Ranchmanben

To wedge or not to wedge

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I've had one with a round/ hollow wedge that came loose.  Wonderlockem works very well to tighten and lock a dried-out handle in.  I wasn't sure that it would be worth the price because  I had tried the blo soaks without much to show for it.  Loose but not falling-off hammer heads were back in action overnight.  It's been about three months since I treated all my hammers so I can't really speak to the longevity at this point.

I've also found that some factory handles last a whole lot longer than replacements do.  I was given to understand that some factories use a press to insert the wooden wedge much further than it can be pounded in with a hammer or mallet.  Paint helps to seal the end-grain of the handle.

I've also found that wooden handles last longer if they're fit to tighter tolerances.  Brent Bailey has a video on how he does it.  One thing I started imitating is to mark the new handle to indicate the face or the peen side while I'm paring wood to fit. I think I was reversing the handle orientation during test fits.  After trimming all those "high spots" it was loose no matter which way I tried!  FWIW, Brent uses wonderlockem on his new handles.  He's made a lot more hammers than I ever will.

As for the debate about steel wedges, I doubt that blacksmiths would find a piece of mild steel to be a major obstacle.  I probably have twice as many steel cutting drill bits as all others combined.  Even so, a small hole on either side of a flat wedge is usually sufficient to get needle nose pliers in to finish the job.  Typically, I end up drilling the wood out just to save time.  

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I've had a round wedge fall out too and have been known to use my screw press for wedge/handle insertions. 

I've had great luck withe BLO soak for a week system.

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Speaking of screw oress,, I nearly forgot, I've even used screws for a wedge on occasions. Most often when the head gets loose.

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I've used a screw to plug a puncture hole in a tire before in a pinch. Of course I'd drive a nail or a screw in to wedge a hammer in a pinch. (On occassion that quick fix stays for years till i get around to really fixing it.)

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During the Johnson administration here in the USA, Ladybird spearheaded a "Beautify America" initiative; besides curtailing billboards along highways and making junkyards fence themselves in; they finally decided to get rid of the "temporary" buildings erected on the "Mall" in Washington DC.  They were put in place during the war and were still there decades later.  We used to joke that it was the 1812 War...

I finally gave away my set of double lunged bellows after over 15 years of use as I realized I would never go ahead and build the next version while I could patch the old ones and keep going...

 

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Been living in very humid areas. BLO soak or antifreeze soak seems to help, but not enough by itself.  I've taken to making a round metal wedge a lot of the time and using it with a wooden wedge. Usually works great, but every once in awhile I'll get one that just doesn't seem to stay put no matter what I do. It's twice as bad if it's a struck tool. (Yes, I know the debate about not wedging struck tools...)

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