My chisel hammer

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Project by KellyS posted 11-16-2009 07:44 PM 4173 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been eyeballing those Glen Drake egg shaped chisel hammers for some time now. Knowing that I really didn’t have $60.00 to spend on one, I decided to make it myself. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty tickled with it. I started with just a scrap piece of brass i’ve had around the house for a couple of years. I drilled the handle hole in my 3-in-1 milling machine to accept a 3/4” handle. It took a little while as I’ve been doing more woodworking than metalworking as of late and I’m sort of rusty at it. Anyways, I managed to get a hole through the brass head and I used an oak dowel for the base of the hammer handle. I had a couple pieces of Marblewood lying around that I had tried to make a box out of and realized the hard way how miserably tough it is to work with. I laminated the two pieces I had together and then drilled a 3/4” hole through it to fashion up a nice handle and glued everything together using Gorilla Glue. I split the end of the oak with the bandsaw and used a piece of the Marblewood as a wedge. I used the band saw to rough out the egg shape I was looking for and then because I don’t have a wood lathe, I used an oscillating belt sander to shape it into a somewhat egg shape. It’s a little flat on the sides in some places, but it really fits my hand nicely, so I’ll just use what I got. I did chuck the handle up in my metal lathe and use some sandpaper to polish it with. I finished the end off with a brass plumbing fitting. Now, I just don’t know what finish I should use. I have a mixture of Beeswax and BLO that would look nice. I also have some Tung oil that would probably look good too. Maybe I’ll test some of the scraps and see how it looks and feels. I weighed it this morning at work. 2 pounds almost exactly. I hope it isn’t too heavy for chisel work. We’ll see. If it is, then I’m sure the wife would like it for something.

Oh yeah, Hats off to any of you guys or girls that have worked with this Marblewood sucessfully. I can tell you its not for beginners! It’s pretty, but I’ve never dealt with anything this tough before. If there’s tougher stuff out there, I don’t want anything to do with it.

And as an FYI, wear a facemask or respirator or something when dealing with this stuff. I should know better, but I didn’t. I can tell you it will make you feel like you have a chest cold if you don’t. Makes you feel really cruddy.
Thanks for looking

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

6 comments so far

View hairy's profile


2928 posts in 4041 days

#1 posted 11-16-2009 07:51 PM

I love homemade tools, and that’s a good one. I’ll put that on my bucket list.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Joedcatman's profile


172 posts in 3624 days

#2 posted 11-16-2009 07:52 PM

SUPER JOB! You are my kinda guy, use what you have and make it better. I have rarely spent full new price for any tool, or part, or fitting, or almost anything else for that matter. Since I just inherited a bunch of chisels, I’m thinking of making a couple of different mallets from wood. Unless I can figure out how to get a 3 or 4 jaw chuck for my wood lathe without spending a fortune. Oh yeah, I gotta slow it down too.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View Abe Low's profile

Abe Low

111 posts in 4355 days

#3 posted 11-17-2009 08:04 AM

Nice job. I am especially glad you commented on the breathing problem you had after working the “marblewood”. I looked up the toxicity table and couldn’t find a reference for that species. Still, it is a good source to check b4 working on any exotic wood. I found the toxicity table at

-- Abe Low, Fine furniture, Sacramento, CA

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4086 days

#4 posted 11-17-2009 08:10 AM

Unique hammer

View ScottMorgan's profile


1 post in 3088 days

#5 posted 05-04-2011 09:09 PM

New poster here. Been hanging around the site for a while now just kinda reading/watching. I am a turner. Turning mostly Pens, Pencils, etc and occasionally some larger forms as well. Your post is one that I could not let go by without chiming in on. I too just had a 12-round bout with Marblewood. I’ve probably turned close to 10 pens out of marblewood over the past 4 years or so. Never had a problem with the stuff…...that is until a few days ago.
Throat was swelling up, voice box quit working, eyes swelled, could not take a full breath at all….just wheezing/coughing. I tell you man, it was BAD! So just so that other folks out there know that they are not the only ones (I also have been scouring the web for anything toxicity-based I could find on marblewood) who have had their butts kicked by this stuff.

-- "You're making the wrong assumption that a Marine by himself is outnumbered." -Gen Peter Pace, 28Jul06

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3202 days

#6 posted 05-04-2011 09:30 PM

Marblewood’s a beast on the lathe. Splintery and no fun! I’m allergic to it just like Scott (but nothing compared to bocote). This hammer came out great and I’ve had my eye on the Drake’s as well:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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