Restoring a Hammer With Reclaimed Wood

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About: I am a woodshop/maker teacher. I have been woodworking since I was 9. I like to make things that are out of the ordinary to push myself and continue to learn and grow. I try to challenge my students to do th...

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.

Supplies:

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!

Nailed it.

Go hit on something.

Don't screw around.

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    4 Discussions

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    4 weeks ago

    Looks great! I like the way it looks with the seperate piece of wood going up the side :)

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    bakichmg

    Question 4 weeks ago

    That is really nice work!! I am wondering why you don't see the layers of the wood all the way around the handle?? The sides are one layer of wood. Thanks for sharing.

    2 answers
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    gasserwoodshopbakichmg

    Answer 4 weeks ago

    After step 5 I decided that it was too narrow for my hand so separate pieces of wood were glued on to give more thickness.