Small Wooden Hammer – Part 5 Finale

This is part 5 of the small wooden hammer project and the finale. After allowing the wedges to dry overnight I saw them off using a Japanese fine toothed dovetail saw. You don’t have to use this kind of saw in fact any saw will do the trick. I usually like to rest the back of the back lol on the surface of the wood and keep the blade off the surface about a mm or two so as not to mar the project.


If you prefer to use a flush cutting saw Lee Valley has a neat one, I saw in a fine woodworking magazine when they were doing a review on flush cutting saws. Don’t ask me which one it was as I forgot lol.

After sawing off the wedges I grab my trusty no.4 Bronze LN and flush up the protruding tenon and it’s wedges to the surface. You can omit this part and just round the tenon off with your chisel and some sandpaper.


If you notice a small gap between your mortise and tenon don’t worry about it, you can always fill it up with some saw dust and super glue. Even hide glue will work or any glue you got on hand will work it’s just that super glue dries fast and you can carry on with your work rather than waiting overnight for it to dry. I was lucky this time round I made a gap free joint but it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes you’re tired or stressed or just having a bad day whatever the reason sh*t happens and to the best of us. I have not come across a craftsman where he saws perfectly straight off the bat or makes a perfect joint all day every day in every given project. The ones like myself who do this for a living that means everyday woodworking has a little more practice than the weekend woodworker but I bet your bottom dollar if I was to take a month off woodworking I will make bloopers like anyone else and I do anyway, another words were humans and not machines, we make mistakes and that’s just part of life but our aim is always to work to perfection to the best of our abilities. So if your joints aren’t perfect the first time round don’t sweat it.

Here’s a good tip:

Practice on some scrap before committing to the actual piece.

Now comes the boring part sanding, some people omit this altogether I rightly don’t know why I think it’s an important part of the finishing process. If you are one of those who believe they didn’t sand in the 18th century well your partly right and wrong. They did sand they used shark skin but they used it on feet not their feet but furniture, carved cabrioles and things like that. But I sand everything and I go through the grits depending on what type of finish and sheen I’m after, yes you read that right. To me sanding is just as crucial as planning, making a board flat with hand planes and smooth will cut my sanding time in half and it works wonders on that reversing grain. I don’t like to see planer marks yes they exist even with a cambered iron, just rub some shavings on the surface after planning and watch them pop up. So I sand everything smooth at the very end of my projects. As always there’s a right and wrong way to sand but if done correctly your finish will be perfect (as long as you have done your finishing correctly too.) But hey each to their own this is my work method and it isn’t a ground rule in woodworking, you do what works for you.

Here is the biggest marketing scam of all time

Danish Oil what crock there is no such thing as Danish Oil, the Danes didn’t invent it so what is it. 1/3 Boiled Linseed oil, 1/3 mineral spirits with 1/3 poly mixed with it, that’s it nothing else. Minwax antique oil same deal but with an eggshell sheen poly, now I’m not saying these are bad things but they are misleading.

tung oil

I however purchase only 100% Tung oil and apply no poly into it. I prepare it the same way I would as if mixing a batch of boiled linseed oil but I do omit the poly. What are my reasons behind you may ask, I don’t like poly I prefer the look of shellac. Polyurethanes has a plastic appearance while shellac is natural, does not have a plastic look about it even though you can if you really want to give it that appearance and dries almost instantly. But this is where people get caught, they avoid shellac because it dries to the touch so quickly and they miss a spot and go over that spot again and again and create a mess. If you create a mess you can either sand it out or if you really created a mess no worries just hit it with mineral spirits and wipe it all off and do it again, it’s that simple. Try doing that with poly you can’t. But if you’re doing a dining table then I wouldn’t recommend using shellac even though Neil from Ebeaut has come up with a shellac that is as hard as poly but still contains all the natural properties of shellac. Good on you Neil this guy is a wiz when it comes to finishes and quite a character too.

200 years ago when they applied shellac to violins it took them 3 months, that’s because they would wait a week 7-10 days before applying the next coat. That is the correct way to apply shellac but let’s face it who can wait 3 months. The other method of applying it is after the first coat you wait about 10 mins, sand it back lightly, apply the second coat and let it dry for an hour. Again sand it back lightly, now apply your third and final coat and leave it alone for 24 hours. Then you can wax it or not it’s up to you.

With the oil there is a slight difference between Linseed oil and Tung oil, BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) has a more orange look to it but Tung oil is colourless. Both pop the grain but one colours it the other leaves the timber in its natural state. Depending on the project and what look your after is what determines which type of oil you’re going to use. There is one other thing I didn’t mention and that’s Raw Linseed oil this oil you use on outdoor furniture only.

The method of application is simple, and the same applies to both but with time variances between the two.

BLO – apply a thin even coat and let the timber soak it up and reapply to the areas that the timber has soaked up the most and leave it alone for about 20 mins and then wipe it all off and let it dry overnight (24hrs) not 12 or 8 but 24 before applying subsequent coats. It’s also a good practice that you keep checking for any regurgitation periodically throughout the day and wipe any spots off you find otherwise they will show as little shiny spots the next day. So start early in the morning so you can keep tabs on it during the day.


Tung Oil is the same application except that you let it dry for 3 days before applying additional coats and that’s text book but experience has shown that one day is sufficient unless you’re in the middle of winter and it’s very cold then you will have to wait 3 days or sometimes up to a week before it’s completely dry. I live in a tropical environment where our nights are warm, even in the middle of winter where temperatures drop to about 3 degrees Celsius I know I can hear you guys laughing from overseas at 3 degrees but hey that’s cold for us down under but it’s still not cold enough to wait up to 3 days. I’ve even had this confirmed by my supplier Sceneys who is a reputable knowledgeable supplier, usually I don’t give two hoots what the suppliers have to say but this knows his stuff. Btw Tung Oil comes from China from the Tung tree by pressing the seed from the nut, it’s also known as China oil or China wood Oil but best known as Tung Oil.

I did forget to mention one other oil I also like to use and this one is brilliant, it’s a 100% natural like the first two, there are no harmful chemicals mixed with it in fact it’s so natural that they claim a baby can whatever is coated with it put in its mouth. It provides a beautiful sheen that feels silky to the touch. It’s German made and costs a bloody fortune, is the suspense killing you……. Wait for it OMG just get on with it ok it’s called Kunos Livos naturale. What are the cons you may ask it doesn’t work on every timber but I did find it does work on stained timber which they recommend not to put on? The thing is this oil can make or break your piece so be sure to test it out on some scrap before committing to it. I made it a mission once to recreate this oil and I was 95% close but not close enough. This is one of my most favourite oils to use but you have to apply it correctly otherwise you will see no effects from it.

Well to wrap things up I want to thank everyone for taking the time in reading my blog and for watching my videos, I want to thank those who have subscribed and clicked that simple thumbs up button. It doesn’t take much to do it and it really helps by motivating me to continue to make videos for you.

I enjoyed it, it’s a new experience making videos I’ve never done it before I’ve always worked in the shadows for the last 20 years. I’ve never been on blogs, forums or even had an online store. Unique Clocks has just hit its 18th year and all my work is purely based off word of mouth. I’ve never advertised in the paper, nor magazines nor television not even the radio, I don’t even have business cards. For the last 18 years I have received orders purely from word of mouth. Now that say’s something, that say’s a lot.

I’m looking very much forward in producing more videos, I’m going to make a lot of things and not just clocks which is why I’m starting it off simple like this hammer and I really wanted to make one not that I actually needed one but it was an excuse to have one more tool in my shop.

Lastly to wrap things up I’m also keeping a journal for my future grandkid/s that will contain every project I ever worked on. It will be a book of manuals on how to work wood, the book I purchased is entirely hand made even the pages which to be honest kinda sucks as it doesn’t like the quill pen ink a real bummer. I will make a post on that book or journal as it looks 200 years old a one of a kind, my wife thinks I’m nuts for paying so much for it but I think it’s brilliant.

The next upcoming video is a long forgotten promise on a wooden threaded handscrew so keep an eye out for that one.

Happy shavings.




4 thoughts on “Small Wooden Hammer – Part 5 Finale

  1. Hello Salko,
    I discovered your Blog today and I find it very interesting. Will dig through it in the next days.
    The hammer project is a nice one. Like the techniques you are using.


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