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Po' Boy Tech. How to make body hammers from scratch.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by StevenH, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Posts:
    20
    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    WARNING: You are responsible for your own safety. This thread shows you how I do things but that is not a guarantee that it is the safest way. Follow proper safety precautions.

    Here's what you need to build a body hammer.

    Chunk of leaf spring
    1/2 inch dia. steel rod
    angle grinder
    flap disk, resinfiber pad, cutting disk, grinding stone wheels for angle grinder.
    several inch section of 1/2 inch dia. Black pipe.
    sanding block/paper
    12 inch ball peen hammer handle $3ish.
    Ultra fine point sharpie

    Step One:

    Select a farely low crown (flat) section of leaf spring. Give it a quick pass with the grinder to remove the rust so you can see to mark a line.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Step Two.

    Determine face size. Most body hammers have approx an 1 1/2" face. I selected a bottle with a base slightly larger than that to allow for mistakes. I can always make it smaller. Place the bottle you select on the spring and trace around the base with the sharpie.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Step Three.

    Cut out the circle with the cutting disk on the grinder cutting several straight lines to create a stop sign type shape, then smooth the remaining corners with the grinder.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
  2. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Posts:
    20
    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Step Four.

    To make the main body of the hammer we need to cut three 1 1/8 sections of 1/2 inch dia. black pipe.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Now place one of the sections in the vise with the seam facing the vice jaw as shown.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Slowly tighten the vise just enough to make the pipe oval shaped instead of dead round. This makes it harder for the handle to spin inside the head.

    Take the second and third sections of black pipe and cut a 1/4 inch wide piece out of the side as shown.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Now place the pipe over the edge of the vise and hammer it gently till it spreads enough to surround the first piece of pipe.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Trim the to pieces to fit tightly around the center pipe.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Now use a zip tie to hold the pieces in place while you tack it all together. After a couple of tacks the zip tie melts so put one tack on each piece right away.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Tacked up.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Fully weld all seams. The piece should look like this.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Grind all the welds you just made flat.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
  3. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Posts:
    20
    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Step five.

    Now we need to bevel the botton of the hammer head body so that it doesn't cut into the handle. To do this I took a die grinder with a stone in it and beveled the handle hole by hand, You don't have to get real crazy just try for a gentle, consistent radius.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]

    Step six.

    Now you need to make the stems for the face and cross peen portions of the hammer. For these pieces cut 2 sections of 1/2 inch solid rod about 2 inches long. You can make these stems longer or shorter depending on how you want your hammer shaped. The short piece of rod in the picture is going to be the cross peen itself.[​IMG]

    Take one of the stems and stand it in the center, on the backside of the face of the hammer
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    I just eyeballed the stem on the backside of the face to find center. Just get it close, we'll perfect it later. Same thing to make sure the stem is square to the face (stem should be 90* to the plane of the backside of the face). Just eyeball it from four different sides to make sure. We will grind on the face of the hammer later so slight variances at this stage can be corrected then. This picture is after the assembly is welded and has been turned over but it shows what I am trying to describe.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    When the stem is where you want it clamp it in place.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Tack and check that the stem hasn't pulled out of square/center, then finish welding it.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Now turn the assembly over and double check for square.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    As long as it is close to square your good. You can fix the inaccuracies later.

    Step seven. Rear stem and cross peen.

    Take the second stem you cut earlier and cut a trench into each end perpendicular to each other.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Lay the short stem you cut in one of the trenches like so[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    When the short stem is centered and squared on the long stem clamp it in place.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Tack and check that it didn't move, then finish weld it
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  4. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Posts:
    20
    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Step eight.

    It's time to true up the face end now. Place your angle grinder in the vise (jaws clamping on the aluminum housing not just on the plastic!) and rolll the edge of the hammer face on the grinding disk to smooth the radius.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31

    Radiusing the face.

    Before you start, make sure the surface of the face is perpendicular to the stem. If there is a high spot/side dress it with the grinder until the surface is flat then begin the radiusing process.

    First, mark center on the face with a marker. second, using the grinder, make concentric circles around the center mark grinding more on each circle the farther toward the edge you go. The red lines in the picture below illustrate the approximate travel pattern of the grinder.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-07

    You don't need to remove alot of material. I personally go for a low crown. It isn't an exact science, just eyeball a low crown that looks good to you. Also, don't worry about getting the surface perfect right now. We'll clean it up with the sanding board.


    Step nine.

    The stems of your hammer faces should have trenches cut in them like so.
    [​IMG]

    Step ten. Mock up

    Here are your three parts together[​IMG]


    Grind the welds on the face ends of the hammer. If you wait until you weld it all together you won't have room for the grinder. I used a flap disk for most of the grinding/blending.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-08-31[​IMG]


    Step Eleven.

    Put the face end and the center body in the vise like so.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]


    Before you weld these up you want to make sure the main body hole for the handle is perpendicular to the stem of the face and that the stem is not angling left or right away from the main body. Bottom line look like it does in the pictures before welding.

    Welded up.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Now add the cross peen end the same way checking level and square as you go.


    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Both ends welded up.

    [​IMG]

    Now grind the remaining welds.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06
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  5. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
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    20
    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Step twelve. Polishing up the faces.

    I polish the faces with 220g on a sanding board/block, then 400g, then 600g, and finally white rouge on the buffing wheel.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    I also polish the sides of the face like so.
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Don't forget the peen end too.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Hit it on the buffing wheel...

    [​IMG]


    Tada!

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Were not quite done. Use the grinder on the back side of the face to thin the face to about 3/16" as shown.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Also, file any sharp edges so you don't cut yourself or your work well handling the hammer.

    Now lets get some paint on this bad boy.

    First tape out every thing you want to stay shiney (duh)
    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Then prime it. I stuck it on an old handle while i painted it so that I didn't have to paint it in two sessions. Just put the old handle in the vise while it dries so the head doesn't have to rest on anything.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Then paint it. [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    When the paint is dry untape the faces and install the handle. The handle is a 12 inch ball peen hammer handle that you can get at any hardware store. Surprisingly similar to a martin hammer handle:rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    File handle to fit.

    [​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]


    Istall the head and wedges per handle instructions. Repolish faces to remove tape residue, and you ready to go bang some metal!

    Here are a few pictures comparing the hammer we just made to an original plomb 1426 body hammer.[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06[​IMG]
    By onecoolkoala at 2012-09-06

    Now somebody is gonna say "Why not just buy martin hammers? They are fairly reasonable?" Well, some body hammer patterns have been discontinued and there are some custom designs of my own that I think will be useful. And the price of old body hammers is outrageous. We made this hammer for about $6 and an afternoon.

    Well, I hope you like it. If you have any questions please ask. And of course, vote for me!!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  6. skatermann
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
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    Location:
    Grass Valley, California

    skatermann Member

  7. plywude
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
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    Location:
    manteca ca

    plywude Member

    Can you say HARBOR FREIGHT.. walk in 19.99 for about 4 hammers and 3-4 dollys total time 5 minutes ?????????????????? nice work by the way..:)
  8. 1950heavymetal
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    Minn-ee-soda

    1950heavymetal
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    nice, cool idea!
  9. Sphynx
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Posts:
    1,143
    Location:
    Central Fl

    Sphynx Member

    Now those are damn nice. You shod make and sell those. I cannot count how many of those cheap pos ones I have had the head crack and fall off. Thanks man.
  10. mrjynx
    Joined:
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    Location:
    England, UK

    mrjynx BANNED

    [​IMG]

    Its a cool tech. you can pick one of these up very cheap, it has some useful shapes, and if you want make them all into individual hammers.
  11. F&J
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Posts:
    9,160
    Location:
    CT

    F&J Member

    America is making tools again :)



    I think the concept is great. Someday someone might say; "my gramps made this hammer".

    Some might not get it.

    I've been wanting to modify a long curved pick I never use. I think I will, after seeing this.
  12. suicide35
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2012
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    Location:
    Appleton, WI

    suicide35 Member

    Awesome. That's pride of craftsmanship and ownership!
  13. jaxx
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
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    Location:
    Bristow Ok - Route 66

    jaxx Member

    i get it - cool - most of my hammers are homemade too - but i dont take the time to paint them - good job - jaxx
  14. sheesh
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
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    Location:
    canaduh

    sheesh Member

    just wondering how long the face is going to stay on? spring steel to mild steel is not always a great bond, do you have any youve worked for a while?
    nice tech btw
  15. Old Iron Nut
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
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    Location:
    Meridian, ID

    Old Iron Nut Member

    I think this is great! You can make them specialized to what you need, and you can take pride in doing it yourself. Guys who do a lot of bumping know what it means to have a good quality hammer that has the right anvil on it. :)
  16. toolman1967
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Benton, Illinois

    toolman1967 Member

    Very nice job, I would rather have ONE well made hammer than a dozen pieces of crap!

    Tim the Toolman
  17. Deadbird
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    Mansfield, IL

    Deadbird
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Awesome tech. Anyone can buy a hammer. Much more cool to make a hammer.
  18. Hackerbilt
    Joined:
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    Location:
    St.Johns,Nfld,Canada

    Hackerbilt Member

    Thats true!
    You can also walk into a Hyundai dealership and buy a cheap, reliable car WITH a warranty.
    WHY build one????

    Because you can. ;):D

    (BTW...don't confuse HF or PA cast junk as "body hammers & dollys". NOT the same thing at all.)
  19. niceguyede
    Joined:
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    Location:
    dallas

    niceguyede Member

    The crap the chinese make and sell over here arent worth the 15-20 bucks they sell for!! I've made many a dolly and slap hammer in my day, but never a hammer. Maybe that's just cause I have used the same 3-4 hammers for the last 15 or so years. But, that is one thing I have never thought of making myself. A good forged hammer is just not that pricey that I won't buy the one I need. But, Good job man! Home made tools is where it's at!!
  20. go-twichy
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    Location:
    rosemead ca.

    go-twichy BANNED

    now stamp "proto" on it!
  21. StevenH
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
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    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Why not buy Hf body hammers? Because they are cast and when you hammer on welds you mark them up and have to keep refinishiing them. Bottom line- HF uses inferior materials that effects tool performance.

    Does the spring steel face stay on the mild steel stem? It has all the time I've used it no problem. I've also made dollies in this manner and there as solid as can be, no cracks. I wouldn't do this type of welding for anything structural on a car but for a hand tool it works fine.

    If anyone doesn't understand something about the process I use feel free to ask and I'll do my best to clarify. Thanks for all the positive reactions.

    -Steven
  22. young'n'poor
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    Coon Rapids, mn

    young'n'poor Member

    That's real neat!


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
  23. Kevin Lee
    Joined:
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    KC,MO - The cradle of hot rodding

    Kevin Lee Super Moderator Staff Member

    Neat.

    I got a a fairly good idea how a hammer could look... and as a bonus saw everything on your workbench and floor perfectly clear. :)
  24. jazz1
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Thunder Bay Ontario

    jazz1 Member

    Nice hammer, better stamp your moniker on it. I have made some dollys out of necessity, I have a cheap $3.00 hammer for 30 years now that suits my skill level
  25. ownerizer
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Centennial, Co

    ownerizer Member

    Interesting concept. I have made a couple custom tools, but only for one specific problem. Personally, I wouldn't make body hammers, but if you feel the need to make them to fit your specific need, GO FOR IT! Nothing wrong with feeling like a badass when it's all done!
  26. BratRod
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    Bridgeport, CT

    BratRod
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I like it! And agree that its time to stamp your name on it somehow!
  27. dabirdguy
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
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    2,284
    Location:
    St. Peters, MO

    dabirdguy Member

    Sweet Tech!
    That is an excellent use of what goods steel we still ahve left here in this country!
    Finding GOOD hammers at a reasonable price is very hard.
    Too many guys think that a tool is only as good as the name on the handle.

    Personally, I use the Harbor freight hammers I have here for pounding nails and busting concrete and other "who cares" stuff...until they break. They aren't worth even exchanging.

    Nicely done!
    Glenn
  28. StevenH
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Mid Michigan

    StevenH Member

    Thanks Dabirdguy (and all the rest of you). Glad you like it.
  29. willymakeit
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    Location:
    Springfield Mo.

    willymakeit Member

    Nice work.
    The abulity to make and modify your own tools is priceless.
  30. Richard D
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
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    12,253
    Location:
    Texas City, Texas Between Houston & Galveston

    Richard D Member

    Am I the only one seeing some red Xs instead of pictures? Not all, but some?

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