Introduction: How to Make a Hammer in 20+ Years
So, when I was a kid, me and my older brother often were visiting the village and sometimes we were left there for a week or so with our grandma and having something to do with all that free time. Once, when staying there, among the junk in the garage we found a piece of metal blank that we decided to to turn into a hammer. It was more than 20 years ago, and, maybe it all is fake memories, but in this instructable, beside showing on how to make a hammer I'm going to talk about abbandoned projects and finishing them eventually... Or not.
And here it is. Here I'm talking about it... If you're a person, who makes stuff, quiet possibly, youre familiar with situation when you have to abbandone a project for undefinite ammount of time. Sometimes it's completelly consiouos desition, but sometimes, as it often hapens to me, at some point you're just realising that you have swollen more than you can comprehend. The idea looks neat in your mind but, when you're getting it to the workshop, on practice, you often realize that you don't have enough skills, tools or knowledge to accomplish the project. And continuing working on it just gets more and more frustrating.
What I want to say here is that it's ok to just leave it unfinished and just set it aside for better days. I'm saying that because I am myself is always anxious about leaving unfinished projects behind. It's something you constantly keep thinking about, and on the back of your mind... it's always there. But despite that, here's my advice: if you feal that something doesn't go, don't force it. Take a bag... or a box... gather all the pieces of your project and pack in. Write a note to your future self on keypoint details about the projects or what you meant to do with it. Attach the note to the package and leave it all somewhere. It might not be the solution for many people, who are determined to get the job done nommater what, but... we all different. I know, that I can force myself to finish something that I have started recently, but at the end I never feel happy with the result. You don't want to surround yourself with stuff that not makes you feel happy... I was making a box once, and everything was fine until some point. My tools were dull, and I didn't have skills... it was getting more and more frustrating, and eventually I started to procrastinate on finishing hr project... But, at some point I just packed it all in the box and left it alone. When I returned to this project 11 month later it was a joy to accomplish it, since during that time I've learned how to sherpen my tools, some techniques on working with then and many other things. And this hammer took me 20+ years to finish it... Someone does one thing in one go. Someone does many tings in many goes.
So, this what me and my brother have mannaged to concieve out of simple square iron blank more than 20 years ago (unless, ofcouce, I remmember it right).
- Chop it into lenght.
- Drill a bunch of holes for an earhole (I'm not sure if it's a correct term).
- File one side to a wedge.
This was the state at which I've found this supposed hammerhead a couple mounts ago on visitong the village. It remained unfinished since all those years and now it was the time for getting it done.
Firstly I've roughly filed the whole thing till the point where deaper initial dents weren't visible, and overall geometry was good enough.
Than I had to deal with the earhole.
Firstly I marked the lines at the sides of the blank wit calipers to set the thickness of the walls. As you can see the holes were drilled quiet unevenly. At some places they were too close to the edge, so I had to leave some areas not complettely flat. I used a flat hand file for that.
Then I have rounded the ends of the outlet with round file, and created a widening towards the top of the hammer head for the handle to be wedged. Usually hammerheads have this widening going in all directions, but since I had the wall so thing I did it only in one way.
After that I did some finer sanding on surfsces.
Then I polished it on a felt wheel with polishing compound. Since the blank wasn't perfect from the beginning I wasn't too fanatic on getting mirror like surface.
Relatively small pieces like this are getting uncomfortaly hot on polishing so having some gloves on is often a good idea.
Now, with a head being done I could deal with the handle.
To make it I used a piece of firewood. It was from an appricot, and ity has some really nice texture to it along with reasonable strenght.
Firstly I used a metal wedge to split the wood to rough dimensions. and than I shaped it into slightelly tapering plank. The dimesions of the narrow end are derrived from the size of the earhole of the hammerhead and are slightelly larger in size than it at this point.
You can do some more accurate job on your piece if fixing the handplane in a vice and drawing the wod against it. I did it to round the corners on the handle blank.
Then I did some final shaping with variety of tools.
Firstly I cut the handle into lenght with a saw.
Then I prepared the portion that goes inside the head to fit the earhole. I used knife there, but it can be done with a rasp or powertols.
If you're thinking that I'm giving some pretty much basic advices here... That's kind of true. I'm Aiming here for a begginer level of craftworkers here. ... Othervice there, kind of, won't be a substance for a tutorial here...
A beltsander also was used to shape the handle, along with some final sanding by hand up to ~600 grit (the sandpaper didn't have markings on it).
When the handle is done and fits nise and snug in the hammerhead cut a slit for a wedge on the top end. It should go aout 2/3 of the depth of the hammerhead (plus, obviously, the leftover to be cut off lated).
Put the Head on the handle next.
The correct way of putting the hammerhead on the handle is next:
- put the hammerhead on the handle till it sits somewhat firmly;
- flip the hammer and hold it at an angle towards the floor (head is down);
- tap the handle with another hammer, untill the head sits firmly on the handle (it'll go firmer and firmer on tapping);
There's also a table of required lenghts of handles according to the weight of the heads accordingli to soviet standarts, but I currently have no acces to it (I'm too lazy), but if you're interested - let the comment and I'll find it and kill it... post it.
From the cut off piece of wood that I had left with after trimming the handle I'm making a wedge.
There's a bunch of ways you can wake a wedge. You can cut with a saw... or... or you can cut it with a saw... But I just splitted the piece of wood with a chisel, carved some material out to shape it into wedge and sanded edges smooth the.
Smear some wood glue on the wedge and drive it into the slit with a hammer.
But for a good hammer one wedge is not enough, so while the glue on the wooden wedge is drying< we have to make some more wedges of metal.
Any scrap metal will do. You can accomplish it with a hecksaw and a file. Step-like ridges, that you can see on the photo wil provide secure grip in the wood preventing the wedges from popping out.
When the glue has dried, cut the excess material off the handle aprox 1-2mm from the head.
Drive the metal wedges in. They should epand the wood in the hammerhead earhole securing the handle firmly (I'm never getting this part looking good in the result).
I always brand my new tools. Although I haven't made my personal branding iron at thye moment, it's better to have atleast generic sun-thing burned on your tool (we sometimes have random workers working at our house often using our tools, so it's good to have them branded... just in case... Branded tools, not workers...)
And then a coat of boiled linsead oil...
Apply the oil, leave it for few minutes, then wipe off the excess. 24 hours later sand it with fine sanpaper, repeat after another 24 hours... and, maybe, once more. You'll get nice smooth wooden surface that not too glossy to make your palm sweat too much, and all you have to do to refresh it after time of using is to send it lightelly and give a new coat of oil.
And this is it. As you can see, this hammer in't perfect in some places. The handle have split on driving a wedge since it was a bit too thick and the wood wasn't restricted enough at the base of the hammerhead. Also I had to came up with a handle bit wide as for this size of the hammerhead since the earhole was a bit wide... And the sanding an both the wood, and the metal is not perfect...
I liked this project though. This hammer looks nice and will serve me for a bunch of years. So yeah, it took me 20+ years to make this hammer (more like, my brother has started, and I have finished) and.. it's ok.
So, this is it for now, thanks for your attention and have a nice hameer.
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