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Hammer Handle, Wood Species

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Forum topic by FoundSheep posted 03-05-2017 02:23 PM 729 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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FoundSheep

150 posts in 295 days


03-05-2017 02:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question handle species

I’ve been trying to find an answer, but I haven’t been able to find one in the LJ forum history nor through regular Bing searches. So I figured I would ask the collective knowledge here.

I need to re-handle a hatchet, and make a handle for a new mallet, and I was wondering what different wood species I could use. Of course I’ve seen most sources and commercial options include hickory, but is that the only one? Maple, oak, ash, etc., what makes a good handle? What would/should I look for, and what should I avoid?

Of course, if this question has been answered here or somewhere else, a link would be great rather than having people re-answer. Much appreciated, looking forward to using your answers in a new project.

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs


12 replies so far

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2600 posts in 2836 days


#1 posted 03-05-2017 02:32 PM

I made a bunch from left over oak I had. Looked nice…..BUT they all broke at the head…..fibers not strong enough ….....
I have also shaped some from older baseball bats…..they used to be hickory inside. Picked them up at yard sales cheap…...I ve never tried anything else yet !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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firefighterontheside

16948 posts in 1695 days


#2 posted 03-05-2017 02:34 PM

I would go with ash if I had some.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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mike02130

167 posts in 511 days


#3 posted 03-05-2017 02:35 PM

Hickory

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Bobmedic's profile

Bobmedic

375 posts in 2641 days


#4 posted 03-05-2017 03:12 PM

Lignam Vitae could be an option. It’s the hardest wood on the planet. Otherwise stick to the tried and true of ash or hickory.

View xeddog's profile

xeddog

173 posts in 2846 days


#5 posted 03-05-2017 05:36 PM

+1 Hickory

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TheFridge

8332 posts in 1325 days


#6 posted 03-05-2017 05:41 PM



+1 Hickory

- xeddog

Ditto. Or find another species that has a lot of shock resistance. Pretty sure ash is in the category as well.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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firefighterontheside

16948 posts in 1695 days


#7 posted 03-05-2017 05:46 PM

When MLB used ash bats they seldom broke. Now that they use hard maple, people are getting severely injured in the stands.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6012 posts in 2038 days


#8 posted 03-05-2017 06:07 PM

I’ve made a lot of tool handles out of Dogwood, but not for a hammer. Realy tight grained and dense wood, yet fairly light… but you have to harvest it yourself as I’ve never seen it sold in a lumber yard.

(Fortunately, I have a bunch of them on my property)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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higtron

232 posts in 2516 days


#9 posted 03-05-2017 07:18 PM

Growing up in Washington St. when a handle broke out in something dad would make a new one out of vine maple which grows like a weed in the woods in Western Washington now that is some tough wood but, I have never seen it sold anywhere it doesn’t get very tall a 6” dia. stalk would be a big one. The cool thing was it grows with twists and turns just find a piece that would be a good ax handle shape for instance so that when you shaped it it would follow
the grain. Anyway this probably does you no good but it sure made me feel good to think about the old man fixing another tool (that damn kid) of his broke the handle out of as he told it every tool was a pry bar when I had a hold of it.

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

View bold1's profile

bold1

283 posts in 1686 days


#10 posted 03-05-2017 10:50 PM

If I have my choice of wood I use split White Oak. Split it is the best handle I know of for hammers, axes, picks, etc.

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

150 posts in 295 days


#11 posted 03-06-2017 02:16 AM

Thanks for the great advice everyone. This is definitely what I was searching for, a variety of options, and experiences to back them up.


I have also shaped some from older baseball bats…..they used to be hickory inside. Picked them up at yard sales cheap…
- canadianchips
That’s a great idea, I wouldn’t have thought about using an old bat for a material resource.


I ve made a lot of tool handles out of Dogwood, but not for a hammer. Realy tight grained and dense wood, yet fairly light… but you have to harvest it yourself as I ve never seen it sold in a lumber yard.
(Fortunately, I have a bunch of them on my property)
- MrUnix


Growing up in Washington St. when a handle broke out in something dad would make a new one out of vine maple … it is some tough wood but, I have never seen it sold anywhere it doesn’t get very tall a 6” dia. stalk would be a big one. The cool thing was it grows with twists and turns just find a piece that would be a good ax handle shape for instance so that when you shaped it would follow the grain.
- higtron

Great idea about finding natural wood in your backyards. I remember some ironwood growing in my parents area, would be nice to harvest some of that if possible. Not sure how long a billet would take to dry before fitting it for a handle though.


When MLB used ash bats they seldom broke. Now that they use hard maple, people are getting severely injured in the stands.
- firefighterontheside

Actually this is good to hear, I had a piece of maple I was considering to use, maybe I won’t now.

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

View EricTwice's profile

EricTwice

230 posts in 372 days


#12 posted 03-06-2017 02:35 AM

I have commercial ones made of hickory, hard maple, and white oak. I have several I’ve made myself from ash. all these stand up well.

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

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