For more information on chisel hammers, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
This is my hammer for chisel work
I know that it doesn’t look much, but I have used a Thor 12-712N Nylon Hammer for at least two years and really like the way that they handle my chisels. There are other weights and sizes, but my favourite is 1 1/2″ – 38mm model.
When I bought the hammer I didn’t like the plastic grip sleeve and nor did I like the shape of the hammer shaft.
First I removed the sleeve cover with a knife and that already felt better in my hand.
Next I further shaped the shaft to suit my hand size and feel using a spokeshave for most of the shaping work. the nylon peels away like soft wood and it soon gave me the shape I wanted which was oval.
The heads are screw-in into a steel barrel and it’s the steel barrel that gives it the weight I need, which is perfect for chopping mortises and all other aspects of chopping work.
The handle, being nylon, felt quite slick so I used a coarse rasp to create a roughened grip. You could use a checkering tool for this and make a really neat job (as you might for checkering a gun stock) but on nylon this seems an overkill. I simply wanted something practical to stop slippage. A coarse rasp does the job neatly and rapidly …
… as a first level, but the somewhat roughness can be rough on to the hand so I refined it with #180-grit sandpaper.
The face of the hammers are smooth and slick and slip from the chisel. A quick rub with #180-grit sandpaper does the trick.
The stark whiteness of the nylon didn’t fit quite right so I used two coats of coloured shellac to reduce the starkness. At first I didn’t like it too much but after a short time in use it looked fine.
The hammer in action gives perfect COP (center of percussion) every delivery.