Friday, June 29, 2012

In a continuing series of "It's messy, but

it works" stuff, a while back Dad gave me an old military pick/mattock head
They have a tapered handle; put it in from the top and it wedges into place; rap the bottom of the handle on the ground to break the head loose and it's two pieces that fit in a carry rig
that hangs on a a web belt. Alas, I had no handle. Did a lot of looking, could find the head/handle set but no handles, which meant I'd have to make one. Standard pick handle was way too big. Then I brought home a broken sledge handle and tried it; the swell that would be at the base of the hammer head wedged into the pick eye, but lots of space around it.

So got some suitable epoxy- in this case Loctite as for some reason everybody seemed to be out of JB Weld. First, make sure the inside of the eye is fairly smooth, then give it a good coat of paste wax(Johnson's is what I had around) and let it dry, then repeat; that'll keep the epoxy from sticking to it. Might not be a bad idea to cover the area around the eye as well. Then wedge the head into place on the handle and wrap some tape around the bottom of the eye as a seal. Set it in something that'll hold it vertical.
(Yes, I forgot to take pictures of this as I went; no, I'm not doing it again)

Mix up the epoxy, and soon as it's ready pour it into the eye, all around the handle; fill up the space. Check for leaks, and then let it sit until the epoxy is set firm; you have to wait until it won't sag or run. Then remove the tape or whatever, and rap the bottom of the handle on the floor to jar the head loose; if you waxed it enough it should only take a few raps. That should leave a handle end that looks something like this
Let it set 24 hours, give it plenty of time to cure, and you now have a handle that fits properly
I'll trim the handle to length, and this'll go in the truck with the GI shovel as part of the emergency gear. If I can pick up a carrier, it'll go in that.

Can do this a couple of different ways. Know those sticks of epoxy putty? You can mix up a big hunk of that, form it around the handle end, then put the head on; use a stick to pack the stuff into the eye for a tight fit. Or, I'm thinking you could get some fiberglass cloth, cut it up into small fibers and add that; use a long-cure epoxy so you have enough work time and mix the fibers into it, then pour/pack it in. That ought to be very strong.

1 comment:

Gerry N. said...

If you get something like that stuck together with epoxy, stick it in your freezer. Once it's frozen, give it a couple of good hard whacks with a hammer. It's amazing how easily things come apart after that. Epoz, or as I refer to it, "two part pine pitch" is not magic. I was taught that trick by the late Stan Baker, gunsmith, when I bought a Swede mauser someone had glued into a Fajen stock in about 1963 or 4. He told me to freeze it, then hit it as hard as I could on the receiver ring with a lead mallet. I heard it pop and was able to work the barrelled action out of the stock. After trimming all the over runs and reinstalling the the metalwork, that rifle became one of the most accurate I've ever owned. Much preferred outcome to chipping the wood off the metal.