Chisels


   
 

Shop Fun with Scott Grandstaff


 
 

Small Hammer Handle

 

A few weeks ago I got some tools in exchange for making a couple blades.  Kind of neat, a heavy box of assorted tool parts to peruse in swap for a couple blades to be used immediately. Nice Galoot swap for us both. Among them was this small hammer head.

I look for small hammers anyway and this one is a beaut.  It's a 12oz claw.  It's extra small but it's fully formed with a long octagonal ground neck and long nicely forged claws.  It's marked craftsman.  Every once in a while Sears would contract for a really elegant tool among the usual second rate they have always handled.  So, how do the rest of you feel about design?

Design is why I work wood and metal both.  It's what I strive for above all. Like anyone, there are repair and construction jobs I face that require just plain work But every chance I get, the reason I would-want-to make something, well it's design that makes it worthwhile.  Something new, something different, something prettier than the old pattern.

While ax handle shaped hammer handles aren't new by any means, everything commercial I see is generally somewhat harsh and abrupt.  The lines don't flow very well at all to my eye. I cut this in 1/2 an hour after looking and thinking about it at least as long as that before I started. 

Planning your design and then working through toward it, is what I do.  It's very easy to compromise your idea when you get into the middle.  The wood grain will fight you and tool limitations come into play so you have to be ready to swap horses in mid stream to another tool and sometimes back again.

The wood is of course second growth American hickory.  As hard and tough as American wood gets.  It's too bad all I had were my rough ground, barely passable, crude sloppy freehand honed tools.

yours, Scott
February, 2008


 
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