Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting a Handle on Things

I had a few hours to play in the shop today, so I decided to rehandle an Empire Warrington hammer that was given to me by my wifes grandfather.

I started by dimensioning a piece of Hickory a little on the big side. I used my edge sander to shape the tenon, then I drew an hourglass shape and roughed it out with my shave.

The curly hickory fought my cutting edge, so I had to turn to the rasp a little early.

From there I went to the bastard file:

Then to the smooth:

I filed away the marks from the previous tool, then drawfiled untill those marks were gone.

I then pushed the head on, wiggled it, and pulled it off again. I filed off the rub marks, pushed the head back on, wiggled it again, filed off the rub marks. I repeated this untill I was satisfied with the fit.

From there I sanded 120, 150, and then 180 grit:

I docked the end at an angle, for style points:

Then I drilled a hole and kerfed for the wedge:

I mounted the head, burned my initials into the heel, oiled and waxed it:

The finished product, sitting on the rest of the billet, with the old handle for comparison:

Proportionally it's a little big in relation to the head, but it fits my mitt pretty well.

Normally I dislike working hickory. I've made 6/4 top dining tables out of the stuff, it's backbreakingly heavy, it doesn't respond well to my edge tools, and it's so hard it just wears out sandpaper. All the reasons that make it perfect for tool handles make it hard to work. This project was nice as it is small, light, and fun to rasp.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.