So last time on Repairs101 I put some new handles on some old tools and today on Repairs101 Ė instead of throwing out this old broken handle Iím going to carve it down into a new handle for an entirely different tool.

Hardwood hammer handle cracked along the wood grain

The handle was cracked so I fitted it with a new one, but I really wanted to reuse the old handle so I measured it off and cut it down. I put it on my belt sander to form a new shoulder and then dropped it into my vise between some straps of soft wood. You can really see the handle biting into the soft jaws here. I use this old Woodcraft rasp to do most of the work.

Checking witness marks for hammer head / handle insertion

So itís a gradual process of reducing the handle until you can fit it inside the tool-head. I used this flat riffler to finish shaping. Use a piece of firewood to drive your handle on. A hammer will only damage the end of it. Same deal for when youíre trying to get it out again, use a wooden punch like this piece of scrap mahogany. See how tight a fit that is? The witness marks travel almost half-way to the shoulder now.

 

           

 

So once youíre sure youíve got it pretty close you want to find center and cut yourself a kerf into which you install the wooden wedge. I like to use a triangle file to start the cut. Then I use a backsaw to cut the kerf. Keep in mind that the bottom of the kerf has to be clear of the base of the tool-head by at least half an inch. You can see the new witness marks now indicate that itís right down on the shoulder. So I just cut that down a little more with this round riffler. Now clean it up with some one twenty grit sandpaper.

Now I just pound it back on and fit it for a wedge. You can spend a lot of time shaping your wedge with expensive tools if you want to, butÖ  Once youíve got it started you can pound it in pretty good but be careful not to break it. You want to cut it off and sand it smooth. Here you can see how the opening is bell-mouthed. Now this steel wedge is too big to install at a ninety degree angle so I put it in fairly steep.

Fitting a steel wedge to hammer handle head

It ainít pretty but it will hold for years. Oil the handle to protect it and really saturate the head to promote swelling of the wood.

This hammer rocks!

 
 
 
 
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