This hammer was found in my grandfather's home. The hammer was originally stacked layers of rubber that were rotten and falling off. I decided to put a new handle on it. The wood I used was reclaimed maple floorboards, walnut from a vineyard that was burning all their walnut trees, and mahogany from a rotten ol' boat my friend was taking to the dump.
Step 1: Clean Up the Hammer
I used a wire wheel on an angle grinder to clean off the old hammer. It had some glue and rust on it. I used a small wire brush to get in tight corners. I liked this method since it leaves the patina on the metal so it still looks old.
Step 2: Reshape Handle Bottom
The bottom of the handle had a rivet style connection. To get the retaining plate off I ground off the flared bottom of the handle. This meant that I needed to reshape the handle to reform the two pegs that would act as the rivets. I used an angle grinder for this.
Step 3: Preparing the Wood
I glued up three layers of scrap wood that was floorboards at one time from a salvage yard. The centerpiece of walnut was from a burn pile at a vineyard that was removing a walnut orchard to put in grapes. I then measured out the center that would need to be removed. This was removed with a brad point bit on the drill press and a file.
Step 4: Glue Up
I wanted a tight fit that would not rattle so I decided that wood glue between the layers and then calk between the metal and wood would make things solid and not come loose. I glued everything up while on the hammer to crush fit to the top edge of the hammer and metal so there would be no seam. I also did not trust everything aligning perfectly to slide on if I did not glue it while it was on the hammer.
Step 5: Plane and Rough Shape the Handle
I trimmed up the shape of the handle on the band saw to give a rough shape. Make sure not to hit the metal! I then plained down the sides of the handle. I decided the handle was going to be a little thin for my hand so I added another piece of wood to the sides using wood glue. This was mahogany from an old boat (I have a lot of odd wood saved up). I did not get any photos of this step.
Step 6: Rivet on the Retaining Base Plate
Before shaping too much I wanted to connect the base of the hammer so I did not make the handle too small for it. I used an angle grinder to get the pegs about 1/8" above the plate. While they were still glowing red hot from being ground down I peened them with a hammer to flare the peg and lock on the plate. I did not get a phot while they were hot since I only have 2 hands. Hit them as hard as you possibly can as fast as you can. It will not stay hot long.
Step 7: Shaping
I only used a spokeshave, micro plane, file, and chisel. Make sure your tools are sharp. I was hitting a lot of end grain which can cause tear out. I kept taking more off to the point where I liked the feel and then sanded the handle with an orbital sander and some and sanding near the edges where I didn't want to hit the metal.
Step 8: Finishing.
I like boiled linseed oil for projects that I am going to handle a lot. Pun intended. It is not a film finish and is easy to reapply when it needs some help. I put several coats on waiting several hours in between to allow for it to soak in and dry.
Step 9: Hammer Time!
This is not a drill!
Go hit on something.
Don't screw around.