Swapping Drawers on the 44″ Harbor Freight Tool Cabinet

Thanks to some Christmas money, I was able to pick up a new tool cabinet.  This is one of Harbor Freight’s well regarded tool cabinets.  I like the cabinet a lot but wasn’t a fan of the drawer arrangement.  I ran across a post on Garage Journal that detailed how to swap the drawers.  So, I decided to do the same.

The tool cabinet is sold in several pieces.  I have the top and bottom pieces.  I’m not a fan of the deep drawers on the top and would prefer to have shallow ones.  The plan is to take four shallow drawers from the bottom and swap them with the two deep drawers on the top.

Before starting I’d like to point out that swapping the drawers, as I’ll show, will result in losing the ability to lock the swapped drawers.  There’s a way around this but I never lock my drawers anyways.

Anyways, here’s what I started with.


tb1The first step is to remove the drawers that you’ll be swapping.  This is done by rotating the plastic lever on the drawer slides shown below.  This disconnects the two pieces of the slides and allows the drawer to be removed.


The deep drawers on the bottom have two sets of slides (four total) per drawer.  The deep drawers on top only have one set of slides (2 slides) per drawer with the sides located at the top of the drawers.  So, we’ll need to remove the slide halves that are third up from the bottom on the bottom cabinet to be placed in the top cabinet.  The slide halves have tabs that fit into slots that bear the weight and use a single rivet to keep the slides in place.  This rivet must be drilled out to remove the slide half.  Once the rivet has been removed, the slide half will rotate up and can then be pulled out.


Part of what makes this swap possible is that the holes for the slides have already been cut into the top box as shown below.  This allows the slide halves from below to be easily dropped into the top box.


The rivet holes are a hair under 3/16″ and will need to be drilled to accept a 3/16″ diameter 1/8″ rivet.


With the enlarged hole, the slide halves can be riveted into place.   The rest of the slide halves are moved in the same way.  Using only the available drawer slides will result in the deep drawers being moved only having one set of slides.  This means that the top deep drawers will have a lower weight capacity than the bottom deep drawers.  This isn’t a problem for me as am storing lighter objects in the top deep drawers.  I’ve heard that replacement drawer slides can be ordered from Harbor Freight from the larger tool cabinets if you want double slides for the top deep drawers.tb6   Before the bottom drawers can be put into the top, the locking mechanisms must be removed from them.  As shown below, the bottom drawers have a silver piece riveted in while the top drawers have a small section punched out.  The silver locking piece can be removed by drilling out the rivets which hold it into place.  The drawers from the top, with the punched out locking section, will go into the lower cabinet with no modifications required.

tb7Finally, with all of the slide halves moved and locking mechanisms removed, the drawers can be put into their new spots.  This results in a drawer configuration that I find more useful.


If someone wants to swap the drawers and retain the locking mechanisms it can be done.  This would require modifying the drawers permanently unlike what I’ve done.

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Estate Sale Air Ratchet

I picked up a Blue-Point air ratchet from an estate sale a couple weekends ago for $5.  I knew it had some kind of issue because the throttle lever laid flat against the body as opposed to sitting away from it like normal.  For $5 I decided to pick it up.


Once I got home, I hooked the air ratchet up to my compressor and the ratchet immediately started spinning. It spun up but didn’t really go that fast.  I put a socket on it and used it to drive a nut down.  The air ratchet got the nut pretty tight which told me it was in good condition.  I looked over the air ratchet to try to find a part number but couldn’t. Odd. Reviewing it again, I noticed a small hole and stud on the “neck” of the air ratchet where a tag may have once gone.  I also found a Snap On date code on the end of the air ratchet in the shape of a “M” missing a leg.  You can see it in the picture above.  With all the info, I headed in to look around online.

I headed to Snap-On’s website, as they’re the owners of Blue-Point, and discovered that Blue-Point still makes an air ratchet that looks very similar to mine.  The current model is the AT700F.  They also had a parts diagram which would be useful soon.  I looked up the date code and it showed my air ratchet was made in 1985.

I decided to disassemble the air ratchet to clean and figure out what was wrong.  It came apart pretty easily.  There’s a large nut in the middle that separates the air ratchet into two pieces: head and body.  The body was disassembled by removing the planetary gear assembly, threaded ring, and drive assembly.  The ring was very tight and required the use of some large Channellocks with some rubber to keep from damaging the threads.  I also disassembled the trigger mechanism and immediately found the problem.  The valve was missing.  The lever pushes down a pin which should push the valve down allowing air to flow.  On the other side of the valve is a spring that pushes the valve back closed as the lever is released.


The part I’m calling the drive assembly contains the rotor and vanes.  I separated the rotor from the top bearing and found it to be pretty clean inside as can be seen below. The rotor has vanes which loosely fit in the rotor allowing them to slide in and out.  The rotor fits inside the cylinder which has a hole in it that is off center.  As a result, at one point around the cylinder the vane is pushed completely into the rotor and 180 degrees away a vane is fully out.  Thus, as air comes in it presses against the vanes spinning the rotor and driving the tool.

I cleaned the drive assembly with some degreaser and oiled it before reassembly.  The rest of the parts were looked over, cleaned, and oiled or greased as was appropriate.  I don’t have any pictures of it but I also disassembled the head.  There’s a snap ring on the bottom around the ratchet assembly that can be removed to take it apart.


I looked around further online and found a description of the missing piece.  It was described as a T shaped part.  That makes sense.  Snap On, as always, has parts you can buy to repair their tools.  My valve was available from them for $4.95 which would almost double the cost of my air ratchet.  Can’t have that.  So, I did some measuring and came up with a design for a replacement valve.  I whipped it out on the lathe pretty quickly.  The metal stock I had which was closest to the max diameter of the part didn’t turn that well and left a bit of a rough finish.  I had a small peg from parting the piece off and ended up leaving it on.  It doesn’t interfere with the valve functioning correctly and simplifies installing and removing the valve.


Below is the throttle assembly.  The pin can be seen inside the hole in the bottom of the air ratchet.


I put it all back together and now have an air ratchet that doesn’t run all the time.  Yay.  I tested the air ratchet tightening and loosening some nuts and bolts.  It seems to operate as expected and has good power.  I also found out from the specs online that the air ratchet’s free speed is 165 rpm which explains why it seemed to run so slowly.  The next day it was great to have the air ratchet while removing the numerous bolts holding on my transmission pan.


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Tap Wrench Clean Up

Here’s a quick tool restoration.  I found a tap wrench at a pawn shop the other day for $3.  It was pretty rusty and wouldn’t move.  This isn’t a bad thing when it comes to price.  It’s a Morse No. 15 and about 19″ long.  Good quality tap wrenches are worth cleaning up.  New good quality tap wrenches are expensive and cheap ones are pieces of junk with soft jaws.

Here’s what I started out with.


It turned out that with a little bit more force the movable handle popped loose. To disassemble it I first removed the set screw which allows the stationary jaw to be removed.  Next, the movable handle was rotated to remove the other jaw.  Finally, the movable handle was unscrewed out of the body of the wrench.  Not much to these.


I decided to use some Evaprorust to clean the tap wrench up.  It works well and can be reused several times.  The only downside is the relatively high price of it though it is pretty much effortless.  The parts soaked for about 4 hours and after washing looked rust free.


I buffed it a small amount with the buffer and then oiled it.

tw4 tw5

This was a super easy clean up and goes to show that an old rusty tool can be given a second life without much effort.

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Drive By Wire Throttle Body

My car has a GM 3800 Series II V6 motor that has a so called drive by wire system which is fairly common on vehicles today.  Drive by wire systems measure the position of the accelerator pedal. This reading is then sent to the car’s computer which sends signals to the throttle body’s motor which moves the throttle body’s blade.  The computer monitors the position of the blade via the appropriately named throttle position sensor which is also in the throttle body.   Prior to these systems a steel cable ran from the accelerator pedal to the throttle body to move the blade.  I should probably add that the throttle body meters the amount of air going into a gas motor.

The system in my car has been reliable for over 200k miles. Lately, though, I’ve been getting an intermittent trouble code and the car would drop into a reduced power mode.  The code indicated that there was disagreement between the 1st and 2nd throttle position sensors.  In other words, the car’s computer wasn’t sure where the throttle blade was and was unhappy.  I looked into replacing the throttle position sensor and quickly became unhappy myself.

I’ve replaced throttle position sensors before.  They’re pretty cheap at around $20-$30.  Remove two screws, swap sensors, put the screws back on and you’re done.  Well, on this car, the throttle position sensors cannot be replaced separately.  It turns out that you have to buy a whole new throttle body assembly because it is a “non-serviceable sealed system” or some BS like that.  The dealership wanted $800 for it and online parts warehouses wanted $360. No, thanks.  I found a used one from a junkyard car with 44k online and purchased it.  I swapped them out and all seems to be good again.

Since the old throttle body is now a paper weight I figured I’d look into what makes it so special.  Here’s my throttle body.  Air goes into the top, through the mesh, and then hits the blade inside the throttle body.  It this exits the throttle body into the motor.  The sensor in the middle of the screen is the MAF (mass air flow) which tells the computer how much air is going into the engine.  One the lower right is where the connector for the throttle body motor and throttle position sensors go.  Note that the black plastic sides are riveted on so you can’t mess with it.


A drill made quick work of the rivets and the cover was easily removed.  Here’s the throttle position sensor module.  The shaft that the throttle blade is attached to goes through the middle of the throttle position sensor module.  Note the throttle position sensor module is secured by regular screws.  More on it in a minute.


Under the cover on the opposite side, is the actuating motor and a bit of gearing.  There’s also a coil spring that closes the throttle blade mechanically.


The idler gear rides on the shaft and is easily removed.  Then just two Phillips screws hold the DC motor in.  Thats pretty much all there is to it electronically.      tb4

Let’s take a closer look at the throttle position sensor module.  The throttle position sensors are completely enclosed and connect to the motor through a plastic connector.  So, it is easily capable of being replaced.  Grr…


The back has a little panel that has been plastic welded on.  The weld can be scrapped off easily allowing access to the inside.


Inside is pretty much what I expected.  A throttle position sensor is a potentiometer which is just a variable resistor.  A potentiometer has a resistive area and a piece of metal, called a wiper, moves along this area.  The total resistance of the area from end to end is a constant resistance.  The wiper can be moved which changes the resistance between the ends and the wiper.  The amount of resistance affects the voltage out of the potentiometer.   Anywhere you turn a knob on something electronic, that doesn’t have distinct positions, you’re probably dealing with a potentiometer.  In the picture below the resistive areas are around the inner walls and the wipers are on the middle piece.


Here’s a close up of the resistive areas.  There’s two separate throttle position sensors in the module with one on each side of the inside of the module.  The resistive areas (the grayish areas) for each throttle position sensor are split in two connected by the wiper.  If you look closely, you can see three stripes inside the wide bands of resistive material.  This is where the wiper fingers have worn through the resistive material.

tb8The center piece holds the wipers and is rotated by the throttle blade’s shaft.  The separate fingers on each wiper add redundancy to the sensor


With the throttle position module removed, I was able to check it with my multimeter.  I connected one probe to the wiper pin and another to the end pin with the multimeter set to measure resistance.  Next, I slowly rotated the wiper while watching the multimeter.  I expected and saw the resistance linearly increasing.  At one spot the meter showed infinite resistance indicating that there was a break in the resistive material due to the wiper scratching it off over time.  This was my problem.  The sensors would agree for most of the time until one sensor hit this area and sent bad date to the computer.  The computer noted that the voltage value didn’t match and set the error code.  This check could have been performed without disassembling the throttle body.

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Roman Scutum: Part Duo

In my last post on making my scutum I’d finished making the metal boss.  My next step was to determine what design I wanted on the front of my shield.  As mentioned before, only one shield has made it to modern times and we have to look towards stone carvings and written word for information.  From what I’ve gathered, each legion had its own design and it seems possible that the smaller cohorts in each legion might have had different designs as well.  This would be similar to the different patches found in modern military units.  So, once again there’s a lot of freedom in what could go on a scutum.  What’s clear is that the designs had meaning to them.  Some told of a legion’s history via a laurel wreath or animal.  Others might tell where a legion had served.

I chose to use a design similar to the one found in Trajan’s Column (see last post).  Legio XX uses the design off of Trajan’s column and has provided templates for the design.  The design is the winged thunderbolt of the Roman god Jupiter (Zeus in Greek).  The part that looks like a unicorn’s horn is the actual thunderbolt while the arrow tipped lines are lightning.  I’m assuming wings indicate the flying thunderbolt but eagles were also very important to the Romans.  My design is the same as the one on Trajan’s column with the addition of the curving lighting to keep from copying it exactly.  If you think the winged thunderbolt has fallen out of favor since 2000 years ago take a look at the USAF emblem.

I printed the templates from Legio XX and used them as a basis for making my own larger poster board templates with the exception of the wing.   I used it at the provided size.  From there I taped on and traced the templates.  The positions of the templates were measured to aide in getting them in the right spot.  Then I traced them in the other three positions.  I also put in some horizontal lightning arrows in the middle of the shield whose template is not included in the pic below.


I finally worked out how I wanted to attach the boss which I’d been turning over in my head for a while.  I drilled the boss to use as a template for locating holes in the scutum.  I didn’t want to mess up the design once I’d painted it or mess up the shield I’d spent a while painting while drilling.  The boss is mild steel and drilled pretty easy using the drill press.  It was then placed on the scutum and one hole was drilled.  A bolt was inserted to hold the boss in position so the other holes could be drilled without the boss shifting postion.


Up next was painting.  Lots of hand painting with white paint.  Multiple coats of course.    SC22

And then more painting but this time with yellow paint.  Several coats again.  Then I meticulously outlined it all in black.  Have I mentioned I don’t like painting?  Oh well, after working several evenings the painting was finally finished.


Next, comes brass work.  From what I’ve read online, some scutums were sewn together at the edges.  Some had decorative brass rims.  Others had heavier rims to better withstand attacks in what I’m guessing was wrought iron or steel.  I chose to go with the brass rim.  I used 0.012″ thick brass shim stock to form my rim.  As delivered the brass is hardened and requires annealing to work.  I annealed my brass a piece at a time with a propane weed burner.  Fortunately, it can be quenched instantly to cool down without causing any issues or hardening.  It does work harden though which means as you bend the brass it gets tougher to bend.  So, you get to work it, anneal it, work it some more, anneal, repeating as needed.

My rim is constructed of eight pieces: four corners, top/bottom, two sides.  Once again I made templates to mark out the design before cutting the brass with snips.


I don’t have a metal brake because I don’t know where I’d put it.  Instead, I made a simple form, clamped it in the vise, and bent the brass with a small ball peen hammer.  The piece was then flipped and hammered to create the C shape I need.


After a bit I had the four corners.  Of course they don’t look like corners yet…


To bend the corner pieces to shape, I made a form out of some plastic that I cut to the correct shape and thickness of my scutum.  I marked the bottom where the corner piece should go on the plastic and clamped it in place.  Then, with light taps, I bent the brass.   As you can see, the brass doesn’t magically bend smoothly.  The extra metal on the sides bows out in waves. Then it was off to anneal it again to be safe for the next step.


To get rid of the big waves on the sides we want to create a bunch of small ones.  To do this the corners are put back on the form and the waves are hammered on which pushes them down creating smaller waves next to them.  As you’re doing this, you can feel the brass work hardening as it gets harder to move requiring annealing again.  I completed about five iterations of hammering and annealing before the waves tucked down nicely.  Sometimes the brass will fold over which requires prying it back up to get it to lay nicely.  Below, you can see the progress making the corner pieces.



The top and bottom pieces were cut out of annealed brass using a template.  Again, a larger form was used to hold the brass so it could be hammered into a C shape.


Here’s one of the top/bottom pieces.  I’ve left one end to be finished once I’d shaped it and test fit it with the corners.


The top and bottom edges of the scutum are curved which requires more shaping.  I clamped one end and coerced it into position using clamps and hammer.  Once again, waves in the brass are created on the short side which were tapped down as before with the corners.  Luckily, they don’t have to be flattened as much as the corner pieces.


Finally, I cut the side pieces which was easy since they don’t require curving.  Here’s a picture of all the brass rim pieces after shaping.


The annealing and handling of the brass had tarnished it which isn’t the look I want.  To polish it, I tried some Brasso and quickly discovered that wasn’t the approach I wanted to take.  Instead, I made a mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water for the brass to soak in for a couple hours.  After that they were nice and shiny.  To install the brass rim permanently, small brass plated tacks were used.  I clamped each piece in place, drilled through the tabs partially into the wood, and then tapped in a tack.  I cut down the tacks so that they wouldn’t come out of the other side.  This left clean tack heads on both sides.  An alternate approach would be to drill all the way through and clench the tacks on the back.  Clenching seemed harder to do and easier to mess up which is why I didn’t go this route.


It’s thought that the boss was traditionally held on with rivets or clenched nails.  I wanted to go with rivets but wanted to be able to remove the boss if needed.  So, I decided to fake the look of a rivet with a carriage bolt.  To make the carriage bolt not look like a carriage bolt, I filed off the marking and then hammered on the head which I hope looks more like a rivet.  I also filed the holes in the boss square so that the carriage bolts would sit flush on the boss.


To hold the carriage bolts in place I used some uncoated steel square nuts.  This kind of ruins the period look that the rest of the scutum has but I’m ok with it since it’s on the back.  If it ever bothers me too much I may make some kind of domed cap to go over the nuts.  If you’re curious about the string, it is used to hang my scutum on the wall.


Here are some picture of the finished scutum.

SC36 SC37 SC38

That’s the end of the scutum build.  This project took longer than I thought it would but was a fun build.  It was my first time working with brass like this (as opposed to on the lathe) and blacksmithing the boss was new too.  All in all, it was fun and I believe it turned out well.  It’s certainly the best (and only) scutum I’ve seen in person!

Vade en pace”

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Roman Scutum

I decided to build a Roman shield for no particular reason.  This type of shield is known as a scutum these days even though scutum is just the Latin work for shield.  Even though millions of scuta (plural of scutum) were probably produced during the history of Rome only one has survived to present day.  It was crushed flat and had to be reconstructed by historians.  So, most of the details about scuta come from period writings and Roman stone carvings.  The scutum changed a bit over the decades it was in use but the basic scutum was rectangular or semi-rectangular in plan form with a cylindrical shape.  It had a wooden core that was laid up like plywood and was covered by leather or fabric.  In the middle was a metal boss or umbo that covered the horizontal handle.  Building a scutum ends up requiring a mix of woodwork, metal work, brass work, and painting.  In contrast to my normal posting style here’s how mine turned out in the end.



Trajan’s column, a 100 ft tall marble triumphal column build in 113 AD, depicts the emperor’s victory in the Dacian Wars through spiral carvings up the entire column.  There are several scenes that contains scuta including the one shown before.  The carving shows the general shape and size of the shield along with some of the details on the surface of the shield.  Based on what I’ve read from other online sources (such as the folks over at Legio XX) the shield typically reached from the top of the knee to the shoulders and was wide enough to cover the soldier behind it.  People also estimate the shield was anywhere from 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick possibly varying in thickness towards the edge.  The edges of the shield were either bare or rimmed in metal.  Some shields were said to be rimmed in a decorative brass while later ones were rimmed in a thicker metal to handle enemy blows better.  Considering all of this, there is no one correct shield as it depends on when the shield would have been made and by whom.  There’s a bit of leeway all around.


My scutum is 40″ tall by 26″ wide.  As it is cylindrical, it has a depth of 6.5″ and the total distance across the face is about 30″.  To create the cylindrical shape I first made a form that I’ve seen referred to as a scutum press.  It’s a simple affair consisting of 3/4″ plywood forms held in place by 2x4s.  Some presses have a matching top half which can be clamped down onto the lower half.  As I’m only planning to make one shield, I just made the lower half.


Unfortunately, I lost some of the pics from the beginning of this build.  So, I’ve subbed in a few showing the use of the press on smaller pieces of wood.  I made my shield out of three layers of ~1/8″ “utility board” from Home Depot.  It appears to be a three layer plywood with hardwood faces and a softwood core.  The most important part of it is that it will bend to the shape of the form without splitting unlike the Lauan I tried previously.  Once I had the sheets cut to shape, I coated two of the sheets with a thick layer of glue and stacked all the sheets.


On my actual scutum build, the edges of the plywood were pinched by the pieces of wood on the sides of the form and then tie down straps and more strips of wood were used to make the plywood match the shape of the form.  In the picture below (another sub with smaller wood), I had to use a bunch of clamps and straps to bend the plywood.


I let the plywood sit in the press for a full 24 hours before removing the straps and clamps.  Surprising, the plywood sandwich held the shape exactly and there was no relaxation of the shape.  I trimmed the edges and rounded over the corners to the dimensions desired.  To create the holes around the handle, I cut two 5″ diameter semicircular regions that were separated by 3/4″ where the handle is.  The scuta had a frame on the back to strengthen the shield.  I made my frame out of 3/4″x 1/4″ oak with the handle receiving two strips of wood.  I’m not sure how the frame would have been held to the shield while the glue was drying 2000 years ago but I used a mix of clamps and machine screws.  Once another 24 hours had passed, I removed the clamps and machine screws before filling the holes where the machine screws were.  Finally, I shaped the handle a bit with rasp and sandpaper to a comfortable shape.


As mentioned earlier, scuta were covered in leather or fabric.  I opted for the cheaper fabric route using some thick linen my wife had laying around.  Gluing the fabric to the front of the shield was pretty simple.  I applied glue to one half, laid the fabric down and then put glue on the other half before laying down the rest of the fabric.  Applying fabric to the back of the shield was a little more tricky due to the frame.  I did the best I could but ended up with some tenting around the frame and some small wrinkles.  Next, I trimmed up the fabric with a razor and gave both sides a coat of barn red paint which is an appropriate color according to the folks online.  Apparently, milk paint would the the historically appropriate paint but I went with the latex I had laying around.  The modern paint is more durable than milk paint too.


The next big part of the shield is the metal square in the front known as the boss.  Did you wonder why I was polishing up all those ball peen hammers in the last post?  Well, it was for this.  I purchased a piece of 16 gauge steel and cut it into a 10″x10″ square.  I followed the recommendation from Legio XX and cut a 5″ hole into a piece of 2×8 (a depth of 1.5″), attached it to a stump, and then started playing blacksmith.  I heated the plate with my propane weed burner and started hammering.  I started in the center of the plate and worked out in circuits in a process known as dishing.  This was repeated for a while and I finally ended up with a uniform bulge in the plate.   Not bad for a first time If I do say so myself.  In retrospect I wish I’d gone a little bit deeper but didn’t realize this until the shield was finished.


Well, it turns out that was the easy part.  Next, I had to work the boss so that the plate matched the curvature of the shield.  While the sounds simple, consider that the curvature from the top to bottom of the plate must be constant excluding the bulge.  The area between the top edge and bulge, and its counterpart, really wanted to stay sunk down below the edges.  Add on to it that when set on a flat surface the boss should not rock.  Perhaps for a skilled blacksmith, this would be a simple task, but it took a while for me to get it to fit well.  Eventually, I did which lead to the next step of planishing the piece.  Ideally, with plannishing, you lightly tap the work over a form to even out the surface and remove hammer marks.  I planished the surface as best I could using a round form I turned in the lathe and a light weight ball peen hammer.  Next, I went after the surface with a flap disc on the sander.  I started with a 40 grit disc and, using a light touch, went over the entire surface.


I stepped up to a 120 grit disc and again went over the surface.  Next, I hand sanded the boss with 220 grit and then went over it with a green 3M pad which left a nice satin finish.  I’m not sure what kind of finish an actual boss would have had. Mine still has some scratches and hammer marks in it as I wasn’t able to get it perfectly smooth.  I can’t imagine that every one of them was finished to a gleaming smooth mirror like surface.  Who knows though.  I’m happy with the finished I achieved given my skill level and the couple of days of work I had in it.

s9That’s it until part 2.

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Ball Peen Hammer Cleanup

I picked up a couple old ball peen hammers that need a little clean up.  I want to use some of my ball peen hammers for working metal which is why they’re getting this treatment.  This hammer is in good shape.  The handle is straight, tight, and not cracked.  So, I won’t be removing the head from the handle.  Cleaning up the head would be easier without the handle but can still be accomplished with it.  The hammer I’ll be cleaning up is an unbranded 8oz head.


To work sheet metal or thin plate with a hammer a smooth face is beneficial.  A rough face will texture the surface with each blow leaving you a problem to deal with later.  Depending on what you plan to do with the hammer, you may want to round the surface.  A rounded face is useful when pounding metal as is puts pressure over a smaller area and allows you to land blows that won’t have a sharp edge marking up the metal.  The radius of the face depends on the use of the hammer.  If you’re pounding into a depression the face needs to have a radius smaller than the radius of the depression.  I made a template out of cardboard for my chosen radius and then headed to my small belt sander.  I started with a 100 grit belt griding away metal in circles from the outside in.  After each pass, I checked my progress with the template and ground as needed.


The 100 grit paper leaves scratches in the surface and requires a finer belt.  So, I replaced the belt with a 400 grit one and went over the face again with a light touch.  The 100 grit belt cuts much faster than the 400 grit belt but you still have to be careful with the finer grit as it can put flat spots into the face.


Speaking of flat spots, I also cleaned up the ball on the opposite side of the hammer.  It was fairly pitted so I used the sander again with the 400 grit paper and a light pressure.  Even using the part of the belt not over the platen I still ended up with numerous flat spots.  This is ok though.BPH4

The next step is to start hand sanding.  I started at 120 grit paper and used it until all of the flat spots were gone.  It’s important to do a good job with this first grit as it will save time later.


Eventually, I worked my way up to 600 grit paper.  I used it to smooth both the face and ball of the hammer.


At this point the surfaces would probably be ok for use.  But, to put the final finish on my hammer I pulled out my 6″ buffer.  It’s a Harbor Freight branded buffer but it is impossible to beat for the value it provides.  One can be picked up cheaply on sale and buffers are much quicker than hand polishing.  I used a green stick of compound and polished up the face and ball.


The last thing I did was give the handle a light sanding and a coat of boiled linseed oil.  Some hammers have a lacquer finish and I prefer to remove them as I find an oiled finish to provide better grip.


If you have other ball peen hammers you get the joy of getting to go through the process again and again!    In the middle is a 32 oz surrounded by a 24, 12, and a couple 8 oz hammers.  I might have a few more not pictured…  But hey you can find hammers all over and do your part to restore them!  You can’t have too many, right?


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