As simple as a hammer handle (TRV)

Sometimes life is as simple as a hammer handle: and sometimes we should learn, even when we think we know everything!

When we bought Nikolai’s home, we inherited a bunch of stuff and I mean a bunch. In this stuff was tools and in those tools were hammers of so many varieties and almost all of them were useless. Nikolai had had to replace handles on these hammers over the years….and they were replaced wrong and did not work. As in handle broke easily and or forever slipped the head off as they were used…

I realized that with all Nikolai’s abilities, he could not put a new hammer handle in any better than I could. I saw the way he did the new handles and I saw the same way that I had attempted to re-handle many hammers before also. I then started to study why he and I failed at hammer handle installation?

I tried to study from the web and found some interesting info, but never the info that allowed me to satisfy the proper installation. A hammer is only as good as its handle….or else why have handles in the first place. Therefore, I lined up all the broken hammers. This has taken me weeks and with the heat, it has slowed down my progress….yet everyday, I looked closely at these broken hammers…

I had beautiful Soviet hammers, poor modern hammers, tack hammers, sledge hammers, claw hammers, ball peen hammers and so on and so on. They all had one thing in common….bad handles, with everything from electrical tape to stop from slipping off, twenty nails driven into the top area to stop the slipping of the head…

New handles? Slipping and or breaking easily. Old hammer heads even rattled on the handle…

What did Nikolai and I miss as we try to fix these instruments so vital to building and fixing everything around a home, work or play?

I grabbed my favorite hammer, a sledge that was and is perfect to beat just about anything, anyway we want it to be beaten. It makes you feel like you have “Thor’s Hammer”….yet when you swung it? It’s head slipped upwards and the hammer head would come off after three swings. Then you smack it by the handle bottom against something hard and start beating things again. Sound familiar?

Therefore, I removed the handle carefully and sat down with the pieces that I had….after a few days with enduring the heat and doing a million other things, it became apparent what was wrong…

Speaking of heat: It is 4 a.m.

I just stopped working on this post and went to water the pear trees and white lilacs and such. That is what I do many mornings as I think about what I write. Never water when it is blistering hot outside…

The bottom of the hole through the hammer head is different in size and shape of the hole at the top of the hammer head!

Then, I saw that he had installed the hammer head upside down. The bottom hole is smaller that the top and it tapers expanding to the top hole. So, I then cut off the bad top of the handle and took my tools and carefully (for me that is a miracle in itself) worked the handle to fit the bottom hole. Then I realized that I have never cut a slit in the top. I always, just as Nikolai did, drive the wedge to hold the head straight into the wood. Cracking and splitting the hammer handle in the process…

I found this image that showed me the trick (interesting how one image can make you understand)….slice a deep grove into the handle at the top. Very simple and very effective. Many never say to do that. I see many, just smash the wedges into the top, like Nikolai and I do/did all the time. Then I looked at how much variance between the bottom hole in the hammer and the top after I put the hammer and handle together. It made me realize that I always tried to put many hammer heads on backwards and or upside down….in effect the handle is bigger at the top of the hammer head, as a result of doing it correctly…

Never thought about it:

I looked at my handle installed without wedges. Then I saw how much space there was between the top hole edges and the handle that fit the bottom head hole and I realized that the wedge has to be able to expand the handle properly to fill the tapered upwards hole in the head. I was amazed with the results….the handle top expanded and filled the hole perfect. Like the handle was shaped and just magically inserted itself. Impossible to do unless you wedge it properly…

I then proceeded to smack all kinds of stuff, (no nothing died in the process), and the head stayed solid to the handle….

Thus, this morning I realized that life is as simple as this hammer and its handle….All life has a certain way it has to be….you can modify and create, yet the laws apply the same in the end. I have a claw hammer that the head is all the same as one piece….yet I fight with a slipping sleeve off the head/handle and find the same issues as with a separate head and handle. That is another project to fix…

The issue just moves itself:

I went to bed last night and realized that we have become a world wide group of people that do not want to follow the rules and laws of nature. Yet, in the end, what is/is what is!

Now I have to properly re-handle a dozen more hammers. Got to be able to smash and bash…

Thor would be proud!

WtR

PS: Tidbit time….Not all wood is created equal, you must use a hardwood (like oak and or walnut) to make a handle. Using a wood like pine is like using a stick of pasta noodles to make a hammer handle. I know, pine is way too soft to smash things like Thor does…

kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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One thought on “As simple as a hammer handle (TRV)

  1. There’s also the trick of setting the hammer head first in a bucket of water for an hour or two to expand the wood if the head becomes loose. Just not too long or you can crack the head. My grandfather taught me that many many years ago.

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