© 2011 syd

Veneer Hammer v.2

After using my old veneer hammer (you can see photos in an earlier post) I’ve noticed some problems that was annoying me. The first problem I had was that the head was too large. When you’re working with animal hide glue and veneer hammering, efficiency is the key. The glue sets up quick, so every second counts. Also, I noticed that depending on how I’m holding the veneer and hammer, I press down on it in two different ways. One is with the handle pointing towards me and using two hands. The other way is the handle pointing away from you with the index finger and middle finger cradling the handle. I find the send way easier in that I can use one hand to press down while the other hand can hold the veneer to keep it from sliding around. Thus, the big head, which I initially thought would be a good idea (bigger the head, the more comfortable you can press down was my thought process) turned out to be cumbersome.

Second big mistake I made, which is pretty obvious now, is that the tip needs to be made of brass or stainless steel. I used regular steel for the last one since it was right beside me. The problem with steel is that…

1) The water in the glue mixes with the steel so when veneering any wood with considerable amount of tannins, the glue and the veneer starts to turn black. At first, I though, ‘oh well, it will sand away’, but I realize the time sanding away tanning stain is time I could easily save just by replacing the steel with brass.

2) After you’ve used the hammer to press the veneer down once and there’s more veneering to do, the glue on the hammer starts to get hard. The way around this problem is to put the veneer hammer head inside a bucket of water.

3) The obvious rust problems that can occur with steel and water.

Also, I rushed making the first veneer hammer and I never felt any pride using it as I do when I use my nice tools like the lie-nielsen chisels and hand planes. So this time, I also wanted it to look well crafted. Maybe not furniture quality since this is a tool that will get abuse, but something I can look at and be proud of.

The handle is Beech, with two indention near the head for my index finger and middle finger. These have beveled corners so theres no sharp points and for visual interest. The rest of the handle gently curves in so it’s comfortable to hold. These also have a light chamfer to break the sharp edges. The head is made of Texas pecan and it tapers on both sides. I love the way the beveled faces look. It gives it a rustic look that I can’t quite pinpoint to a reference. Instead of one tenon in a mortice, I decided on doing a double tenon that goes through the head. There’s no reason behind it other than the fact that I liked the way it looked. The tip is brass for reasons I’ve already explained.

In conclusion, this veneer hammer v.2 is lighter, faster, stronger, sexier than v.1. This one will be a real treat to use.

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