I am looking for a web site that has good information on replacing
hammer handles. I have replaced many, but they always seem to loosen
over time. I am also looking for info on using epoxy in the
installation of the handles.
Wood hammer handles will always loosen over time. Wood is not a stable
material, and changes/moves with changes in humidity. Soaking in a
water bucket helps. One contracter (a very good one that I have known
for years) told me to put it in the freezer. You can reset the handle
when it gets loose. Or you can get a metal or fiberglass handle.
Straight claw hammers are not made to pull nails. Curved clawed hammers
will do a fair job. Nail pullers work the best.
I think what he means is that, although both types of tools (straight
or curved claw) will pull the occasional nail, and each has a specific
situation that it excels at, a nail puller is a better tool for the
job of removing large quantities of nails.
Of course, I could be wrong about what he means...
On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 16:45:49 GMT, with neither quill nor qualm, KS
They appear to be perfect for serial killers, caving in skulls neatly
and cleanly, subjectively.
I use a framing hammer exclusively for nails. When I need to pull
one, I use a wedge of oak flooring I built for that purpose. But
most items I assemble with hardware get screws, not nails.
From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has
become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by
Vaughn & Bushnell's plant is located just north of me in Hebron,
Illinois. A friend had a chance to walk through with one of the mucky's
there at least 25 years ago.
The procedure they use is a close tolerance wood handle that gets REALLY
dried out with the end stuck in a bucket of heated sand. They set it,
wedge it and chances are that hammer/handle never again sees a relative
humidity that dry.
I've got a couple of their hammers, both are about 27-28 years old.
Original handles and tight as a ... well, you know.
No clue. I'm guessing they use the sand pots to get the temp up high,
provide a thermal mass that's stable yet not enough to start burning the
wood and only heat up the end to be fit into the hammer's head.
If the sand is at say, 325 or 350 degrees, how long could it take to
bring the wooden end of the handle (remember you're not heating the
whole thing) up to that temperature and let it "bake" itself dry?
Then again, as I write this, I'm beginning to "recall" (and I have no
idea if it's correct or not) that Ted may have told me they left them in
It just seems strange because the plant isn't all that big and I have
this picture of all these handles "growing" out of sand boxes<g>
Remember too, that this was done, I think, BEFORE they put the spray
finish on the handles. That would certainly impede the drying process -
heat or no heat.
I've replaced a number of axe, hatchet, claw hammer and sledge hammer
handles over the past twenty or so years (a bunch before I heard of this
method). Heat the end of the handle to dry it. Slather the entire
thing with epoxy. Handle, wooden wedge, socket in the head of the
whatever and the steel splitting wedges. Whack the whole thing
together. Twenty years later it will look the same and it won't be
loose. Not the only way but quick and dirty and it works.
Unquestionably Confused wrote:
As near as I can tell, the nail pulling is a fulcrum thing; the closer
the fulcrum is to the nail being pulled, the better the leverage is.
With a straight clawed hammer, if you pull a 16 penny framing nail out
about an inch, the fulcrum movet to the head of the hammer, which gives
loust leverage. This can be off set by putting bar or board under the
hammerhead to change the fulcrum back. The other altermative is to pull
the nail by levering side to side rather than back to front. The
straight claws work well for splitting small pieces of wood, digging
small trenches, picking up boards, and prying boards apart (twisting
sideways after driving it in). Wood always moves, and I never found or
heard of a way to keep a wood handle tight forever.I would never trade
the wood handles for the other types, especially the metal ones. They
just feel so much better, especially at the end of the day.
Fine Woodworking did an interesting experiment a few years back with
wood movement. They started with 3 pieces of wood (2x12x12) that were
all dry to 6%. All three were bolted to a metal table on the bottoms.
One had nothing on the top. The other 2 had an I beam on the top. One
was bolted to the I beam. The moisture content was raised way up, then
they were dried out to 6% again. The free standing one expanded a bit
(1/2 inch or so) then shrank back to origional size. The one that
wann't bolted to the top I beam couldn't expand, but shrank to less
than origional size. The one that was bolted top and bottom split as it
If you set your hammer handle in the dry season, it will expand in the
wet season, and then shrink in the next dry season and become loose.
If you reset it again, it will loosen up again. I don't think that I
ever had a handle last more than a few years, so I don't know if this
process will go on forever or not. It is just something that you have
to live with if you use wool handles.
You've had bad luck, then. I've got hammers 50 years old and older
that are still on the original (tight) handle.
Wedging them tight to start with, with both wooden and steel wedges, is
one trick. Some linseed oil occasionally, and keeping them out of the
rain, is the rest of it. Wetting a handle to swell it is the worst
thing you can do. The wood will swell and temporarily tighten the fit
but, since it can't expand any more than the hole in the hammer will
allow, it will crush the fibers. When it dries, it will be looser than
it ever was.
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