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Thread: hammertime

  1. #1

    hammertime

    I have things that I would want to change on some tools. Hammer handles feel too narrow. Same with axe handles. I have to make jigs and make myself handles I know that Ive measured some past and made notes on them. I used my fathers hammer maybe for 20 years. In the cabinet shop didn't need a hammer that often and most of the time it was for tapping the mostly wood handled chisels. I don't know about steel quality but its good.

    My fathers hammer feels when it hits, not sure. Its just a finishing size hammer so out of the shop needed other ones. Ive tried a number of hammers and I think l likely id want a Vaughan Titanium hammer with a stiletto smooth head face and Stiletto nail puller if i was choosing and a thicker wood handle. I bought a mini T when I had a Douglas and preferred things on either one to the other. If there is a better handle for me it would be the Douglas but still like larger. I emailed a major company once about their handle being sized so small. I did see a change in the very end of the handle in a store maybe a year later. I dont think the handle increased that much will look again one day.

    The best addition to the Douglas was putting on a stiletto air grip on it. I have one on the old guys Stanley hammers. I put an air grip on that. Its next or near my fathers. It has a nice feel. I still think fathers steel is better and cant say why. The stanley is 16" larger hammer, it also will tap the end of a chisel turned with it turned sideways. Past i had lots of small tools in the belt calipers and and and, the hammer would be used for different things. The douglas head turned sideways is not friendly to the end of wood chisels. The air grips seemed to be getting pretty expensive otherwise id have them on many tools.

    The mini T is the one im putting time into. Ive sliced the handle with a razor and slid it off. I will make a wood handle. I taped up the sliced up rubber original handle and slid it back on but not as far on and tried different lengths. It was nice to change the length of the handle and see how it feels. I can slide it on and it changes the feel of the hammer depending on the length.

    At an auction once i saw two hammers hanging on peg board. They both had very crude handles. The type where you walk up top a machine and make a thing in a few minutes just to be able to keep working. One of them was the most comfortable handle ive ever tried. I asked if they were with the auction and basically answered him he should keep them they are from his family business of 50 plus years. Thats a big deal. He said he was keeping them. The head of one was larger I think they were more upholstery specific. I bought some racking from them and spent some hours to help them clean the factory. Even the mom was there working with cleaning.

    I think if i make a wood handle for the Mini T then work out some fastening system like douglas uses for their handles and think Vaughan will as well. I dont know about drilling Titanium. Or if or how it would line up to how the inside of the hammer is done. I know any of them we pick up works and many of them are more than people ever had in the past. Same time when i re roofed a large section I used the nail puller on the mini T for the whole thing as I replaced the deck and that nail puller was so good I had to learn out to use it I flung nails onto the lawn several times just from the motion of using it and at the end they come out so fast.

    Anyone make their own hammer or axe handles? free hand or jigged up? I can see its a job for the shaper if jigged. Doesnt have to be at first those two I saw that I liked or the one of the two it was just done off a bandsaw or pushed onto the end wheel of an edge sander cant remember but was crude but comfortable.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjRkczQEB0U
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 06-05-2024 at 2:12 AM.

  2. #2
    I always have steel, straight claw Estwings hammers. I can not train myself not to pry with a wooden handle hammer. I do like to make handles and have made some clunkers, and a few that have become favorites. I made a steel protector for the splitting maul. It is nice to have the durability of steel below the head without sacrificing the comfort of wood.

    -Maurice

  3. #3
    I've made mallets and replaced handles on some tools, including some hammers. But for my regular use, 16oz. claw hammer, I have an old "Popular Mechanics" hammer I bought at Walmart some 30 years ago with a fiberglass and rubber handle that does me fine. I don't use hammers enough to really worry about comfort. Or maybe that hammer is just comfortable enough that I don't worry about it. Either way I've considered replacing it many times (if only because it wasn't a premium model to begin with), but keep coming to the same conclusion: Why? What's wrong with my current hammer that I need a better one? I've never complained about it's use.

    While hickory is the traditional wood for handles, I prefer Osage Orange. Why? Just because it's different. And if I'm going to replace the handle, might as well make it look like it's a replacement and convince myself it's an upgrade. I generally just cut a long rectangle and shape with a spokeshave to get it to feel right in my hand. Then cut it to length after it's assembled to get the balance right. I'm not too picky about the shaping and stuff. Good enough is all I need. Just grip it, feel where something bothers me, and shape it until it doesn't bother me. Pretty much the same process as with saw handles, only I use a rasp to shape them.

  4. #4
    I've made a few handles for some Japanese chisel hammers (gennou) ... all freehand. (Most artisan/blacksmith made gennou are sold as the head only, so you have to make your own handle.)

    These are in white oak and granadillo.

    The first handle I made for the one on top ... which was also the first handle I made ever ... was in zebra wood. But after using it a few times, I soon realized I'd made it just a bit to small for my grip to be comfortable over long stretches of morticing. So I replaced it with some white oak scrap I had on hand.

    I could've done a better job of getting them perfectly smooth (still a few card scraper marks), but I needed them to get in some chisel practice before starting a project. So, I chose to focus on making sure they were comfortable and functional rather than taking the time to get them absolutely perfect.

    handles 1.jpg

    handles 2.jpg
    Last edited by John McCrea; 06-05-2024 at 11:00 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Longview WA
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    Most of my shop made handles have been on chisels. After making a few mallets, one's handle was made on a lathe.

    Hickory Mallet With Turned Handle.jpg

    It is now my favorite mallet. It feels great in hand.

    The last time a lot of nails needed hammering was making a pair of ramps to drive the car on for oil changes.

    Car on Ramp.jpg

    It was made with a framing hammer (21 oz iirc). One thing about my hammers is the handle lengths are useful for measuring. My Stanley hammer is 12" and the framing hammer is 16".

    There are many hammers in the shop, including a pair of Estwing's, one old, one new, one claw, one rip.

    None of them have been in need of a new handle.

    My thoughts on changing the handle would be to try some bicycle handlebar tape or maybe some grip tape recently found for replacing a grip ring on my tripod.

    https://www.amazon.com/CATTONGUE-GRI...df_B08CS3Q3Y4/

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Right to left:
    - Second hammer bought when I started in the trades (1977)- still in use. Rubber grip is frayed, reinforced with hockey tape.
    - Primary daily user- electrician's hammer. Bought on a whim and has moved to the top spot. Toenailing, rides in hammer loop well, fiberglass handle is an excellent compromise. Some epoxy to smooth fraying under the head.
    - Used for quite a few years, but the head is fat for toe nailing, and who really pounds framing nails much these days? Second handle. Magnet is cool.
    - Japanese hammer in use one year +. Like it a lot but the head is not quite long enough to stay reliably in the loop on my pants. Made the handle. I generally carry large nippers and a small pry bar, so can often do without the claw.
    - Gotten from a free pile, this has done well for demolition.
    - Heavier Japanese. Quite good, handles of Japanese tools are generally rather skinny so several layers of tape to build it up.

    IMG_5029.jpg

    Right to left:
    - I believe this belonged to my grandfather, including post WW2 friction tape.
    - Handle cut shorter, built up with hockey tape and cord
    - Made this handle
    - Made this handle.
    - Primary chisel hammer. I was going to make a handle, but the existing one was well attached so I just added to it.
    - another built up skinny handle.


    IMG_5030.jpg

    - Curved claw
    - All steel You wouldn't use an all steel chisel, why would you use an all steel hammer? The blade-like Estwing shaft is also a problem.
    - Handle bolted to the head Tried one, kept coming loose, fail.
    - Tubular steel shaft Good, but I had one break.
    - Fiberglass shaft Good, durable.
    - Hatchet type handles- OK to hold, but too much trouble to get in and out of hammer loops.
    - Titanium Kind of an amazing material in general.

  7. #7
    The maul handle protector has been helpful. Not my prettiest welds, done with the AC buzz-box before I had magnification in the helmet.

    IMG_2019.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,839
    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron Wood View Post
    Right to left:
    - Second hammer bought when I started in the trades (1977)- still in use. Rubber grip is frayed, reinforced with hockey tape.
    - Primary daily user- electrician's hammer. Bought on a whim and has moved to the top spot. Toenailing, rides in hammer loop well, fiberglass handle is an excellent compromise. Some epoxy to smooth fraying under the head.
    - Used for quite a few years, but the head is fat for toe nailing, and who really pounds framing nails much these days? Second handle. Magnet is cool.
    - Japanese hammer in use one year +. Like it a lot but the head is not quite long enough to stay reliably in the loop on my pants. Made the handle. I generally carry large nippers and a small pry bar, so can often do without the claw.
    - Gotten from a free pile, this has done well for demolition.
    - Heavier Japanese. Quite good, handles of Japanese tools are generally rather skinny so several layers of tape to build it up.

    IMG_5029.jpg

    Right to left:
    - I believe this belonged to my grandfather, including post WW2 friction tape.
    - Handle cut shorter, built up with hockey tape and cord
    - Made this handle
    - Made this handle.
    - Primary chisel hammer. I was going to make a handle, but the existing one was well attached so I just added to it.
    - another built up skinny handle.


    IMG_5030.jpg

    - Curved claw
    - All steel You wouldn't use an all steel chisel, why would you use an all steel hammer? The blade-like Estwing shaft is also a problem.
    - Handle bolted to the head Tried one, kept coming loose, fail.
    - Tubular steel shaft Good, but I had one break.
    - Fiberglass shaft Good, durable.
    - Hatchet type handles- OK to hold, but too much trouble to get in and out of hammer loops.
    - Titanium Kind of an amazing material in general.
    The hammer upper pic far right looks like a Rocket. I appreciated with a Carpenter Wilber had a Rocket hammer the way he could use that hammer was amazing.
    My brother used a Stilitto titanium. I didnít care for that style for roofing because itís too lite and the handle was too long.
    My favorite hammers Dalluge and a hatchet I found behind a chimney on a shake roof in the mountains. Itís was the perfect shingle hammer. Iím fairly sure it was made long before I was born the steel was superior to anything Iíve used.
    I only had for a couple years because I lost it. Definitely a time traveling hammer
    Iíve never need to add a handle to a work hammer roofing doesnít affect the handles much.
    Plus Iíve have so many
    Dalluge have the best handles for my hand.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  9. #9

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