Fixing My Broken Hammer




About: I like to Create things, destroy things, and learn about things in the process.

Found this hammer a few months back in a property clean out  and have become quite fond of it since that time. So the other day when i snapped the head off by over zealously pounding some metal flat i was not happy. I like the hammer but it was found so i wasn't about to spend money to fix it. I Looked around the shop for something to  become the new handle for my hammer but i did not have any items that fit the bill. Length was not a big issue so i decided to whittle the neck down salvage the old wedge and keep it oem. 

Step 1: Remove the Broken Piece

First step is to remove the broken piece of wood from the eye. I placed the head of the broken hammer over a hole in my anvil (sledge hammer head) placed a screw driver in the eye and tapped it out. Don't throw it away we need the wedge and to use as a guide to whittle down the shaft.

Step 2: Whitle Down the Neck

Take the piece you removed from the eye and use it as a guide to make rough guide marks. Start whittling below the material you would like to remove.  Start with long passes removing thicker areas until you are close to the size you need. As you get close take thin layers and test fit  so you don't get too small. once You have gotten it down to to size needed use a block of wood or rubber mallet to set the handle in the head.

Step 3: Salvage the Wedge

Now take the piece from the eye and split it to remove the wedge. I used my do it all knife to split it by placing the blade on wood and tapping the back with a hammer. Once you have liberated the wedge, line it up and tap it  in to secure the head. Now my free hammer is fixed and still free. Hooray!

Step 4: Finishing Up

Once you have liberated the wedge, line it up and tap it  in to secure the head. Now my free hammer is fixed and still free. Hooray!



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    11 Discussions

    Clever fix. I don't know if it occured to you or even if it's available where you live, but around here people who make their own handles keep a couple of hickory branches cut for just such things. Some of the best (and free) tool handles there are. Nice repair though, I like it.

    4 replies

    Thanks, i usually have hard wood scraps around but the culled lumber Cart at HD has been bare lately. But now you've got me wanting to go into the woods behind my house and explore....any special way i need to dry them first?

    ironsmiter gave you a great answer. We always just had a few laying around the shop, never broke enough to need to dry them any quicker. They can crack a bit but it's generally not much or often.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    for a fairly long period of time, if you just let them air dry.

    a few months in a normal "indoor shop" setting.
    drying outside, or in a shop open to the weather... entirely depends on the weather.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Reminds me of the first time I ever put a handle on a hammer. I learned eventually not to whittle with a knife. I use a rasp now. I get much better fits doing that. I have to test fit the head on the handle a lot though, then I file down the high spots I see on the wood. High spots either show up as rust, or dirt spots, or if the hammer eye hole is clean the wood still compacts and takes on a shiny appearance. So just file those shiny spots down. Another trick is to mark the sides of the handle, and hammer head, so as I test fit them together I always do it the same way around.

    Getting the grain direction of the handle right is pretty important too. The grain should lean towards the striking face.

    I use a wooden wedge the long way on the handle and a metal wedge perpendicular to that, if I need it.

    Soaking the end with linseed oil helps keep the handle secure too.

    Here is a hatchet I did not too long ago:

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the pointers,i like the hatchet. Gonna have to remember to try the linseed oil next time.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, I read about the linseed oil trick online. It does seem to work. Makes sense to seal the exposed end grain so it does not dry out and cause the handle to become loose. Why it is linseed oil though I've no idea. Folks I've seen pour linseed oil into a container and soak the heads in it, but I don't like to waste that much oil so I put the tool into a vise head up, and soak the eye hole with as much oil as I can get it to take. Seems to do the job to me, and wastes a lot less oil.

    I did a good job on that hatchet so it will probably outlast me. Here is a hammer I made in reverse. By that I mean I made a head to fit a handle: