Fitting a Wooden Handle to a Hammer Head

23Dec08

   Doing my usual Sunday visit to the Flea Market, I found a nice cobbler’s hammer head (german pattern). I got it, excited by the idea to fit it with a nice new handle it deserves. The head alone costed a little less than 2 euros, so it will be a pretty cheap distraction. 😉  Indeed, this will be my first wooden handle fitting ever. But first, let me introduce the head:

Cobbler's Hammer Head (german pattern)

Cobbler's Hammer Head (german pattern)

Cobbler's Hammer Head (german pattern)

 

   For this first try, I’ll make the handle out of a prefabricated oak hammer handle (300 gr.) that one can buy at tools stores:

Prefab. oak handle

 

   The most durable hammer handle will have the grain oriented parallel to the hammer head (and wedge). A diagonal (to the head) grain is also acceptable. Perpendicular grain should be avoided since it is the more prone to breaking.  The one I have has a diagonal grain.   

Handle grain

 

   First, I’ve shorten the length of the handle to about 27 cm. Since it was also too thick for the hammer eye, I make it thinner on the portion that will go inside the hammer eye. I also cut a slot in the handle to tighten the head using a wooden wedge:

Handle prepared to accept the head

 

   Before I secured the head with the wedge, I checked for many times the correct alignment and position of the head. Only when I was sure that the head position relative to the handle it correct, I secured it in place using a mahogany wedge and  white wood glue. I’ve also put a trace of montage kit inside the head eye to have a complete sealed joint. I know this isn’t a very ortodox approach, but for sure it will add a plus of strength.  I secured the wooden wedge using a smaller metal wedge, hammered diagonally to the wooden one. I’ve grind the assembly flush to the surface of the head and then I polished it a bit using an angle-grinder fitted with sandpaper. This is the result:

Head secured with a wooden and a metal wedge

 

   I gave some finishing touches by lightly polishing the striking areas with the angle-grinder and sandpaper:

Finished hammer

Finished hammer

Finished hammer

Finished hammer

Finished hammer - striking area

The End!

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