Canadian Woodworking
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Show me your hammers!

Blog by Rob Brown
Here’s Mine!

Last week’s post about the hammer my father made in machine shop class in the late 1960s, and that I still use today, generated a lot of interest.

Within a few hours of posting it there were about a half dozen comments along with an email from a reader who wanted to share a similar hammer he had made many years ago.

The comments were mainly about the style of hammer and its intended use. Suggestions ranged from shoemaking and welding to masonry and geology, and it would likely work quite well in any of those situations. There were a couple of readers who had made similar hammers in the same sort of time period and classroom setting.

I also received an email from the reader who had initially contacted me about the hammer several years ago. He wrote:

When I made mine it was called a tack hammer. The curved, non-claw end was designed to allow driving furniture fabric tack nails held between your fingers. The rounded tipoff was to allow the end to travel between your fingers (without pinching your fingers) while setting the nail. The hammer was then turned over to drive the nail home. 

An email from Joseph F. included an image of his hammer:

Yes, anyone who took metal shop in high school in the 1970s would have made one. Here’s a photo of mine, made in 1970. I had it chromed, but some of the chrome broke off when I actually used it as a hammer!

I believe that the “single claw” was intended more as a tack hammer than a claw. We were told to make it a plain bevel, not a claw. I didn’t get mine finished during the school term, so spent quite a bit of time in my dad’s workshop that summer filing the bevel smooth and assembling the parts. I may have had to cut the thread at home, too. My father was a tool and die maker, so I had access to the taps and dies at home.

It has sat on a shelf for decades now, a reminder of a very formative time of life.

I also got another hammer photo from our digital editor, Carl Duguay. It wasn’t the same style of hammer I shared, nor was it one any of his relatives made, but it holds a lot of sentimental value for him. The hammer was used by his grandfather who made windows and doors. The head of his hammer is fairly small, at 3/4″ square and 2-3/4″ long.

Here’s Mine!

Joseph F. sent me a photo of a hammer he made in machine shop class in 1970. He had it chromed, but some of it broke off during use.

Here’s Mine!

Sentimental Value

Carl Duguay, our digital editor, sent me a photo of his favourite hammer. His grandfather used this hammer to make windows and doors many years ago.

Sentimental Value

More doors

I wrote about our propensity to use doors and drawer fronts as the focal point of a piece of furniture a few weeks ago. One of our regular writers, Craig Kosonen, sent me an email about this topic:

 

I thought I’d send a few pics your way in response to your blog from the other week about using door and drawer fronts as a design opportunity. I subscribe heavily to that ideology, possibly too much for some people’s taste. In fact, almost every piece of furniture I’ve built in the past few years includes some sort of veneer or marquetry as a feature on the doors or drawers.

 

I’ve included two not-so-subtle examples: my hibiscus step-shelf and my hummingbird media console.

 

These are both not only great examples of doors and drawer fronts being used as a strong focal point, but a fantastic example of the marquetry skill Craig employs in his work. Craig will be writing about some of the veneer match techniques he uses in a future issue.

“Hibiscus Step-Shelf”

This case, made by one of our contributor’s, Craig Kosonen, was inspired in part by the Japanese step tansu form. It has a simple design, though the drawer fronts are obviously the highlight of the piece.

“Hibiscus Step-Shelf”

“Hummingbird Media Console”

I can’t imagine how tricky completing this marquetry with a figured background would have been. Great work, Craig!

“Hummingbird Media Console”

Nice Match

Craig uses veneer match techniques in some of his work, and he’ll be sharing some of those in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Nice Match
Published:
Last modified: July 20, 2023

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

2 Comments

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  2. That brings back memories! My great uncle made a brass one of those for me in machinists school in the late 60’s. It broke down into 3 parts that screwed together. Sadly it disappeared years ago but its nice to see those still around. Thanks for the memories!

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