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Project by BTKS posted 09-01-2011 07:27 PM 2393 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been letting my two hobbies intermix. I made these hammer handles for a bunch of heads I recovered from a rust pile. I still need to reshape the three pound cross peen on the end. All the handles are ash I saved from going in a dozer pile when a levee was being moved. The only finish is linseed oil. Some of the handles already show staining from being used around metal work. Can’t keep the rust and dust off of them, they will eventually all wind up a medium brown. They don’t take long, maybe an hour per handle. That is including final shaping of the tennon and a couple coats of linseed oil. I’m getting faster now that I’ve figured out where I like the swells and tapers. The larger handles also get a flare and a shoulder to meet up with the flat of the head. That should take some load off the tennon.
The larger hammers get a swell at the end to help prevent the hammer slipping out of your hand. That should only happen if your just going nuts with it. Seldom is that a problem in blacksmithing, usually when driving stakes, etc.
Thanks for looking,

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

13 comments so far

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 3815 days

#1 posted 09-01-2011 07:46 PM

That is a nice collection of hammers. Good Work. I imagine if you salvaged the hammer heads they were probably pretty rusty. How did you clean then up? Wire weel or naval jelly?

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4620 days

#2 posted 09-01-2011 08:38 PM

Muratic acid, not the old stuff, Acid Magic. It supposedly has 90% less fumes and won’t burn intact skin. I soaked them overnight, rinsed them off, set them in the sun to dry with a light coat of penetrating oil. After that, wire wheel. I reground the faces and shaped them for smithing.
I’ve got some naval jelly but have not used it. I may try electrolisis next time or vinegar. I’m happy with the acid, it’s easy to neutralize, baking soda. If the soda doesn’t finish neutrelizing it then the limestone on the driveway will. DON’T LEAVE IT INSIDE FOR MORE THAN A FEW MINUTES. THE FUMES WILL TARNISH BARE METAL. DON’T ASK HOW I KNOW!!!
The handles are easy to make, could replace them for about $4 or $5 each but where’s the fun in that.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View jack1's profile


2163 posts in 5183 days

#3 posted 09-01-2011 08:51 PM

Looks like my tool set. “When all you got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…” ;0)
Nice looking work.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4620 days

#4 posted 09-01-2011 10:37 PM

Thanks Jack, got a fresh bucket of nails and ready to cause havoc. If it ain’t nailed down, it soon will be.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4271 days

#5 posted 09-01-2011 11:56 PM

niice set :-)

thankĀ“s for sharing

View maddawg308's profile


83 posts in 3618 days

#6 posted 09-02-2011 02:06 AM

Awesome job! Got a picture of the hammer heads before you started? Nothing is better for me than to see old rusty stuff get a new lease on life…

-- Plank says: "If you're a little board, might as well get hammered!"

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 4262 days

#7 posted 09-02-2011 02:13 AM

I just love a good triple jack. A triple jack (6 pounder) always works when nothing else will. lol You say smithing; what size anvil do you have?

View Don W's profile

Don W

20120 posts in 3723 days

#8 posted 09-02-2011 02:16 AM

” they will eventually all wind up a medium brown” – that’s the perfect color for a hammer handle!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4620 days

#9 posted 09-02-2011 03:46 AM

maddawg308, shame on me, I failed to take before shots. It hit me after putting them in the acid, too late! lilredweldingrod: 1 unknown weight, small anvil, looks like it rotated onto a mounting plate on some other tool or bench. I haven’t even cleaned that one up or used it. A 50 lb, unknown maker, standard pattern. I think it’s pretty cheap. The pritchel hole isn’t square to the top. A 75 lb, standard pattern and a 177 lb M&H Armitage or Mouse Hole. It’s stone weight is 1 2 9. Actuall weight according to the bath scales was 175. It’s not bad, about a 1/32 +/- swayback and a little flare out over the step. I’m told that’s from making horseshoes. I’m just getting a good start into blacksmithing. Always tinkered when I could but now I’m setting up shop. I just refurbed a 5in post vise. Already had a 41/2 inch but couldn’t pass up a great deal on 2 5in vises. Will eventually rehab the third and try to sell it. Just got a forge. Now I can stop burning up acetelyn and oxy.
Thanks all for looking.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4045 days

#10 posted 09-02-2011 04:07 AM

do you heat the heads before installing handles old hammer swinger’s question.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4620 days

#11 posted 09-02-2011 04:48 AM

ksSlim: I did not. I outlined the inside of the hole. This allowed for some extra from the pencil line. I chiseled the excess and rasped the final shape. Most fit real tight before wedging. Tight enough to hammer their own wedge out of a 20d nail.
I would be a little concerned about messing up the temper in the hammer. That is just because I don’t know enough to not heat too much or cool to quick or slow. Residule heat may burn up the handle too. Just my 2 Cents. I have not earned an opinion yet.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4045 days

#12 posted 09-02-2011 05:59 AM

You might check with a local older smith about handle fitting.
I was taught, shape the handle to the head the best you can, but leave it a a “scouch” fat.
I’ve never defined a “scouch”, but about a 1/64 inch is close.
Dull red the head in the forge, drive in handle, count five, plunge head and handle in slack tub of three seconds.
Remove hammer and handle to anvil, tap head to remove. Tong head to floor allow to cool.
Next day, install handle in hammer head.

Most Smith’s hammers are relativelty soft metal, they are (“flash hardened” (skin/case)) before sale.
With use as a hammer, the face material becomes pressure or use hardened. (think railroad rail)
The body is somewhat soft and the face so hard it can chip.

Just asking if anyone still does it that way. BTW: any smithing clubs in your neighborhood?

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4241 days

#13 posted 09-02-2011 04:26 PM

Nice set of hammers, sounds like you have started down the slippery slope of blacksmithing and there is no
going back. Lilredweldingrod, I have heard my 8 lb sledge called a singlejack, and my 16 lb called a double
jack, now you are calling a 6 lb a triple jack, so I had to go looking I find that a single jack is 3 or 4 lbs with
a short handle, a double jack is a 6 to 8 lb double headed hammer with a 36 in handle and my double jack
is really a 16 lb stone sledge since it has one flat head and a cross peen head. This is from a Missoula
Technology and Development Center technical bulletin. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere,
I discover that I really do not know much at all. I know a master blacksmith that lives up the Bitteroot
and will have to ask him next time I run into him, he will probably have another answer. Just to give you
an idea of his shop his big air hammer’s compressor has a 10” cylinder. Now I had better get back to
playing in my wood working shop before I get disowned.

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

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