo63 (author)  muskyman2 years ago

After burning out 4 HSS bits.....
I sanded the handle to a tight fit, took a " V " groove chisel and grooved the handle like a dowel pin, then used a 2 part knife makers epoxy generously in the grooves and pounded the whole thing together.
If you have a source for these please let me know, I found this one at an antique store and have been looking for more ever since.

AlienHive3 years ago
Ever thought about plaiting the leather handle like a whip? Just a thought...
BTW, Fantastic Instructable... Can't wait to get my hands on a Commander...
apon seeing this ,the sweedish part of me screamed i gotta make me one,thanks for the assist
bevmo63 (author)  bobby sissom4 years ago
Love to see a picture when you are done. Cheers Ronin
Jorthnir4 years ago
I'm confused about the whole burning thing... do you actually set them on fire? because that doesn't make sense to me.... maybe i'm missing something. I've had my commander for a loooong time and never gotten around to doing anything with it.... is it too late to burn the wax off or whatever? or will it still be fine? thanks
bevmo63 (author)  Jorthnir4 years ago
The mapp gas torch is used to char the wood it is only meant to penetrate the surface about 1/16". this is a wood distressing technique. The packing wax melts off and also into the wood. It is hard to stain over wax and this darkens the wood well. Your commander will be fine the age doesn't matter. If you are unsure about the burning try it on a 2 x4 . Burn it till it's black and then brush it out with the grain with a wire brush. Should feel like driftwood when you are done. Cheers Ronin.
That is the best fantasy toy I have seen in a long time :-)  Do you make replicas of real weapons or just fantasy weapons like this one?
bevmo63 (author)  charlesian20005 years ago
 Thanks For The Comment . This is an actual functioning weapon based on a timber framing mallet .  Enemies Crushed To Date 3 Watermelons and 5 Ketchup Injected Cantaloupes.  We Tried Using It To Cut A Wedding Cake But Soon Found It Was The Wrong Tool.  This is the only Style Weapon To Date Others In Process. Cheers.
This is one I made a few years back, a bit rough, but I've gotten better since. I enjoy pattern welding better than straight steel these days.
I have a question. Since quite obviously you know the difference between pattern welding and Damascus steel, do you know if anyone has perfected the process again? All of the ads claiming "Damascus Steel" are starting to get on my nerves and I'm wondering if any of them have any truth, since I can't very well buy them all and test them myself.
Hey Dude,

Well the term Damascus steel has been misused since the 70's, this is why I use the different terms.

Al Pendray has gotten a close approximation, and there are a few people making wootz pucks, or bulat pucks (all of which are very close to true damascus steel).



There are many people attempting and getting very close.
Thanks! the second site, that guy has almost got it perfect!
bevmo63 (author)  charlesian20004 years ago
Absolutely Beautiful. Do You Sell These at Any Venues? We Are Always looking for new artisan sword makers especially pattern welded. E Mail Me If This is of interest to you. Thanks. Ron Foster
browncar5 years ago
This is cool project for woodworking. What kind of wood do you suggest ? Dimensions and so forth.
bevmo63 (author)  browncar5 years ago
The Head Is 5 X 5 X 9.75 The Handle is 36" but I Would Make It 42 To 48"  Due To The Spike Which Sticks Out 3 or 4 " And The Head Size . The Head Is Japanese White Oak. I Would Use A Similar Wood And A Hickory Handle.
Greyman bevmo635 years ago
Big Thanks
I have got some Jarra wood off cuts from railway sleepers that I am going to try. I really like this one
bevmo63 (author)  Greyman4 years ago
Please send me a Jarra Wood cutoff For a mini thors hammer!
Greyman bevmo634 years ago
Where to
Thanks for the dimensions . Also just finding a good hickory handle should work fine.
How thick is the handle.

bevmo63 (author)  Don,t try this at home5 years ago
Pretty Much The Same As A Sledge Hammer Handle
As I said on your shield 'ible, truly, this is well done, and easily adaptable to a battle-grade object by the simple requisite of replacing the leather strapping with steel, and in this case, the head. an extraordinarily formidable weapon, the warhammer takes exceptional strength to wield properly. Again, well done! Keep up the good work!
teckner4 years ago
Great instructable. I've been working on it (and would like to try your shield instructable as well), but I'm stuck at the braiding part. Could you clarify how you go about doing it? I mean brading on the handle, the "over one under one" pattern.
bevmo63 (author)  teckner4 years ago
Thanks I Hope This Helps. Cheers Ron
War Hammer Braid.jpg
teckner bevmo634 years ago
Thanks. For some reason I thought that you were cutting individual strips and going under-over like that.
bevmo63 (author)  teckner4 years ago
It can be done either way. If you leave the top attached slightly taper the strands toward the bottom if I remember correctly the handle does taper and the leather gets bunched up. Ron
red-king5 years ago
 do you think it would be possible ot make the hammer's head in 2 parts? or should I just go get a bigger piece of wood for the head?
bevmo63 (author)  red-king5 years ago
You could make the head out of two pieces.
  I would run the grain long ways and glue them top to bottom rather than side to side, then drill or mortise for the handle.  I would also countersink and screw them together, plugging the screw holes afterward.
 alright. thanks.
gluing top to bottom wouldn't be very strong, you shouldn't glue end grain.
bevmo63 (author)  snowluck23454 years ago
I Wasn't talking about end grain, but gluing between layers as in laminating 12 pieces of 8" x 12" x 3/4" stock top to bottom and drilling through. The end grain is the hammer Face.
For some reason I thought you were talking about the handle, even though It says head.
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