LumberJocks

How to Make a Hammer Handle

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Blog entry by Lemongrasspicker posted 06-12-2017 01:26 PM 709 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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So hammers are something that we all use and quite frankly there’s as many different ones as there are people in the world. There’s a hammer for every job, and there’s a gorilla somewhere that knows how to use it.

To keep it practical, hammers/handles are purely individual taste. I’m not a big fan of overthinking things like thickness/shape/curve/popularityontheinternet. There’s no wrong way to do it but there are ways that work better than others.

I get alot of my thought process from the Japanese. When you buy a hammer from a Japanese blacksmith you will only receive the head without a handle attached. The reason that this is done is because they expect you to make the handle yourself.

It’s a simple thing but it speaks volumes to the mindset. The smith understands that each worker/carpenter is an individual and will have different preferences. Thus he cannot please everyone should he try to make a handle for each head that he produces. The handles that you see on the hammers at places like the homeless despot are simply trying to please as many different users as possible. Granted some folks might not have the time to make a handle for each and every tool they own, but consider that a well made handle can last for many years (just look on ebay for vintage ones with the handles still attached). Also figuring out a method/shape that may make you a better worker can be a great payoff in the long run.

For me I add a very slight curve to my handles in a similar fashion as a Japanese genno. Nothing too drastic, I also round the edges and leave it slightly squared off (just slightly). For me this works well, ymmv.

So for a guy like me it’s really worth the time to pick up some solid, well made hammer heads (you can get them for almost nothing) and put the time and effort in to cleaning them up and fitting good well made handles. Plus you’ll get some interesting responses from your buddies and they may want you to refurb grand dad’s old hammer that they’ve been hanging in the garage for the past 30 years.

Anyways, thanks for reading!

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker



3 comments so far

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

108 posts in 119 days


#1 posted 06-12-2017 04:41 PM

Nice perspective, I didn’t know about smiths not putting a handle on a hammer, although it makes sense. I remember reading that previously, chisels were sold without handles too, so it fits.

Besides the typical ash or hickory, do you have a preferred or unique hammer handle species?

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

91 posts in 159 days


#2 posted 06-12-2017 04:54 PM



Nice perspective, I didn t know about smiths not putting a handle on a hammer, although it makes sense. I remember reading that previously, chisels were sold without handles too, so it fits.

Besides the typical ash or hickory, do you have a preferred or unique hammer handle species?

- FoundSheep

Not really, you want to use wood that’s strong but flexible and not excessively hard/dense.

I’ve experimented with woods like red/white oak in the past. Oddly enough each oak handle I’ve ever made either bit the dust after some gorilla smackin. Or cracked because a nail just put up too much of a fight.

No idea why that is but I don’t use oak for any handles except for hooped (japanese) chisels/carving tools. Take that for what it’s worth.

What’s more important is the grain of the handle, you want straight, well cut grain that has little to no runout. The less runout the better your handle will be.

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

9579 posts in 2043 days


#3 posted 06-12-2017 07:34 PM

+1 on no runout. Also fast growing wood with wide growth rings is preferable for hammer handles, it has better shock resistance. I made a handle from a piece of mystery wood for a ball peen hammer but it only held up a couple years, I need to make another, maybe your video will come in handy. Also made a hatchet handle from a holly branch but it is still drying, haven’t installed it yet.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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