Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Toolmaker

In case you don’t follow me on Keek, I’ll try to keep this brief… I got up on Sunday morning with a view to replacing the fence posts after repairing and reassembling the panel (as you saw in my previous post). For this, I would need a sledge hammer. Not owning one and knowing that, if I did buy one, I might not use it again for a very long time; I turned to Freecycle for some assistance, asking whether anyone might be inclined to lend me one for the weekend. No such offers came in, until I received an e-mail from a woman who offered me a head without a handle. As a woodorker though, that didn’t seem like much of a problem! πŸ˜‰

Sledge hammer with a bespoke handle, wedged in to place.

That was my thinking when I collected the lump on Friday afternoon. By the time Sunday came around, I decided that I wanted to get the job done and headed to Toolstation to buy a handle (along with some other bits I needed) in an effort to save myself some time. That didn’t fit and I would end up making one from scratch, which did occupy my time until lunch.

There’s a video of this whole process below and, underneath that, you’ll find photos and details of another ‘agricultural’ tool that I made yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning at my laptop, editing and painstakingly uploading the footage you see above; I didn’t have much motivation left to do much more than to tidy up in the workshop. My stash of offcuts outside has grown in to a mountain and I had a good sweep-around (another post on dust extraction is coming soon).

New life for the handle of an abused “pickaxe”…

There’s still work to be done in the garden and around the house. One of my pet-hates each summer are the weeds that crop up in between each and every piece of paving; small blocks on the driveway and larger slabs around the garden. Normally, I’d use the hoe to scrap them up. It’s always noisy but the end broke apart last summer and I haven’t touched the weeds since.

If only it was longer, somehow…

We happened to have two of these little patio weeders which looked like they might be useful. But at that length, it would mean straining either my knees or my back, if not both. Above that, you’ll see the small rake that I once used as a makeshift pickaxe while trying to level the ground before installing a run of fencing in 2011… That gave me my handle!

Grinding on the Work Sharp 3000.

The original short handle unscrews easily enough and I was able to roughly flatten it, clean away some of the rust and then to put a half-decent edge back on to the tool.

My new Weed Scraper – complete!

Taking the hardwood handle, I cut a slot in the end to receive the blade and drilled two 6mm holes through to receive a pair of M6 hex screws with washers and lock nuts. That holds it all together rather well and, from my brief testing, it appears to work pretty well. It’s more quiet than the hoe and it seems to cut faster, more cleanly and it’ll find its way in to tighter spaces.

While I’m in this mood for fixing things outside of the workshop, perhaps there’s still hope for me to find a solution to our condensation-drenched toilet cistern… Someone on Keek recently suggested fitting a ‘breather’ and I’ve also been told that white vinegar is good for killing weeds. …Just don’t expect me to do too much painting!! πŸ˜‰

Thanks for reading.

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5 responses to “Toolmaker

  1. Bongo 08/05/2013 at 18:54

    Nice. Need to make me a new axe handle soon, so was interesting to see how you did this, thanks. The hammer wedges look nice all finished up in place.
    I am planning to make the axe handle from some ash that I have recently been chainsaw milling from trees felled in some hedgerow restoration work we did this winter. I have heard that hewn wedges and handle can add to strength – am guessing that’s because it will be following grain direction more closely? thoughts?
    I have also heard people saying to dry the wedges completely (like in an oven or something) so that they expand very slightly after fitting…

    • Olly Parry-Jones 08/05/2013 at 22:33

      Hi Bongo,

      I was a bit worried as these hammers usually have a metal wedge fitted after the two wooden ones but it seems to be holding up well. I wasn’t even able to lift it above head height so, it’s not likely to be a problem! πŸ™‚

      I’m afraid I’m not familiar with hewn wedges?

      Ah, yes, that’s exactly what I was intending to do a few weeks beforehand when I began thinking about this… I was going to zap them in the microwave to see if that helped. I like the thinking behind it, especially as these tools are commonly used outdoors.

  2. Art Watson 25/05/2013 at 13:13

    Amazing how much Is involved in making a seemingly “simple” handle.

I welcome your thoughts.

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