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Posted (edited)

Well I made the handle.  I'm kind of embarrassed to show it to anyone.  Doesn't look anything like any blacksmiths hammer handle I've ever seen.  On the majority of Dog's Head Hammers it looks as if the maker used a "Tomahawk" handle..........just straight.  This looks more like a carpenter's pin-nail hammer with a thinner neck.  I've always liked thinner necks on hammers because they allow the head to whip a little and they also don't seem to transmit vibrations back up the arm to the user, which I believe contributes to what many call "Blacksmiths elbow".........or Tendonitis.   Of course, that's just my (uneducated) opinion.  As good as the handle feels in my hand, I think I'll post a picture of it before actually installing it to see if there are any "no-no's" I've committed.  Originally I was going to shape the handle on my new belt grinder, but I didn't have a belt that did well with wood, so I used what I'm most skilled with, knives and a spoke shave.  I like the faceted surface and only hit it lightly with a 220 grit 3-M pad to slightly soften the facet edges.  For reference, the handle is 12" long from the heel to the top.

 

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I would appreciate any critique on this handle before I make it permanent.  I've honestly not swung a hammer enough to see the flaws that you folks can probably spot right off, so don't hesitated to comment.

Edited by Chris Christenberry

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Handles are a personal choice.  Preferences by experienced smiths run the gambit of shapes, sizes and styles

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Posted (edited)

The only important aspect of any hammer or handle is "How it fits the user"..   

I personally don't care what anyone thinks about anything if it works for me..  It doesn't mean I need to be unpleasant about someones comments.. but many times things have been done on purpose, a particular way without a person knowing that.. 

With this said..    " Keep in mind "they" are not you and might not have the same physical problems, muscle mass, etc, etc."  

The only way I know if a handle is good or not is to spend time with it..   Preferably over a few days to a few weeks.   (usually I will know right off if I don't like a handle).. but it will take a little longer to know if I like a handle.. 

Every person will have a personal preferences and suggestions and ideas of what works for them..    I've tried flat handles, short handles, long handles, round handles, forked handles, doe foot handles,  springy handles,  solid handles..   After 30+ years I like the shape of the handles I have which are the style in the photos. 

I have never known anyone who can swing a hammer fast or hard enough to get a true flex of the handle in work unless it is  thin enough and then the head gets all loose when it does contact the material.. Feels sloppy to me.  . about the best swingers are farriers who wanna get the work done with a 2lb hammer so swing it like they mean it. 

My only critique with that handle again has to do only with how I use hammers.. .  That rather large lump in the middle would limit my hand position and create hot spots as I move up and down the handle in use.. 

But, if you only hold the hammer in that very exact spot everytime it might be the cats meow for you.  

I think it's great..   I started forging a wrought iron version some 4 years ago which maybe I will finish this year or not.. :) 

I'm not sure from the photo as it might be a parralex problem but it looks like the face is angled back or down in relation to the handle..  This is ok if done on purpose..  but something to keep in mind if not on purpose. 

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Edited by JenniferP
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Thanks, Jennifer.  I really meant to make a more flat-sided handle when I started.  Just didn't end up that way! :D However, it may be hard to see the handle actually is pretty much flat-sided.   I think I'd like a  handle  just like your Cross Peen in the second picture because handles tend to twist in my hand.........or at least my blacksmith hammers do.  I'll probably bring that swell in the center down a little bit.  And yes, the handle drift was positioned so the face of the hammer was at a 7 1/2 degree angle................so it was absolutely intentional.

 

I have blackened two of my handles in the forge and really like the feel.  I did the blackening on unfinished handles.  I plan on blackening this one.  Should I do it before applying Boiled Linseed oil..............or after?

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On linseed oil and blackening: afterwards is easier, but either way works.  I usually raise the grain and dewhisker a time or two before blackening, but that's not necessary at all.

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Okay, thanks.  That's what I did, actually, Alan.  Figure out the answer to my own question by trying to blacken a handle I'd put BLO on about 6 months ago.  Much easier to blacken "before" than "after". :D

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I want to apologize to the group for my comment about not caring what people say or offer as opinion.. Lots of smart peoples here and sharing ideas is crucial for understanding and growth..   

The reason why I phrased it the way is i fell into a trap of sorts.   When I was a young smith I spent time messing around with suggestions of what was hot, or new idea, etc, etc.. 

Took me a long time to come back to understand I had to find what shape worked for me and every person I have met since has a handle shape that they like..   

Ideally i don't want others to fall into the same trap I did..   So again I appologize. 

My suggestion is this: 

 Find something that fits your hand well and base your handle on that.. 

See how a broom stick feels when you swing it,  then feel how good a packing tape dispenser feels..  You will almost instinctive know if it feels good then figure out how to make it work as a hammer handle. :)   I love my packing tape dispenser.. :)

So here are some photos.. 

These are my main forging hammers and they all have the exactly same handle or as near as I could get it for the time used. 

Bottom up,  6lbs,  4lbs, 2.75lbs, 2.5lbs

 

 
 

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Real blacksmiths let the sweat of their hands season the handles    And a smiley face for those that don't realize I'm joking :-)

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