Introduction: Adapt a Sledgehammer Head to Make a Big Boy Blacksmith Hammer.
Need a bigger hammer? I did. I kept buying hammers for blacksmithing and none of them seemed beefy enough for really whacking the heavy stuff. They were fine for normal work, just not for really pounding and moving a big bar of damascus I'm making. I have a sledgehammer, but most of the time I work alone in the forge, so can't use it.
I decided to take an old sledgehammer head and make a suitable big hammer. I could have just put a short handle on it, but it would have been too heavy (8lbs) and not the shape I wanted.
Old sledgehammer head
handle, or suitable wood for handle
Angle grinder with metal cutting discs and sandpaper flap disc
Step 1: Outline Your Idea...
Get your old sledgehammer head and draw the shape you'd like with a sharpie. For my purposes, I wanted the main face to have a small flat disc area, then be rounded away. This means I could put a huge force (considering my puny arm) in a small area and use the rounded parts in various ways.
I drew a circle on the face the same size as my claw hammer head. This was centred so I could cut and sand away equally and evenly. The picture shows it after I'd cut some of the meat away, I got a bit carried away and forgot to take a photo before this.
On the rear side I wanted a 'cross pein', the second picture shows the hammer head on it's side with the first outline made. I then matched the key lines across the top and back so that I could exactly repeat the sides.
Step 2: Cut and Sand...
I used the cutting disc first and cut away the waste steel, making sure I didn't go over the sharpie marks.
Then I switched to the flap disc. I used 60 grit, because that's what I had. It moves steel incredibly well. I had no idea how well. Phew!
I was going to go up through the grits but the 60 did a lovely job, and in any case mine will be used for the initial whacking of very hot metal so a mirror finish wouldn't last long.
I gave a quick sanding to the top and left the sides rusty because I love the way it looks.
Step 3: What's Your Handle?
I was initially going to make a handle from an old table leg I had, but after testing it wasn't strong enough. Nowhere near strong enough. It turns out there is a reason they don't make pine hammer handles...
I did want to make the handle but a suitable piece of something suitable (hickory, beech etc) would have cost me WAY more then the £3.80 a hickory sledgehammer handle cost.
I fitted the handle by sanding roughly to the shape of the hammer 'eye'. I then sawed a thin slot at the top that would accept the wedge. I then put the hammer head on the floor and put handle in and whacked away with the big hammer whose fate it is no longer be the big hammer...
Once the handle was flush and firmly fitted I turned it the correct way up and hammered in the steel wedge. Make absolutely certain the hammer is solid.
Saw the handle to a size that suits. Slightly longer than suits, just in case...
I rubbed a bit of linseed oil on the handle.
Step 4: Boom!
Admire your new hammer.
Step 5: Bang!
Hit something with your new hammer.
Step 6: File (no, Hammer...)
Give it pride of place on your wall of hammers. I roughly engraved the weight on the side and then on the side of the other hammers I mainly use so that I can see at a glance what to expect. But I expect I am the only one dumb enough to want this.
I've used it a few times now, and I can honestly say it is the best hammer I have used. It's not for every job, but it has plenty of whack when you need whack.