Teaching students to drive stakes with a sledgehammer has cost me many a handle. Those inexperienced hands mean well, but they often miss the mark and end up hitting the stake with the handle instead of the hammer head. I tried fixing the problem by welding pipe handles onto several old hammer heads. This answer solved the breakage problem and created another one: The steel handles never seemed to feel right. This year, I tried a new approach that prevents breakage and still gives the nice feel of a wooden handle.
As shown in the drawing, I welded a 5-in long collar of 2-in-ID steel pipe to the hammer head. Then I slipped a pair of wooden wedges between the handle and the pipe collar at the top and bottom. Little screws hold the wedges in place. Now when the students miss, the pipe collar transfers the force to the head instead of the handle.
—Roger Hearn, Delmar, DE
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #122