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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Hobart, Tas
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    489

    Default My hammer, the most musical of all tools.

    A while ago I realised that a little hammer can be really useful for fine adjustment of planes. While I really admired some of the cute little hammers others use, I couldn't justify buying a hammerette when there were plenty of other needs (well, they're all really "wants" but who's counting).

    As such, I started using the one general ball-peen hammer we have. But as it is used for many tasks by many family members, it was seldom there when I needed it.



    Then one day, whilst digging through the tool drawer, I discovered a little upholsterers hammer my wife bought years ago for a project. It seemed a suitable size and weight, and best of all, it would live with my planes as a specialist adjustment hammer.

    So how is it my most musical tool? One end has a fork, which I understand is magnetised to aid in holding tacks when your second hand is busy keeping fabric in place. It also behaves exactly like a tuning fork! So every time I strike anything metallic with the hammer, it rings a lovely clear C# (well a little sharper that perfect, but it's always a solo performance, so who cares).



    It's been in use now for three to four months, and every time I use it it doesn't fail to put a smile on my face. With my recently acquired #043, it is making plenty of music.

    So what unexpected joy does a tool or "thing" in your workshop bring you?

    Kind regards,
    Lance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    McBride BC Canada
    Posts
    3,358

    Default

    Very sharp spoke shaves "sing" in the wood. I like to watch the long, long curly shavings come off a square stock
    on it's way to being a wheel spoke or a spoon handle.
    I got into the habit of counting strokes to get the 4 corners rounded off fairly evenly.
    From that in an idle moment, I figured out that I had pulled spoke shaves more than a mile in birch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Woodstock (Cowra)
    Age
    70
    Posts
    2,423

    Default

    What about the sweet sound of a sharp smoother on some quality timber
    The person who never made a mistake never made anything

    Cheers
    Ray

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Brisbane (western suburbs)
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    73
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    9,053

    Default

    Lance - I was going to make a suggestion, but hearing what pleasure you get out of your tuning-fork hammer, I'm not sure it will be well-received.

    I was raised not to wallop plane irons with steel hammers unless it was an emergency, but the mushrooming commonly seen on old plane irons shows not everyone observed that rule! This is quite a mild case compared with many I've encountered: Old Plne damage.jpg

    However, the last person who tried to use this jack used a conscript cap-iron that is too wide for the throat. In driving it in, our genius has managed to split the side out, as you can see, rendering the plane of doubtful further value. He (I'm making a presumption on the gender) managed to force the blade down far enough to get some cutter exposure, but the wedge didn't fit properly because the blade/cap-iron combo is thinner than the original. Nevertheless, it was thoroughly jammed in by the over-wide cap-iron & I had quite a struggle to get it out.

    Other evidence of over-enthusiastic "adjusting" is deeply mushed ends (both fore & aft) and you can see the clear marks of the hammer in the dished ends: Old Plne damage b.jpg A wooden mallet is a bit kinder to plane ends without strike-buttons!

    I'm not suggesting you'd be so crass as to whale into any tool like this, but something to think about when you get time would be to make yourself a nice little brass adjusting hammer. This is my go-to tool for adjusting planes that need the tippy-tap treatment: Adjuster hammer.jpg

    It's just a scrap of 3/4" brass, with one end bevelled (handy for blades that are close to other parts). I drilled a 1/2" hole for the eye, and made a bit of flare either end of the hole with a round file, so it can be driven hard on the handle & locked with a wedge on the other side. It won't serenade you as you tap, unfortunately, but if you can pick up a bit of scrap brass it'll cost pennies to make - maybe that will put a little bit of a smile on your face.

    I've read that the upholstery pros put the tacks in their mouths and spat them one by one onto the hammer, then drove the tack home with a single hit. Could be a fun party game...

    Cheers,
    IW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Brisbane (western suburbs)
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    73
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    9,053

    Default

    But to get back on topic, the one tool that never fails to put a smile on my dial when I take it out is my dad's old D8 that I inherited about 10 years back. It's rather beaten-up, but still cuts pretty sweetly, and it sure has a lot of memories attached to it. As kids we were prohibited from touching it, which of course was a rule honoured by the breach rather than the observance. Many's the time we sneaked it out when he was far up the paddock ploughing or whatever. It was the only saw available that would cut anything harder than soft butter. Inevitably, since we worked with more enthusiasm than care, it chopped through the occasional nail, which didn't do its keenness much good. With three boys, all close in age, all potentially guilty, & all denying responsibility, no-one was ever punished, but I would hate to have been the one caught red-handed!

    Cheers,
    IW

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Hobart, Tas
    Posts
    489

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    I'm not suggesting you'd be so crass as to whale into any tool like this, but something to think about when you get time would be to make yourself a nice little brass adjusting hammer. This is my go-to tool for adjusting planes that need the tippy-tap treatment: Adjuster hammer.jpg
    Ahhh, while it should have been obvious why people used brass hammers, it eluded me until your post, so thank-you. You're right, it shouldn't take much to make one. I'll keep a look out.

    And as for your Dad's saw... growing up my Dad's tool box too was out of bounds when he wasn't there to supervise when we were young. He had a padlock on it, but never locked it, and the keys lived in one of the internal trays. One day when putting some tools back in the box (my Dad was at work, so shouldn't have been using them) without thinking I locked the padlock. Realising that the keys were inside, there was no way to unlock it, and not only would he know I had been in there, but he would have to cut off the lock and buy a new one. With no joking, creative license or hyperbole, I sat and stared at the lock for several hours hoping that through sheer will of mind, my as of yet unrealised gift of telekinesis would kick in and the lock would spring open. It didn't.

    I never owned up to it, but noticed the next day that it was unlocked and open. My Dad must have had a spare key all along. He never mentioned it, though had a good laugh when I related the story to him as an adult.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
    Posts
    4,029

    Default

    Couple of noises I like in the shed are the ping when you tighten up the scroll saw blade to check for tension and the swish sound of a wood bodied plane at work.
    As to hammers I have to agree with Ian that I am not a fan of steel hammers on planes. Man of your talent should have no trouble whipping up something in brass and wood.
    Dont give up on the musical hammer however just find something else to belt with it.
    A starter idea.
    YouTube

    Regards
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    N.W. Melb Suburb
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    80
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    2,272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IanW View Post
    I've read that the upholstery pros put the tacks in their mouths and spat them one by one onto the hammer, then drove the tack home with a single hit. Could be a fun party game...

    Cheers,
    My father used to deliver supplies to upholsterers and I would spend school holidays on the truck with him. I have seen that in action many times - not sure what happened if they coughed or sneezed.
    Tom

    "It's good enough" is low aim

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