Sometimes you've got to build something ridiculous. Everything I've made has been for a specific purpose, and I figured it was time to build something simply because I thought it would be fun. Enter the Warhammer.
In all reality it's more like a timberframing mallet, but it's most likely never going to be used. It currently sits on my desk at work so I have a way to intimidate people to get their work done when they're late.
I know Roy Underhill would be scolding me for not using a solid piece for the head, but I need to get rid of the extra lumber I have in the shop. I went with 5 laminations for the head to keep things symmetrical. Walnut was just because, it was there and I have a ton of these smaller cutoffs to use up.
Good indication of size. I cut out the center mortise before gluing up. I went with 3 degrees for the sides to wedge into, maybe a little too much, but we'll see!
For the glue up I did the two outer pieces first, to minimize slippage. Once those had set up in the clamps for 45 min, I removed each portion and clamped everything together. To stop the center portions from slipping, I took some brad nails and cut them really short. I hammered those into each side of the middle in two places so it would have pins locking it in place. The other option was to use the domino to register the pieces.
After the head glued up, I was testing how long I wanted the handle to be. I went with a conservative ridiculous length. I decided that outrageous was too far and decided a pommel on the tail end wasn't needed.
This is a tribute to the advice of Shannon Rogers. I was never able to get consistent square cuts until I watched his YouTube live session on sawing technique. Since watching I've got square cuts every time, like magic.
Go check out the vid on his channel, you won't regret it.
A square cut means seeing the workpiece straight through the saw plate. Magic I tell you.
I used a flat tooth grind saw blade to trim the handle tenon to thickness, which I forgot to document. Trimming the tenon to width was easy using the bandsaw. Not much cleanup needed after the cut.
The tenon needed a bit of finesse on thickness to fully seat in the mallet head. My 101 plane from LN is a favorite for little bits like this.
I went ahead and cleaned up the head post glue. Things didn't move around a lot so it was simple: Pass or two on the jointer, then planer for the top. I chamfered the corners and came back and did the face edges too.
You can see the mess the router makes doing these chamfers. I used my trim router which has no dust collection at all. Such a bother.
Stopped chamfer off the router, burned and really meh. There's a fix.
Cleaned up with a chisel. Looks about 100x better and consistent on all sides.
Originally I wanted a pommel on the tail end of the hammer, but instead went with a simple curve. I broke the edges with a chiseled chamfer.
Not bad for a little freehand work. Nothing mission critical here.
Tenon is nice and snug. I forgot to shoot cutting the spaces for the wedges, but I went the standard route of cutting them down and drilling a hole at the end to prevent splitting of the handle when driving in the wedges.
I expected this to be a much higher stress piece of joinery because that's all I known in the past. This time thanks to the use of Liquid Hide glue, everything came together very nicely. The wedges slipped into place easily and I didn't see a lot of fighting to keep them from drifting.
Nice and tight on all sides.
I wanted to keep a portion of this handle proud on the top, but ended up going the flush route. This is likely going to be on my desk for most of its life, which requires sitting on the head of it. The more flat I can get means a more stable sitting surface.
I used the blue tape to make sure that I had enough material left over to clean with a chisel so it looks fancy.
Off the saw, not too bad.
I came in with a chisel and cleaned up the rough surface and I'm quite beside myself. Last time I did this I had gaps all over the place. This is just wonderful.
Enter my beater mallet aka the first one I ever made. Lets break it down in the things I did wrong:
- The wedges are oriented the wrong way, I had no clue what I was doing
- The wedges weren't wide/long enough to get the handle to spread all the way in the mortise. (WOOOOOD FILLER)
- Totally dug into the surface trying to flush trim
The Warhammer is quite formidable. I also feel like my shop mallet is grossly undersized.
For the finish I chose blonde dewaxed shellac of my own mix. I follow Mike Pekovich's method of mixing the flakes. I have a jar of heavier cut shellac which I dilute down to the 1lb cut I use for finishing. Fast drying and pleasant to use all around.
The walnut darkened up really well.
I'm pleased with the top. I think flush was a good choice here.
Little more size comparison.
Nobody better mess! Also, I'm fairly sure those holdfasts aren't going to be coming out any time soon. ;)