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Question about hammer handles


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I have a really cheap fiberglass handled 3# hammer that I've been using and I was wondering about what difference, if any, the handle material makes. Wooden handles seem to be more popular although I have seen hammers with a steel bar welded onto the head for a handle. I imagine the steel handles will jar your teeth out of your head so I'm not really interested in something like that, but is wood better than fiberglass for shock absorption or vice versa? What are the advantages of each material? I do like the look of a nice hardwood handle but I don't want to fix it if it ain't broke.

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i had a fiber glass 4lb used to shake me some thing fierce ripped off the handle and used a ballpien replacement on it now its one of my favorites

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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That's cool. I wasn't sure if it really made a difference. I haven't had any problems with my hammer but I was kind of interested in maybe putting a wooden handle on it eventually. Since it seems to be problem free so far I'll leave it alone till something happens to it. I'll definitely keep an eye out for the fibers too. I don't need anymore discomfort than is absolutely necessary.

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Don't knock metal handles until you have tried them.

 

I mostly used fiberglass types for around the house stuff, but not to long ago, I found one with a metal handle and a neoprene grip, and it's as comfortable as I any fiberglass handle hammer I have ever used. I think it has to do with the way the handle below the head is shaped - a somewhat narrow shape below the head - I suspect that it flexes with each blow, thus dampening shock and vibration, and the rubber grip would absorb most of whats left, but still gives a nice solid feel that I really like.

 

 

I was reading something a few weeks ago, about the shape of a tang in swords, allowing some flex to occur at impact, thus making it easier on the hand.

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

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Don't knock metal handles until you have tried them.

 

I mostly used fiberglass types for around the house stuff, but not to long ago, I found one with a metal handle and a neoprene grip, and it's as comfortable as I any fiberglass handle hammer I have ever used. I think it has to do with the way the handle below the head is shaped - a somewhat narrow shape below the head - I suspect that it flexes with each blow, thus dampening shock and vibration, and the rubber grip would absorb most of whats left, but still gives a nice solid feel that I really like.

 

 

I was reading something a few weeks ago, about the shape of a tang in swords, allowing some flex to occur at impact, thus making it easier on the hand.

I agree, a steel handle is more comfortable to use than one might think. My favorite hammer (for anything other than heavy stock reduction, too light for that) is an Eastwing ball-pein I purchased used many years back. The handle has quite a bit of spring to it.

 

Many wooden handles could be reshaped a bit for comfort, I like a thinner, narrower handle than most.

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
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Has anyone ever used one of those wooden handles that are supposed to be shock absorbing; they're essentially a regular hickory handle with a small hole drilled about 2 inches below the head and slit to the top with a saw? I tried to find a picture of what I'm talking about, but couldn't.

 

I probably sound like a lunatic.

MacGyver is my patron saint.

 

"There's nothing in the universe cold steel won't cut." -Conan of Cimmeria-

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I think I'll stick with the handle my hammer came with but I thought about getting another one (it was only $7) and pulling the handle out and making a wooden one that is a bit shorter than the one I have.

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Has anyone ever used one of those wooden handles that are supposed to be shock absorbing; they're essentially a regular hickory handle with a small hole drilled about 2 inches below the head and slit to the top with a saw? I tried to find a picture of what I'm talking about, but couldn't.

 

I probably sound like a lunatic.

 

 

Matthew-

I've slotted two of my wooden handled hammers (32oz ballpein and 40oz crosspein) similar to the way you've described and I really like it. I drilled a 3/16 " hole right under the head, another hole about 4 inches lower (this hole is a little larger--about 7/16"), and then I sawed a slot between them with a coping saw and widened it to about 1/8". I'd show you a picture but my cammera's down. Oh yea, I got the idea from Goddard's "50 Dollar Knife Shop". Hope this helps.

Esse quam videri

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Does it do a lot to reduce shock, or is it basically a novelty?

 

Sorry I was away from the computer so long. Thats right, it really reduces shock for me. I feel like this modification makes me hit harder too (maybe because I'm less gun-shy of the shock).

Esse quam videri

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personally i prefer wooden handles over all when it comes to forge work.

the reduction of shock is a big thing for me .. as it allows me to keep working for longer.

 

ive had fibreglass handled hammers in the past and found that it did wear me out sooner than the wooden ones .. and of course, the stupid little fibreglass splinters that you can get sting like a ... umm .. yeah ..

whereas wooden splinters dont seem to do all too much to me in terms of a reaction.

 

metal handles are great for other work and when im forging silver or gold .. i use a hammer which has a nice solid metal stock to it.

but when im working those metals, the metal moves far more and you dont need the extra force to shift it .. so the weight of the hammer pretty much lends itself naturally to shifting these.

 

i just like the wood because it lets me shape the handle to exactly how i like my handles... and if i burn the handle any, it smells a heck of a lot nicer than seared resin. :)

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