Demolition Hammer: Full-Tang Termites

Demolition hammer

I had this hammer lying around, and I thought it was a perfect way to experiment with a new wood. My reclaimed British Columbia barn lumber stash has a bunch of Oak that’s ravaged by termites which died years ago. The result is an incredibly hard wood on the grain, and basically sawdust where the rest of the wood used to be. My idea was to do a full-tang wrap with wooden dowels, and use enough glue and finish to turn the remaining termite-dust into something stable.

3 stages of the hammer

After getting everything cut and carved, the bottom basically disintegrated. Amazingly I had some scrap alley Cedar that just needed one straight cut before it fit directly in. I glued everything together and moved on to designing the shape of the handle.

Pics of shaping

That Oak is awful to work with! I constantly would go to chisel out a small bit, only to have something collapse into dust. I wasn’t about to stabilize it at this point, so I thought for a bit and realized I could work with the gaps instead of against them.

After a basic shaping, I finished the rest by wet-sanding from 60 grit with Danish Oil (1:1:1 Linseed Oil:Solvent:Polyurethane) and rubbing the excess slurry into the gaps. By the time I finished at 600 grit and a couple of days cure time it was completely stable, and all of the sharp points of the gaps had been sanded smooth. I buffed it with some beeswax paste wax, and the result is a surprisingly high-grip hammer with a soft finish.

Close up of finish