Removing wedges/handles

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

Removing wedges/handles

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:07 am

A few years ago I really needed to redress and re-heat treat my primary forging hammer. It was never rock hard to begin with and it has been used and redressed enough that I had gotten past the surface hardness and into softer steel. The face was taking marks easier than it should. Obviously I needed to pull the handle but it was still good so I wanted to reuse it. To pull the metal wedge I stumbled on using my MIG welder. I clamped the ground to an expendable 1/4" round rod and tacked it to the wedge.
Wedge conga line.JPG
Wedge conga line.JPG (102.56 KiB) Viewed 3117 times
Then just clamp the handle into a vise, clamp a Vise grip to the rod, and gently tap the Vise Grip with a hammer.
Pulling the wedge.JPG
Pulling the wedge.JPG (127.49 KiB) Viewed 3117 times
I do have one of those dent pulling slide hammers around somewhere so if I really wanted to be slick I could use that and forgo the Vise Grips.
Wedgeless hammers.JPG
Wedgeless hammers.JPG (138.16 KiB) Viewed 3117 times
The wedge should pop out pretty easily. The top of the handle gets a little scorched but nothing major. Then I will usually put the hammer head in a leg vise and drive the handle out from the top with a wooden dowel, or other smaller handle, as my punch.

Since I repurpose a lot of old ball peen hammers, as seen in the photos, I just keep the rod near my welding bench and weld one wedge to the next versus taking them off. Actually it is easier tacking the small edge of a wedge to the fat end of another than it is using the 1/4" round. All the handles from the sacrificial ball peens I'll save to either put back into whatever tool I make that hammer into or save it in my slightly used handle pile to be reused on something else.

While I haven't tried it I am fairly certain you could make this work with TIG or stick (small rod and steady hand).

If you have a wooden wedge in there too sometimes you can wiggle it out with a needle nose pliers, splitting it into smaller pieces with a very small chisel sometimes helps this. If it is REALLY in there you may need to get your cordless drill and an 1/8" bit and drill the bulk of it out. At that point I usually find myself debating on whether the handle is really worth saving.

If you have a different technique for non-destructive handle pulling I would love to see it.

Take care.

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Darryl Ponder
Posts: 324
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Location: Minnetonka, MN

Re: Removing wedges/handles

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:34 pm

Great idea Martin! I have some hammers that I am going to try that on.

BTW - this is the 1000th post on the web forum! I had to jump in here and send #1000, just because.



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