Lathe projects

Here are a few of the first projects I made on the lathe: A handle for a hammer, a coffee tamper and a mallet.

The hammer handle was made to replace a damaged rubber handle on a ball-pein hammer I was giving to my nephew for Christmas. He wants to get into metalwork, so I loaded up an old toolbox with anything I thought he could use.

I started by smashing off the old handle.


Then I ground off the remaining rubber and sanded the round shaft.


I had another round lump of ash left over from when I turned down a log for making a chisel handle.

I marked out the center and drilled out a hole to push the handle into. I tried it to be exactly the size of the handle for a tight fit.


Here you can see the tip breaking through. Unfortunately, it is off center. Oh well.


I mounted the blank into the lathe.


And I turned the handle with a pommel on each end to keep the handle from flying loose when striking. Also I turned in some grooves for a grip but they are largely decorative.

I took the handle off the lathe and started to pound it onto the hammer shaft. This promptly broke it.


I started over. The second time went a lot quicker. I left some clearance in the hole this time. A slight bend in the shaft meant that the shaft gripped inside the handle all on its own without glue.

It feels pretty good in the hand. Also, it is nice to breath new life into an old tool.


Up next is a mallet I thought my nephew could use.

I found an old table leg in the shed.


I could see the shape of a mallet waiting to come out. Here I have identified what I could see.

I cut the leg to length and mounted it in the lathe.


Within no time I had a mallet made. Evidently the leg was made up of built-up parts. The mallet should stand up to regular chiseling and the like though, I assume.



Next to be done was a tamper for espresso. I like my coffee.

When making espresso, the coffee beans are ground and put in a metal filter cup. This has fine holes in the bottom. The steam in the machine passes through the fine coffee and goes through the holes and comes out as espresso.

In order to work correctly, the ground coffee needs to be tamped down tight. I had been doing this with a small lid of a bottle but resolved to make something better.

So, I brought the filter cup to the shed and found another piece of ash to use to form the tamper.

I measured the inside diameters of the cup at the bottom and at the top. There is a slight taper. These measurements I transferred to outside calipers that I used during the turning process.


The handled portion is on the left of the picture. I left a large bulb that fits into the palm of my hand. This then sweeps in and down to the tamper itself which I left as fat as possible.

I sanded as much as I could on the lathe and parted down the excess as best I could with tools.


I sawed the tamper from the rest of the blank and sanded the ends.

I didn’t put a finish on it. A text fit shows I got it down OK.


This is something I have used pretty much every day since. I think I’ll outfit my whole kitchen eventually with homemade tools!


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