Hammer Handles:  A living thing....  Part Two

Hammer Handles: A living thing

Part 2 – loose hammer handles

Question number 1:

What is the shape of the eye?

Did you know it was common for traditional struck tools, which sometime get lumped into the hammer category, to have a STRAIGHT EYE. If these were handled at all it was often with a branch or wagon spoke lying around. In some cases a wire or small diameter steel was wrapped around the head with a length to hold onto. They were done like this purposely to avoid the shock to travel into the hand of the craftsman holding it. Stuck tools such as flatters and top fullers were rarely wedged or fastened.

A hammer would have an HOURGLASS EYE; slightly smaller in the mid-section of the eye. This allows for handle to expand when a wedge is inserted. The handle should also have a shoulder or a swell that keeps the head from moving down the handle.

So on to the job at hand….

  1. Drive the head closer to the swell or shoulder. Many folks like to tap the gripping end of the handle directly down on the anvil allows the weight to move the head against the swell.
  2. Drive the wedge(s) in deeper. This may require use of a punch of some sort. Make sure you are not driving the handle out of the head.
  3. Optional: Many folks have their own routines at this point
    1. A few drops of boiled linseed oil on the end and hang upright overnight or weekend.
    2. SikaFlex® to seal the end and slow down the drying out and shrinking issue.
    3. Wonderlok EM® is another option. It is a very, very thin adhesive that can actually float through the grain of the handle. A few drops and a few minutes and your good to go in about 5 minutes.

If you have a great routine that works for you..we would love to hear it.