My wife and I both love the marvel moves and now that we have a baby I wanted to impart some of our nerdom into their toys. And why buy something when you can make something unique just for them. This led me to create a scaled down version of Mjolnir that was designed to be a rattle.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Materials and Concerns
The main concern about making something for a baby is to make sure that it will not hurt the baby with the materials that you choose. With this project you will want to make sure the wood, glue, rattle fill, and finish are all materials that you are comfortable with a baby putting in their mouth.
Wood: From what I could find, woods are mostly a problem if you breath in the dust of some but I wanted to be safe anyways. I couldn't find any concerns with Maple but there was a little concern from some people online about Walnut. I found a lot of baby items made out of walnut so I figured it shouldn't be a problem, I'll just keep a watchful eye to make sure there is no problem.
Glue: Look at the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the glue you plan on using just to double check there are no side effects if ingested. Titebond Original is safe if ingested.
Fill: The fill shouldn't ever leak out but just in case you will want to make sure that if it is swallowed it won't be a problem. Rice is a safe bet but if you want something louder and use plastic or metal just make sure its a nontoxic plastic or it does not contain lead. I used a mix of rice with bb's added to increase the noise. The bb's are copper plated steel so there is no poison concern and they would just pass right through.
Finish: Since this is the coating covering everything, this is the most important to make sure it is safe. Look for any food safe finishes as these are designed to be safe if ingested. I had some mineral oil laying around that I bought for my cutting board so that is what I used.
Step 2: Design
This design was based off of the wood that I had on hand. It was all 3/4 inch thick so that is what drove the size of the rattle. I then modeled it to confirm the angles needed to make it look correct. This is going to be a simplified version of the hammer as I don't have a good way to add all the details well. To somewhat match the colors of the hammer, I am going to use walnut to give it a dark handle and maple for the head.
Step 3: Making the Head Shape
The Head was designed to be three pieces of maple stacked to create a 2.25 x 2.25 x 4 inch block. I used my table saw to cut these to shape but you can use whatever you have.
Step 4: Handle
To create the Handle, I cut the piece of walnut so that it was a 0.75 x 0.75 inches and at least 6 inches long. I then used my wood lathe to turn it into a cylinder. Mjolnir has some ribs on the handle so I wanted to do my best to partially recreate those by adding grooves while it was on my lathe. It won't have the same two colors as the movie version but I think it gives it a similar but simplified look. Mjolnir also has a silver cap on the end of the handle and to partially create this I glued on a thin piece of maple that I sanded down to match the handle diameter.
Step 5: Making It Rattle
To make this a rattle, it needed to have an open space to house the fill. Because this was three pieces of wood, all I needed to do was hollow out the center piece of wood and then it would all be contained when glued together. To do this, I just drilled three 1 inch holes and then used a chisel to clean up the pocket. I was using a spade bit that was self driving so I had to pre-drill holes so that it wouldn't pull in too quickly. This also allowed me to drill from both sides to prevent blowout.
Now to determine what to put in the rattle. You could essentially use whatever you want as long as it sounds good to you and you make sure it's safe for a baby. I tried both bb's and rice. The rice was too quite and the bb's were too loud/metallic sounding so I used a combination of the both of them. This gave me a sound I liked.
Now that you decided on the fill, it is time to glue it together. I glued one side first, when that was dry I added the fill and then glued on the other piece making sure to keep that piece facing up so that the fill would not come into contact with any glue that may have seeped out when clamped.
Step 6: Shaping the Head
This step is the reason that I made a model of the hammer. I determined that the angles on the end of the hammer were 25 degrees and 0.5 inches tall. After making the first angles, I decided to stop there even though I modeled in the other angles that the movie hammer has. I thought it looked good just like this and it kept it looking more like Thor's hammer in the comics. Now that the angles were cut, I just sanded it all down to round over the sharp edges and remove any saw marks.
Step 7: Attach the Handle
The Head and Handle are both now complete so it is time to attach them together. I just drilled a 5/8 inch hole in the bottom of the hammer to fit the handle because that is the diameter handle came out as. It didn't sit very tight so I made a small wooden pin to better hold the pieces together.
Step 8: Add Finish
Now that it is all glued together, the last step is to apply your finish. As I mentioned before, I used mineral oil because that is what I had on hand but you can use whatever food safe finish you would like.
Step 9: Complete
Now just let the baby that you deem worthy play with this mighty rattle. Some might say this is a tad large for a rattle but if you expect them to be like Thor then you can't give them some dinky little rattle.
Second Prize in the
Big and Small Contest