Fancy (?) Handled Ball Peen Hammer

The Second of my New Ball Peens

Remember last week when I posted about my stubby workbench hammer and I mentioned that I got two ball peen hammers off Amazon?  Well, this is about that second hammer.  With that stubby hammer I had a plan, with this hammer it took me a few days to come up with the inspiration.  Then I found it...

The Inspiration

I've mentioned a few times this YouTube channel called Scoutcrafter.  John, whose channel it is, does some amazing tool (and other stuff) restorations, and has been a bit of an inspiration for me to kind of take up the hobby of tool restoration.  It's really worked out well for me, restoring some of these simple tools has given me an excuse to be in the workshop and has been a great distraction from work during this pandemic.  

Anyway, John did a restoration of a Proto ball peen hammer. The picture above is a shot of his restoration - take it as a hint!

Getting Started

Just like with the workbench ball peen hammer, I decided not to use the handle that the hammer came on.  So, I went through the process of drilling out the handle, and this time I had to actually saw the handle off before I could get it loose enough in the eye to remove it.

I also noticed the hammer face had a big dip in the center of it.  So I colored the face with a Sharpie, locked it in my vise and cleaned it up with a file...


I really wanted this hammer to be different, and I had seen ol' Scoutcrafter paint the cheeks and necks of some hammers before, and I had done it once with a tubular steel-handled hammer, so I figured - why not? 

 I also figured - why not go with my Krylon Cherry Red!  And with that, we were on our way!

A Different Handle

Unlike with the workbench ball peen, I didn't go with one of the handles that came with my Amazon order.  Instead, I spent about $7 on a hickory handle with that classic ball peen hammer handle shape.  I also had another little surprise, although if you noticed the hint earlier, you can probably guess!

After the paint dried for a couple days, it was time to mount the hammer head.  I'll go into a little detail here.  The first thing I did was drill a hole along the bottom of the wedge kerf, this helps to prevent the handle from splitting when the wedges are driven in.

Then, in went the poplar wedge, and let me tell ya - that wedge is in tight!

After I trimmed the excess handle and wedge above the eye, I drove in the metal wedge although I'm not sure it was really necessary.

The next step was adjusting the length of the handle.  I wanted this hammer to have a long handle, but the one I picked up at the hardware store was a bit too long for the size of the head making the hammer look and feel a bit awkward.  So I cut off about five inches and rounded off the bottom of the newly adjusted handle to give it a bit of a finished look...

Some More Fancifying!

The first thing I did was stain the whole handle.  I wanted the handle to have a certain hue to it, although I couldn't define it.  So I went with the general house stain I use here at 173 to match the interior trim, a mix of two stains... 2 parts General Finishes Antique Walnut to 1 part Georgian Cherry.

But I wasn't done!  I also wanted to imitate Scoutcrafter's Proto hammer handle.  I wanted part of the handle to be painted red, but not a solid red.  So I made a stain from about 60% mineral spirits to roughly 40% enamel paint.

If you look close here, you can see the wood grain showing through...

At first I was a little concerned that the red wasn't translucent enough, but after "baking" it under my shop light:

It lightened perfectly, so it looks like a good stain rather than a coat of paint!

After coating the entire handle with two coats of clear shellac, you can't feel the transition between the two colors at all.  And here's another look at the final product!

Natural Habitat

Remember that great show back in the 70's called Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom?  Man - that was one of the best shows ever.  The narrator, Marlin Perkins, would voice over video of our intrepid explorer, Jim Fowler, as he engaged all kinds of animals around the world.  I remember it airing on Sunday Nights right before The Wonderful World of Disney.  

The format of the show often featured Perkins narrating off-camera, describing Fowler's on-camera work with the wild animals. This was commonly parodied as Perkins saying "I'll wait here [someplace safe] while Jim [does something or other with the dangerous animal]". However, according to a 1997 interview with Fowler, Perkins never said any such thing: according to Fowler, "Johnny Carson started the jokes about me and Marlin in his monologues"

Shhhhhh.  If we're real quiet, we might get a look at her in her natural habitat.  Why, look Jim - there she is!

Thanks for stopping by!
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