Addressing the Lacunae – Small Joinery Hammer

When reviewing the voids in the tool set for the Japanese tool box I decided to make as many of the missing tools as possible.  Sure, I can find them easily in the marketplace and for the most part afford them, but if I followed that path I would miss the joy of making the tools.  Sometimes I revel more in tool making than woodworking.

The first and easiest one to make was a small-ish joinery hammer.  I’d guess it took about four or five hours over three days to make, and the materials included a 3/4″ x 3/4″ piece of mild steel bar stock from the scrap drawer, a piece of padauk or similar tropical hardwood from the box of wood scraps, and a couple pieces of ivory from my ivory pile.  The steel for this hammer came from the larger bar.

I started by cutting a three-inch piece of the steel bar stock from the larger piece of scrap.  As is my preference for a lot of similar cutting activities I use a German jeweler’s saw with a #4 blade.  While I was at it I sawed the smaller bar for a plane-setting hammer I will make soon.

After the steel bar was cut I dressed all four sides on my granite block with 60 grit sanding belt,   I drilled out the two holes that established the eye hole for the handle, then filed them into a nice oval.  I originally intended to make the eye hole with the cross feed vise on my drill press, but the vise was so cheezy it could not hold anything steady and I wound up just drilling two holes instead and filing out the oval.

Once I had the eye hole the way I wanted I dressed the chamfers on all the corners, mimicking the character of a Japanese hammer, albeit with slightly “off” proportions since this was perfectly square in cross section.  True Japanese hammers are slightly taller than they are wide in cross section.  In addition my chamfers are a bit light, I will make them heavier on the next one.

Looking through my pile of wood scraps I picked out a piece similar to what I used for a plane adjusting hammer some years ago, it actually might have been from the same piece.  I like the handles on such hammers to be long and slender.

With the handle made and fitted to the hammer head I got out some ivory and cut a pair of wedges, which I drove into the pre-cut kerfs in the end of the handle.  A little smoothing out and the tool was done.

The only other thing I might do to this little beauty would be to blue the sides to an almost-black appearance, and do a little engraving through the bluing.  That would look nice, I think.  As is it’s a very nice addition to the Japanese tool box and feels great in my hand.