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TOPIC: Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather

Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 03:23 #1

  • T. Wm. HALL
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Howdy,

What is the best way to beat the age old problem of loose fitting hammer handles? I try to toss my hammers in my water bucket every chance I get, but it quickly dries and I am back to loose again, or I forget them and have to climb out from under the horse and fetch my hammer so I can nail on a shoe.

I am picky about my tools, and have an assortment of hammers (Jim Poor, Horsehead, Gunnar) that I don't like to see rusted or discolored from the constant dunking.

I have heard but not tried Neetsfoot Oil, Anti-Freeze, and similar remedies.... I keep the wedges in my handle as tight as possible. Please share with me (and others) what your preference is.

Thanks in Advance!

Trevor
Trevor Wm. Hall, CF
Hall's Horseshoeing
Redmond, Oregon U.S.A.
www.Hallshorseshoeing.com


He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~Confuscius
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 05:58 #2

  • uncle Rico
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Hammer heads will get loose no matter what, but I have had great success by putting gorilla glue on the handle and the wedge when I am rehandling them. The gorilla glue expands and keeps everything tight. The bond normally out lasts my handles.
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 06:01 #3

T. Wm. HALL wrote:
Howdy,

What is the best way to beat the age old problem of loose fitting hammer handles? I try to toss my hammers in my water bucket every chance I get, but it quickly dries and I am back to loose again, or I forget them and have to climb out from under the horse and fetch my hammer so I can nail on a shoe.

I am picky about my tools, and have an assortment of hammers (Jim Poor, Horsehead, Gunnar) that I don't like to see rusted or discolored from the constant dunking.

I have heard but not tried Neetsfoot Oil, Anti-Freeze, and similar remedies.... I keep the wedges in my handle as tight as possible. Please share with me (and others) what your preference is.

Thanks in Advance!

Trevor
i try to soak my hammers in linseed oil it works for me and i use it on the wood slats of my 65 chevy truck to keep the wood in good shape.
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 11:35 #4

  • RedRoan56
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Rico has the right idea. For mine I do the following (and am making it a part of my tool service practice also). Take the head off the hammer. Put the head in a bucket of sand mixed with oil (even old engine change stuff is okay) to soak.

Take the handle and strip the old finish off, to include any handle grab material (we all know how duct tape suddenly appears ). Once the handle is stripped, you have a couple of options. 1 is the linseed oil option as mentioned. Just make sure you use boiled, not raw, linseed oil. Raw stuff has a nasty habit of spotaneous combustion if kept in a confined area and subjected to heat (like in a tool box in the back of a truck :o). Using the linseed oil, brush it on, not dip it or let it soak by putting it in a tray. You want penetration of the wood fiber, not a cellulose sponge that takes a week to dry out. Once the handle has had 3 to 4 coats, sanding in between w/ a 400 to 600 grit paper, you can set it aside for a while to work on the head.

The head needs to be cleaned using any stripping agent you want. The soaking in the oil will have loosened up most if not all of the old rust and corrosion fairly quickly and ease it off when you start the next step. Unless the head is THAT badly rusted, or corroded, the stripping agent shouldn't matter. I use both mechanical (a open face grinder w/ an abrasive wheel) and a non-toxic chemical (can't say openly but you probably drink it at least once a week and strips corrosion of the bottom of copper pots like magic). And be sure when doing this stripping, no matter what the process, you keep the work area well ventilated. A great many tools, not just hammers, were made using LEAD-BASED PAINTS as a finish. 'Nuff said (I hope :rolleyes:).

Once the head is stripped, depending on the environment in Oregon you are working under (ocean, woods etc) it is not a bad idea to use a corrosion inhibiting primer on the whole of the head. Just make sure you put some old newspaper in the handle slot before you spray, not dip !!!! After the primer a good spray of either epoxy based or engine paint is a very good idea. The epoxy paint takes a beating before it starts to chip and reveal open metal. The engine paint is a bit more 'fragile' but it tends to take more heat over time as opposed to the epoxy. Either way, the hammer head will probably out-live you and me.

Once the handle and the head are done make sure you have a piece of 400 grit sandpaper handy. Dry fit the handle and head for a good fit. Sand for any rough spots (there shouldn't be any at this point). Using the Gorilla glue (no, it's not an endorsement, just in response to the post), sand the top of the handle to raise the grain just a bit. Once raised, spray a bit of water on the area (believe it or not a kid's water pistol is perfect for this). Apply the glue to the wood and IMMEDIATELY slide the head on to the handle. Placing the handle in a vise or the head in a vise is a good idea. Once the handle is in place, in a vise, put a small block of wood on the head or handle bottom. Tap the block sufficient to seat the handle and have a small bit of glue seep out form the head/handle joint. Wipe and let set for about 3 to 4 hours (Gorilla glue takes time to set up despite the label's rah-rah).

If you want to re-use an existing handle that has shrunk you can use the method above. Just make sure you have a solid wood wedge to insert into the handle's slot. Like shiming a door, get it in early, tap it to seat and when finished, cut the excess off. But beforewarned !!! Gorilla glue expands like mad. And it don't care what is in the way. If the handle or metal have any weakness at all, the glue will find it and rip it apart as a part of the drying/expansion process. I've seen this stuff rip apart fence posts (6x6's) like they were cotton candy :eek:.

If you are worried about that possibility, use the epoxy glue method. Again, prep, prime, paint and sand. But when you get ready to 'glue' have everything ready and within reach. Epoxy, depending on the brand and the conditions used in, will set-up in less than 45 seconds. You need to have the handle or the head in the vise, with the wedge, wood block and hammer right there. Sand the head/handle area. Wipe but do not remove any grain raised !!!! Mix the epoxy, spread on the handle/head area and slip the head on. If a wedge is going to be used, now's the time to get it in and tap it for seating. Once the seating is done you should have a finished hammer. Cut off the excess wedge material and off you go. Any excess epoxy that seeped out from the head/handle joint is going to be virtully impossible to remove so either be careful when glueing or be prepared to live with the inevitable results. Me personally, I would wait a good hour for the epoxy to set up. Just good safety practice ;).

Mike
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 12:51 #5

  • NorvalWilhelm
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Soak the hammer in Anti Freeze, not water. It does a much better job then plain water.
[SIGPIC]C:\Documents and Settings\norval\My Documents\My Pictures\jan22 017.jpg[/SIGPIC]
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 13:28 #6

  • IRNWKR_2
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For you guys that use the Gorilla glue, do you still use the wood wedge steel wedges?

Jason G.
Jason Gilliland
"whether you think you can or think you caint your usually right" Henry Ford

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"a wink is as good as a nod, to a blind mule" Barney Fyffe
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 13:45 #7

  • RedRoan56
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With Gorilla glue, DO NOT USE WEDGES !!!! Gorilla glue, as it dries, expands much the same as the insulting foam in can does, with one huge exception. As this stuff dries it acts as damm near a hydraulic jack !!! This stuff is great as a glue but it also expands to almost 4 times it's applicated size (1/4 inch bed ='s 1 inch thickness when dried). This is not what you want if you are trying to secure metal to wood. The wood will crack and splinter. If the metal has ANY WEAK SPOTS it will force that weak spot open. And Murphy's law being what it is, do you really want the metal weakening, possibly to the point of shattering, just as you are trying to shoe a 16H TB or Morgan ? Not me !!!!!!
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 13:46 #8

  • RedRoan56
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insulating foam, not insulting foam but hey, I just had my 3rd cup of coffee since 4 AM.
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 19:41 #9

  • smitty88
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Do any of you ever try and fit a peace of a rubber bicycle tube
there is a nack in doing it but it works well
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 20:22 #10

  • JimBondra
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smitty88 Re: Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather

Do any of you ever try and fit a peace of a rubber bicycle tube
there is a nack in doing it but it works well

Smitty,
I find it nearly impossible to use rubber as a wedge. It won't drive into the end of the handle.
I thought (that's how we spell taught here in the US) Baron strictly forbid the use of the word NACK on the forum!!!:D
Jim
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 20:30 #11

  • smitty88
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Jim,
you must be useing bigger rubbers over there
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 20:35 #12

  • JimBondra
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Smitty
Great, Now you got us both banned!!!!!
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 29 Jul 2008 21:14 #13

  • RedRoan56
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The rubber handle trick is great for most hammers. The rubber soaks up the shock and immediate vibration and reduces the stress on the elbow joint and hands. The best way to put the handle on the HANDGRIP ONLY is to measure the diameter of the handgrip where you are going to hold it. Get to know your local bike repairman REAL good and see if they can set aside the 22-24 inch tubes they have to replace. Cut these tube's approx. 1/2 inch shorter than the gripping area. Dust the grip handle and the inside of the tube with talcum powder, not baking soda !!! Slowly, roll the tube inside out so that you wind up w/ a doughnut. Place the doughnut where the gripping area begins at the base of the hammer. Unroll the doughnut upward until it flattens out. Once it does, give it a little 'twist' and swing to see if it feels right. Might even hit a bit of iron to see if the ring and sting have flattened out.

However, do not use the hammer as re-done w/o gloves. The tube idea is only to take up the immediate shock, not the rebounding effect. That type of shock can only be absorbed thru the use of SERIOUS set of gloves. Be safe, be healthy and, if your real fortunate, your elbow joints and lower arm muscles will keep speaking to you. And be sure to use your hearing protection. Laugh all some of you want. But how many of us have lost that higher decibel hearing due to high pitch slamming sounds ? Any old M-60 machinegunner's out there ? How about turbine engined crew chiefs ? Need I say more !!
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 30 Jul 2008 00:20 #14

  • uncle Rico
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I still use a wood wedge and a steel wedge with my gorilla glue method. I have done well over 50 handles and have not had any problems. I have put rubber in the eye of a few hammers but I still use gorilla glue with the rubber. I break handles in between the head and where I grip, so every new handle gets a good wrapping with electric tape from just above my grip to the base of the eye. This helps extend the life of the handle for me.
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RE:Loose Hammer Handles Due to Dry Weather 30 Jul 2008 00:56 #15

  • IRNWKR_2
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So do you put the wood and steel wedge in before the glue expands or after?

When you break the handle, how do you get the old glue out?

I am going to give it a shot tomorrow.
Jason Gilliland
"whether you think you can or think you caint your usually right" Henry Ford

"Im not as good as I once was, but Im just as good once as I ever was" My Grandad

"a wink is as good as a nod, to a blind mule" Barney Fyffe
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