(UPDATE) – the new handles look great, feel great in the hand and have a more solid feel. Third time is the charm in this case.
They say things happen in three’s or is that bad things happen in 3’s?? Anyways, this is my 3rd attempt at handles for my Japanese hammers. I have three different size hammers that I use to adjust plane irons etc and they work remarkably well. Other than the handles I made. The first go around I made two handles out of ash and put some rough wedges in. The wedges didn’t last long and I ended up changing the handles out for some scrap cherry that I had with better wedges. Nope that didn’t work.
This is the third time and these handles are made out of sapele which should fit and hold better in the hammer heads. I didn’t epoxy, glue or wedge them in, just used the better quality hammer handle creation skills (I hope) to set them in the heads. Hopefully they will work better. I have no doubt the handles are fine, it’s my skill in putting the hammer head on the handle that apparently is the common theme. However, in all fairness to attempt number 2 – cherry wasn’t the best choice. Here is the finished product below followed by pictures of the process.
Starting the shape the new handle to fit into the smallest hammer head. This handle is a direct replacement pf the handle that came with the hammer head originally. (Only one of the hammer heads had a handle.)
The original handle is in black and is shown below the new sapele blank in the photo below.
Starting to fit the hammer head onto the handle.
Shaping the handle with a file this time instead of a small plane or spokeshave like before. The file is definately working faster on the sapele than I thought even though the sawdust it generates combined with the heat and humidity is starting to make a mess.
Another view of the mess.
Closeup up with the shaping process using a file.
Starting to look like a handle finally, the dark blotches in the sawdust is my sweat. YuK!
Finished handle ready for finishing.
The three new handles with their first coats of Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO).
The three finished hammers with new handles.
And another sexy view!
Oh ok, one more.
Let’s hope my improved woodworking skill makes a better handle this time around. I have to admit the BLO definitely brings out the wood grain in the Sapele!