Making a Small Brass Hammer (continued)
by P. Michael Henderson
step is to make the handle.
the ash blank to 11" in length before mounting it in the lathe.
I do most of this on the lathe but you can do it with a spokeshave, or
sand it to shape if you have a stationary belt sander.
The top, which fits into the 3/8" hole in the head can be turned to size,
or if you have a round tenon cutter (as are used for some chairs, such as
Windsor chairs) you can use that.
While the head is 7/8" in diameter, the part of the handle that goes into the
head should be made longer, perhaps an inch to an inch and a quarter.
the handle off the lathe and flattened the two sides because if the handle is
not round, you can align the head by feel on the handle.
If you make the handle round, you have to look at the hammer head to
the handle inserted into the head.
see the filler plug I put into the head from my drilling mistake.
now want to make a wedge for the handle, and to put a wedge into the handle, I
have to cut the handle to accept the wedge.
It's not possible to just split the top of the handle and drive a wedge
into it Ð the wood is not that soft.
cut the V-slot, I use a Japanese saw and cut the handle as shown.
need to cut the wedge.
I took a
piece of scrap and cut it to 3/8" wide.
Then I mount it in my vise and use my saw to cut a wedge shaped piece off
While not shown, I cut the
end of the wedge off so that it will go down into the slot.
some 5 minute epoxy to the handle, the slot, and the wedge and drive the wedge
into the slot.
epoxy is well set, I cut off the excess on the band saw, then trim the handle
flush with the head with a chisel.
And this is what it looks like, even with my mistake.
have a hammer and the total cost was no more than $5 for the brass plus some
scrap wood for the handle.
want to make a hammer with one wooden face, as I showed in the first picture,
use a piece of brass that's about 2" in length and make your wooden face about
piece of wood of your choice Ð ipe, bocote, and many other woods can be used for
the face Ð and turn it a bit larger than 7/8", maybe 1" or a tiny bit more.
You want the piece of wood to be large enough so that you will fill the
face, even if the wood slips when being glued.
a piece 1/2" long off the turned piece.
3/8" hole into the piece of wood, about 1/4" deep.
Also drill a 3/8" hole in one face of the brass.
Use a dowel and glue the wood to the brass with epoxy.
If one of both of your holes were not exactly centered to the point that
you can't align the wood to the brass, trim the dowel so that you can slide the
wood over enough to align it.
There's no tension on the piece of wood so the glue only has to keep it from
you have it glued, you need to sand the wood to get it to the same size as the
This is important because
you'll drill the hole using a jig like I described earlier and if you don't sand
the wood down to size, you won't be able to get the head into the jig.
gluing and sanding, you have a head that's 7/8" in diameter and 2.5" in length Ð
the same as the head in the earlier tutorial.
But when you drill the hole for the handle, you want it centered
If you have questions
about your jig, get a piece of 7/8" dowel and cut a piece to 2.5" and drill that
before you drill your brass.
That'll let you know if everything is set up properly.
hammer with the wooden head is good for adjusting wood planes.
You can use the brass side to tap on the iron and the wood side to tap on
easy, cheap, and fun to make.
hope you enjoy making yours!
I learned a lot of the techniques used here from Carl Stammerjohn, Department
Head, Woodworking Manufacturing Technology, Cerritos College (California).
Thank you, Carl.
The author is a retired electrical engineer who worked in communications for most of his career. He began woodworking about five years ago, taking woodworking classes at Cerritos College. You can see more of his work at
, and you can see more about him at