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Jim Poor handle

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My wife bought me a Jim Poor 2 lb. rounding hammer for Christmas.  It is almost too nice to hit hot steel with but I'm going to anyway.  My question is has anyone modified the handle to "thicken" it up, short of just replacing it?  I don't think I should have to replace a handle on an expensive hammer.   It feels too long and thin.  Would a wrap of some sort  be durable enough for blacksmithing.  Also what's roughly the ideal length for a 2 lb hammer?  I don't want to cut it too short.  Thanks for your ideas.

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Do you like a smooth as glass grip or a grippy grip?  The ideal length is the one that suits your body and methods of work; not the one that suits *mine*!

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It's already pretty smooth so something with some grip for a sweaty hand would be good.  I was thinking about racquet handle tape but didn't know if it would last. I thought there might be something just for this purpose.  As far as handle length, I'm sure there must be a "standard" length as I have never seen anyone cut off the handle of a steel framers hammer.  I just know the handle that came with the hammer is too long and is made to cut shorter.  Any ideas?

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Use a handle that is right for you. When I sell hammers I commonly sell only the head unless otherwise noted by the customer because everybody has a preference for handle size, shape and length. Find what works for you. I have learned for myself that I cannot use common store bought handles because the profile is too slim for my hands. That makes me feel the handle too tightly which leaves me fatigued and often times in pain at the end of the day. Instead, I make my own to my own. 

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Why do you want to make your handle fit some "standard" length instead of what works best for you?  Sounds like you need to do quite a bit of experimentation to figure out what works best for *you*.  Try the handle wrap and see if it causes blisters or doesn't let you shift the hammer in your grip during use.  Handles are not some immutable configuration; they tend to be just what a manufacturer things will sell the best---or the cheapest that will sell!

I use a loose grip and the only thing I would say is that I like my handles to have a terminal bulb on them so they have a "stop".  parallel ended hammers I have to grip tighter to keep them from a possible ballistic trajectory.

Stop by my place and I'll let you try a bunch of different length handles on various hammers and see what works for *you*!

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Back in the dark recesses of time, they used to make something called "Friction Tape".

Perhaps they still do .....

Otherwise, I'd ask Baseball / Softball Players what they use on their bats.

 

Building up tape, to create a bit of a "Palm Swell", will help a lot with fatigue.

 

.

 

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I'm in a similar boat.  Just bought a very nice 3.75# hand-made hammer off ebay, my first venture into custom hammers, and the handle is far too thin for me.  No shame on the maker because I've got large hands and generally like to use a sledge hammer handle for even my lighter hammers.  I like the greater surface area of the sledge handles and find that I generally don't have to do anything to them other than take off the poly topcoat they come with and give them a good oiling.

I've been thinking about gluing on some cheek pieces to the handle to build up the thickness.  Maybe add some dowels across the three pieces to help keep it all together.  But the simplest thing to do would be to simply replace the handle with something more appropriate for the weight of the head.  

Of course, I'll wait a bit before I do anything so I can see if I can grow used to the spindliness of it.  Again, not saying anything bad against the maker because there's just no way anyone could make something that fits everyone perfectly.

On a lighter 2-pound hammer, I'm generally happy with the length/diameter of a standard hammer handle because I can choke down to the thick part without straining the wrist.  On something over 2 pounds, though, I want a larger handle because it gives me a lot better control without any of the downsides of a thin handle.  I guess it all depends on your hand size.

I wouldn't be too keen on friction tape and the like.  It might work if you don't have to build up too much mass, though.

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In my opinion I don't think that adding extra bits to the handle of rapping tape around it us proper. I would start of with a large (18 inch) hammer handle which is nice and thick and work from there. I have done this with many hammers, I just keep shaving it down and cutting the end off till it feels perfect.

Thanks

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I have a cheap 2.5 lb hammer that came with a short handle that's nice for me. I've never measured it but I'd estimate the length at about 9 inches or so. I have a 3 lb crosspien hammer from lowes that came with a much longer handle and I find myself choking up on it most of the time when I use it simply because I am accustomed to and comfortable with the stubby handle on my 2.5 lb hammer.

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I don't worry about the size of the handle but then my hands are smaller than most of the smiths I've met.   For me the handle texture is more important than the actual shape although I often work the section down between the head and the grip area down on my cross peen.   I like to have a little flex there as it seems a less tiring to my arm. The first thing I do with a new handle is take a scraper to it.  I like the tactile feel of clean wood.  

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I have a 4 pound lump hammer I do large work with which has a 9 ish inch handle on it which I find will hurt my wrist after alot of forging, I am only 16 though so I can hammer all day!!!

I like to have a smoth finish on my handles, I usaly buff them with steel wool and then my hands kind of stick to the handle. 

Thanks

 

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Make a fist around the head and see that the end of the handle reaches the inside of your elbow (hand hammer, armpit for a sledge) 

when replacing a hammer handle, if you are buying one, get a "blacksmith" vs a "hand sledge" pattern. Their is a difference, for me it's just a mater of going in to the local oilfield supply and picking one up.

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Charles, that makes sense and will be a good starting point.

Thanks for the good ideas, I agree with all of them.  I do have  a problem buying and installing a new handle on a $185 hammer ( I would not have spent that on myself).  They should have put on a larger handle to be shaped and thinned down to fit the user.  Charlotte, what do you use as a finish?  Just smooth raw wood or a texture?  What would be a good texture that would not be too hard on your hand.  I will try it as is and see if I can get used to the thin handle.  Thanks for your ideas.

 

 

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As you likely know Jim Poor was very involved in horseshoe forging and shoeing competitions. A lot of these competitors use a 2# hammer as their light and as their heavy forging hammer by gripping the handle farther back. I would bet that the handle your hammer came with is what Jim would want on his own hammer, not that he would want to shorten it to fit.

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If you use a metal finishing scrapper like those used on furniture  it leaves a very smooth surface but one in which the grain is open and feels warm to the touch.   The point that metalmangeler  made about the ancestry of the Jim Poor hammers occurred to me also.   I have a knock off copy  of the Jim Poor hammer head that I fitted with a Lee Green handle. that is similar to the Jim Poor handle.    I find that using the Hofi  Hammer techniques makes  the size and shape of the hammer less important.  Hofi  Technique is shown in the blue print.  With rounding hammers in particular, and hammers in general it is helpful to have small differences is the shape of the handle top and bottom to index the first and second face. 

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Happy (almost) New Year Mr. Wiebster,

Don't be in a hurry to change it, Try it first. The idea of a small shank in a Hammer Handle is to provide Flex in the Handle. If you look at a Repousse' Hammer you can see that, where you grab is large, the shank is small to allow them to whip. I make my Handles from old pallets, I cut the straight grain sections of the hardwood (Western Maple), shape them in the Bandsaw, turn them in the Metal Lathe. I use sandpaper when it is in the Lathe and it comes out with the finish that works for me. I don't use any sealer or coating.

Smooth Bore said "Back in the dark recesses of time, they used to make something called "Friction Tape". ". Around here they call it "Hockey Tape". It is what is used to provide the friction for the Hockey Puck. Who would have thought "Friction Tape" would be the product of "Choice" for Hockey. We use "Hockey Tape" when we are wrapping electrical harnesses. You can make the Handle any shape and figure out what works best for you.

Neil

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On ‎12‎/‎30‎/‎2015 at 3:35 PM, JeepinJoe said:

I would use it as is until you get a feel for it. After some use you will know what changes you want to make.

I agree with this, use it, work it for a 2-3 weeks, see how it feels then you most likely will want to change it to some degree but maybe not what you  think now.  If you  wrap it with some form of tape add some remove some, move it around and find exactly what feels good gives you a pattern to make a new wooden handle from. 

 

22 hours ago, LouisSturt said:

In my opinion I don't think that adding extra bits to the handle of rapping tape around it us proper. 

This now belongs to you any change/modification you make is  Proper! 

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Thin rectangular handle profiles is indeed a horseshoeing thing. But as I have long think fingers as a posed to meet hooks I find I need just a bit more meat. The blacksmith pattern has a thinner handle, especially in the neck.  

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My first rectangular handle was found in Frankfurt Germany a couple of decades ago.  I figure it was just made from a board and so making a virtue of necessity.  That trip as also the first time I ran into handles made from fruit tree limbs with very little working,\; also the very short handles on a fairly heavy head.  89 day business trip and I used the weekends to visit fleamarkets, open air museums, attended an SCA event, etc.

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The  wood turing store Packard Tools carry a nice friction wrap in different colors. The price is reasonable and it works great on my wood turing tools.

I believe it's rubber or maybe latex. Doc's use it to hold bandager's .

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Are you talking about the self sticking wrap used for sprains and securing bandages? You can pick it up at any place that carries pet supplies, it's called "Vet Wrap" the more expensive human use version is found where Ace Bandages and such is found.

I'm not recommending it for wrapping hammer handles, I've never tried it. I'm just pointing out a source. Hopefully it's the stuff you're talking about.

Frosty The Lucky.

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That's it Frosty, I know some guy's that love it on their turning tools.

Not recommending either for hammers just saying it works on turning tools might try it for hammers.

 

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