Fabricating a Stubby hammer


My body hammer rack has been running out of room, so I've been spending time lately cleaning up some of my extras and selling them through my IG account. One of the guys who just bought one of the hammers had seen my modified tight access hammer and asked if I could make one for him. Since I had a couple extra BF618's, I accepted the challenge. I had bought a hammer a few years ago from a retired body man, who must have needed a shorter handle at some point. Sad, because it was one of the older scripts. But we'll use this to make a new hammer that should last a lifetime.




The hammer head is dissected with a cutoff wheel, and a slight angle is sanded into our mating surface to provide more finger room given the shortened head.




The parts got TIG welded together using ER312 rod...


and cleaned up with a die grinder

Taped off, media blasted, and painted....





I had a replacement hickory handle that didn't have the faceted sides, so flats were sanded, handle fitted to the hammer head, finish sanded, stained and satin finished.






So the main reason for making this hammer is that Snap On does not make it with a crowned face. Their tight access hammer, the BF612 has a flat face, which is counter productive in most cases because you'll need it inside of a quarter panel or door, where typically you have a concave crown inside the panel to contend with. A flat face hammer is going to leave coin marks with every strike, the crowned hammer is more suited. The other issue to address is that with the short hammer head there is little finger room when the head face is parallel to the handle. With a slight angle added, we've increased the finger room..


Ready for shipment to MI.

Looking back at the first picture (my hammer), it pales in comparison. Might have to clean it up as well....
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Another BF618 hammer we modified. This time we're making a radius face on both ends. Using a 1" S2 tool steel round, which got bored with a 3/8 hole, and the chisel end of our 618 was trimmed and turned for a matching "peg" that gets pressed together with the bored ball. Then TIG welded in place using 312 rod and dressed out so it looks like it came this way. And yes, Snap-On should have made this one too. A low crown radius at the bottom and a smaller (1/2") radius at the top.






And here's a sample of the next set that will be finished this week, a set of Bonney with reverse curve faces.

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I could straight edge shave myself from looking at my reflection with that highly polished finish.

I'm having body hammer withdrawals :D
Latest hammer modification, This one is a fender bumping hammer that I'm told works well on early vintage (20's-40's?) fenders. The barrel end seems to have not enough crown from end to end for such a fender without leaving coin marks on the ends of the strikes. So I thought I’d doctor up the extra hammer I have of these.


A round crowned face was turned out of some tool steel. And a bandsaw didn't want to touch it for the final cut, had to use a 4-1/2" cutoff wheel on this and the hammer.





With the barrel removed and the new face welded in place.....


Belt file makes short work of cleaning up the weld...


Still needs some media blasting and a paint job, but looks like this will do the trick.

I use one of those bumping hammers as a chisel with a handle.

My snap on hammers would get short handles because I always broke them. Collision work is hard on some tools.
I make tools when I need something.

Have not tried to weld a hammer together.

I tried a trick I saw to weld a hard edge, just use a cobalt drill bit as a filler rod with the tig. Its hard without heat treat. I made a mild steel chisel that could cut through bolts.
Robert, what is your tool steel of choice and do you harden afterwards?

I’ve been using 4140 oil hardening, the ball added to the one hammer above was S2 because it was the closest match to the Rockwell hardness of the body hammer. With most of these hammers a band saw won’t touch them and a cutoff wheel is needed. I haven’t hardened them based on how hard they were to begin with. And typically I’ll only weld one side of a weld pass at a time and allow it to cool in between, to keep things from getting too hot.
S2 is excellent….I used S7 to make nibbler tooling.
Both are excellent materials for toughness and can be very hard on the Rc scale ( mid 60s)
Nice work all the way around
Thanks! I use a similar process to what I was doing in polishing up stainless trim. Start with about 400 grit and work up to 5000 Trizact before buffing. Unless there are some gouges to get rid of, then I’ll do a coarser starting point. With the hammer face I turned in the lathe, the polishing was primarily done on the lathe, which makes things easier and more consistent.