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I Forge Iron

Design questions on Viking/medieval hammers

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this is just a thought and by no means an informed opinion in anyway whatsoever:)

I would think that the peak or bulge was to give more surface area for contact between the handle and head, providing a more secure fit. Also the peak probably adds some amount of strength to the hammer as a whole.

Many modern ball pein hammers have a similar effect where the center section is flattened and therefore gives more surface area contact between the head and the handle.

Again these are just thoughts. It might very well be as simple as "that's the way it's always been done" syndrome.
-Aaron @ The SCF

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I have read that the double drifted poll eye used on most modern hammers is a fairly recent development (last 200 years). I am referring to the practice of driving the drift in from both sides so the narrow spot is in the middle of the hammer body, which allows a pretty firm lock on the handle when it is wedged. Prior to that, hammers had straight eye walls so more surface area was better for holding power on the wood. It is also a natural way to make it - i.e., when starting with a bar and working to both ends, the part in the middle stays the largest. In use, it also provides mass behind the working face.

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