In the Works: the Crucible Warrington Hammer

At top: an aluminum prototype. Middle: a mild steel prototype (no surface finishing). Below: My original.

Small cross-peen hammers are incredibly useful in furniture making. I’ve had one in my chest for almost 20 years.

“Wait,” you might be thinking. “Chris didn’t list this hammer in his recent inventory of his chest.”

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You are correct. That’s because we’ve been reverse-engineering my favorite Warrington to make our own version. It’s now in pieces. Its handle is off to the handle-maker. And the head, which we carefully measured, is now sitting lonesome on my desk.

Americans don’t have much of a history with this form of hammer. It’s a Brit thing, just like the lump hammer we make. I don’t know exactly why that is the case. Warrington’s are quite useful.

This small hammer (with about a 4-ounce head) is ideal for setting and sinking small nails. The cross-peen (sometimes called the cross-pane) starts the nail. You hold the nail between your thumb and forefinger and strike it with the pane. (The pane misses your fingers and hits the nails.) Then you turn the hammer around and finish the job with the hammer’s round face.

The cross-peen is also ideal when setting moulding planes. I use it to knock the plane’s iron against the blind side of the escapement, ensuring the iron is in line with the profile of the plane’s sole.

This photo shows the top and bottom of the prototypes. The logo will be on the underside of the cross-peen.

And a Warrington is an excellent plane-setting hammer. Its weight and size are perfect for making lateral adjustments to block planes or bench planes. (Because I have a Warrington, I’ve never really wanted a dedicated plane-adjusting hammer. There’s no need.)

The Crucible Warrington will be milled out of one block of hardened steel and features a lot of the beautiful chamfering and tapering you don’t see on modern hammers of any type. The handle will be hickory and set into the head with a wooden wedge.

Like all our tools, the hammer will be made and assembled entirely in the United States.

It is going to be a little expensive, like our lump hammer. The hammer head is a tricky bit of machining. Though it requires less steel than our lump hammer, it has to spend a lot more time in the mill. And the handle is a 100-percent custom job (our lump hammer is a stock pattern that we modify).

I think it will be worth it. I absolutely adore these little hammers, and this one is based on one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever encountered. It was given to me by planemaker Wayne Anderson a couple decades ago and I’ve kept it close ever since.

We hope to have these in the store in May. 

— Christopher Schwarz


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