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Project Information

This was one of the two things I made this weekend. This hammer is made with a hickory handle and a walnut head. Its the "mistery hammer" as shown by Roy Underhill in one of his TV shows.

I was over at his shop this weekend and we made this along with a bow saw (which I will post later when I finish shaping the second arm..).

This was challenging to make as it requires very precise layout and cutting. there is the illusion of a dovetail on each side of the face and the handle is split in three, producing three thru-tenons. I probably will card-scrape it smooth and finish it with wax.

Yves

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Comments

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6,838 Posts
nice. always interesting to see these exposed unique joineries around the shop.
 

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483 Posts
That is a mystery. How do you get the walnut head onto the handle?
 

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90 Posts
Nice looking hammer.
The joinery is really interesting.
 

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This hurts my brain a bit. Roy has a knack for finding that kind of stuff.
 

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248 Posts
The "secret' is in what you do not see. On the face facing the handle, the tail is not cut square, it has bold angles such that you insert the handle by bending it to make the large part slide from the bottom where it is large enough.
That slot is tapered as well and end up less deep on the other face. When you hammer the handle in (you want a very tight fit), you start by bending the two tails with a C clamp and clamp the head in a Jorgensen clamp to avoid having it split. As you push forward, the tails wlll gradually "unbend" until you reach the end.

Roy has an article this month on popular woodworking (the impossitails) showing how to cut this pseudo dovetail in square stock. For this hammer. its done on both faces and you also have a tenon in the middle.
 

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248 Posts
Regarding using this in the shop, its adequate for light work, not for banging hard. The Walnut head has a lot of material removed from it in order to achieve this jointing trickery. It is possible to make it with slightly less bolt angles to end up with more material and make it stronger. As Roy was saying, it is mainly designed to irk people..
 

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mission accomplished.
 

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I love these trick/mystery creations. I;d have to look into it! Nice work, Yves!
 
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