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Hammer Time


Some time back, I took a job.

It was Adriaan.  He needed hammers.  Or rather had hammers, but needed handles.

Well, there was a great oversized cobbler's head.  I had seen what I though were big cobbler's heads.  But this one was gigantic.  Baby Huey hammer.  Adorable...

And even though the vermin has been kind of quiet here lately (you wanna get in here A??) if you remember he was getting into some blacksmith work and doing really well for a newbie at it, right out of the box.  So he really needed a solid smithing hammer.  Then of course he sent me a third just because, I guess.

Carving a hammer handle is pretty easy once you get into it. They're basically straight after all.  Drawknives, spokeshaves, scrapers is pretty much all it takes.  A shavehorse makes all this enormously faster and easier but any old bench vise will do, really.  Designing the handle for it's intended purpose and getting it to really work and feel right in the stroke and in the hand?  That takes a little longer and more experience.  There are subtle differences between what will become your favorite hammer and just another candidate on the rack.

Well, I was in love with the cobblers head. Looked like Santa Clause all over the place to me.  For the "art" handle this was the one that appealed most in the looks department.  Had to lay in the palm just right too, or the full effect would have been lost. 

The heavy cross pein smithing head? Well, for close up smithing work where you will be choking up on the handle there is a lot of leeway in design.  But for the full length swing and give it all you got walloping, a guy needs leverage. Tremendously more power you get with more leverage.  This also make the hammer vulnerable since a miss-strike at full tilt can be an instant snap of the handle just below the head.

We've all seen this, all done this most likely. So this one got the long handle with full hand filling grip and welded straps to take a mistake or two and keep ticking.  They look pretty clean and brightly new here, but a little time will take care of that.  I didn't want to take the patina away from the old veteran head and the new straps left naked like this will rust and crust and settle in real quick.  I expect they are more moved in looking already.

The third was an engineer's pattern.  Nobody's favorite, really.  Just a heavy hand hammer that can do a job, but not much in the appearance department.  Unless strict industrial functional design is your thing.  I figured this one would be the backup hammer. 

Well, it's been a few weeks and they seem to be working out so far.

It's kind of odd trying to put yourself across the country and in another persons body and think what you'd be doing with a tool if you were someone else and try to make it work and then not ever really knowing if they exceeded expectations or could have been better in some way or other.

Adriaan said they were good (thanks again), but I'll never really know... :-)

Want a peek?

yours, Scotty
in Happy Camp, CA
email:  Scott Grandstaff
July, 2007

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