Tool care and maintenance

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Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:23 pm

Tool care and maintenance

Unread post by Christina » Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:43 pm

I just got my first new (yes, brand-spankin' in-a-plastic-bag new!) hammer. How should I take care of it? Do I keep it clean and put a thin coat of oil on it regularly or just hang it and let it darken over time?

Jim Ericksen
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Tool care and maintenance

Unread post by Jim Ericksen » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:24 pm

Hammers are pretty easy , just use them , I use a wire brush and apply wd-40 if I get unsightly rust on them and I can only recall doing that a few times over the years

Only thing you may want to do is to dress the edges and polish the face if it's off the shelf and not made for forging

Another thing is if there's a coating on the handle I usually burn it off with a torch


Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:27 am

Re: Tool care and maintenance

Unread post by Marty.Hicks » Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:41 pm

Also, don't hit anything harder than the hammer (tool steel). Remember the surface of the hammer leaves an impression in what you're forging. So if dings occur, you may want to re-dress the face of the hammer.


Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Tool care and maintenance

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:26 pm

Feed it a steady diet of hot steel? ;)

To add to what Jim and Marty said...

If the hammer is a not one made by smiths for smiths the head will probably need to be dressed, either on a belt grinder or by hand with sand paper.

I usually either sand or scrape the finish off the handle versus burning it. Never tried that but I might now. If you sand it do go too fine. Maybe 150 -220 with a planned touch up once your sweat soaks into is a little and pops up some errant grain.

Of course that might be a moot point. Unless the universe is unusually kind to you, like it is to Jim, the handle will dressed to fit your hand better. I find most of them have to loose a little wait for me to hang on to better without taxing my hand muscles too bad. I also like a squashed octagonal cross section.

Finally, don't let the handle get wet. If the wood in the eye of the hammer soaks up water the grain will expand and crush themselves against the walls of the eye of the hammer. After this happens the handle is going to be loose in the head once it dries out and the wood shrinks again. If the handle gets loose like that some people soak this part of the handle in ethylene glycol which is supposed to swell the wood and keep it swelled. I haven't tried that myself.

Congrats on the new hammer! May it do a lot of good work for you.

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