View Full Version : firewood slapper

roger n cindy
01-18-2005, 11:18 PM
walnut firewood salvaged from our woodpile :D
we ran it through the planer to give us a couple of flat sides, this could have been done on the table or band saw
uncle johnny copied some patterns at mm04 and we picked out one that fit our stock
this shape could be done on the bandsaw but my blade wasn't up to the task :x so i roughed it in on the table saw
the woodrasp and belt sander brought it down to this stage, an oscillating drum sander would also work well, mine however met with a bad accident and is in sickbay # :oops:
we filled a thumb notch on top of the handle and oiled her up with some olive oil :roll:
horsehide glued on and ready to work
guess as we burn the fireplace we'll have to pull some more stock out and then mabe we'll have something for the homemade swap table at mm05. :?:

roger n cindy
01-18-2005, 11:45 PM
two postings tonight :idea: , firewood slapper and louver press, have kept me up well past my bed time but it's a good feeling to have finally gotten to post pictures and text on my own :D . well i did have a little help from reading the tutorials written in the past by the moderators :wink: thank to all who have taken there time to put together such a wonderful site, you did good.

01-19-2005, 01:21 AM

The firewood slapper looks nice!

For those who don't know, just about any wood can be used for slappers.........................but the harder woods will last much longer! I recently made some from poplar that was originally a, well, uh, a tree, duh :roll: . After serving it's role as a tree it became a pallet for a 50hp Ingersoll air compressor my employer bought for backup duty.

I ended up gluing 2 layers of the 1 1/8" thick boards together and clamped them in the shop press at about 5 tons (10 tons made them a bit thinner :oops: ). Trued up the resulting blanks on the table saw and used my little $10 7" throat Black & Decker benchtop bandsaw to cut them out. Rough sanding with a 4x21 belt sander and finishing off with 120 grit in the random orbit had 'em looking nice. A bit of oil, and a leather face finished 'em off. Might even have to take some pics :lol: .

Personally, I would not recommend poplar for slappers - it is rather easily damaged, but it does work. Walnut, oak, birch (or is it beech?) and maple are much better choices and pretty common as pallets or firewood. The harder woods aren't harder to work with either - maybe even a bit easier cuz they don't get damaged during normal working like some softwoods :shock: .

Nice work Roger and it shows, you never know where you'll find your next tool!

Tim D.

01-19-2005, 04:08 AM
That is a beautiful slapper.

Quarter sawn walnut too.

Life in the plastic universe sometimes lets us forget about grain.

Check out how roger has laid out the tool so that a continuous section of woodgrain runs through the whole tool.


putting the tree rings parallel to the slapping face should make it more springy and resilient too.

When you buy hammer handles nowdays they are made on automated machines that grab the blank and cut what you get.

If you are carving your own, handles with the ring lines parallel to the swing (perpendicular to the face) are good for driving hammers where you want it stiff.
Handles for slappers and tappers and forming where you are swinging a lot of repetitive blows are best cut the other way, with the rings parallel to the face. It makes the handle springier and takes up part of the shock on you hand. It also aids in the rebound of the hammer so you aren't lifting it.

Most handles you buy aren't cut from quartersawn blanks like Rogers, chances are the grain is at some weird angle. It makes the most difference in a slender handle. The grain at an odd angle may make the hammer rebound funny adding rotational torque so you have to fight it for control.
(not much of a fight I'll admit, and one you may not even notice unless you are using the hammer a lot. )


01-19-2005, 05:20 AM
Hi Guys
Great job Roger a true craftsmen. Were do you seem to find all the neat stuff. :lol: :lol:


01-19-2005, 05:51 AM
hay phil

did you see we used horse hide instead of cow. :P

01-19-2005, 01:42 PM

Good point about the hammer handles! I never really thought of it that way. I just end up picking through the pile looking for the best grain patterns, and I would guess that has more to do with my woodworking hobby than actually thinking about how it was cut - it's just about the way the grain looks. I'll have to look a bit deeper next time I'm shopping for handles! I tend to avoid handles with twisted grain or grain running at anything other than a 90 degree angle - either parallel or perpendicular to the face - just because anything else "looks" odd to me.

Also a good point on grain direction in slappers! I generally keep the grain perpendicular to the face for strength, never considered the "comfort factor" of having the grain parallel to the face. As was pointed out, if using the grain parallel to the face, there needs to be a section of grain running all the way through the piece. If not, you end up taking the load on "short grain" and it could split along the short grain. Having the grain running the length of the piece eliminates that!

See, who says you have to spend a lot of money on quality tools?

Tim D.

01-20-2005, 01:23 PM
Very nice job on the slapper, guys. A quick come backs alludes me Uncle Johnny, been sick for the last week. You going to make it to Randy's with Roger?


butch foster
01-20-2005, 07:13 PM
Roger - Beautiful piece of work and walnut no less.

Gene - Good catch and commentary on the benefits of quarter sawn stock and thinking about grain patterns when making a tool. I flew right by the first pic without picking up on it.

roger n cindy
01-20-2005, 08:40 PM
timD , gene , steve, phil and butch - did i miss anyone? thanks for the kind words.
timD , guess i'll have to dig the lathe out and turn some hammers like yours, we have some hedge in the firewood pile :)
gene, i don't usually get to use quarter sawn, too much waste and to expensive but quarter sawn is natural in firewood and hay it was going to be burned. :shock:
steve thanks, this was wrays idea - he said in one of his recent post to go to the firewood pile and look for a hammer, guess i took it to literally ! :roll:
phil, glad your feeling better. uncle johnny will probably have to work again saturday, boy is he bumming :cry:
butch, walnut yes. we had three trees cut this year and given to us to haul off, it's been breaking my heart every time we split a piece and just stack it in the burn pile. think i'll rat hole a little ! :?

01-21-2005, 01:57 AM
Not as pretty as Roger's, but here's a couple of slappers I recently made from a poplar wood pallet.

The patterns were from Dan Shady's profiles posted by (I think) Dutch Comstock.


Had to make some changes to this one, and haven't bothered with refinishing it yet :roll: .

And here's a shot of the damage from catching an edge with an unprotected slapper - seems a leather face doesn't just protect the metal :shock: :

Simple tools made with simple means by a simple mind?

Tim D.