Hammers

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Hammers

Postby Verduin » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:36 am

Howdy folks :)

Along with my first dulcimer, I made a pair of hammers - oak with walnut. I just weighed them last night, after getting a digital scale to use for another one of my hobbies (aquariums)...they weigh 7 ounces each and are about 8 inches long. Yesterday I had watched a video of Dan Landrum on YouTube, where he showed how to make a hammering practice pad out of a mouse pad - the hammers he had looked huge! Is there a "standard" size for hammers, or is it more of a personal preference as to what is comfortable? I have seen what are termed "apprentice" hammers, as well as several others apparently designed for a person's relative level of experience/ability... :?:
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Re: Hammers

Postby inomini » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:23 pm

I think it comes down to personal preference. I sometimes switch hammers for the type of song I play. Most of the hammers that I use are around 8 an 3/8" long. Lee Spears make hammers that are quite short. I think most HD players are always searching for the perfect hammer.
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Re: Hammers

Postby mrchips » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:31 pm

Hammers are like hammered dulcimers. There is no real standard to them at all. You just try all you can find or make untill you hit on what works best for you... If you are buying some check out this guy. http://hammerdulcimer.homestead.com/bedardhammers.html In my opinion he makes the best to be had.
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Re: Hammers

Postby BillB » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:31 pm

Are you sure you are weighing your hammers correctly. 7 ounces each would total 14 ounces for a pair. There are 16 ounces in a pound. Your hammers would weigh in at nearly 9/10ths of a pound. Wow! Those are some hammers.

Perhaps your scale is set to weigh in grams not ounces. 14 grams for a pair would be about right. I make several hundred pair of hammers in my shop each year. When I label them for sale I include the weight of the pair in grams. They will usually run between 10 grams up to 16 grams depending on the types of wood used for shaft and handles. There is a fraction more than 28 grams in an ounce. So 14 grams for a pair of hammers would be about 1/2 ounce.

The standard for hammers is much like that for the instrument. The best hammers are the ones that work for you. You will find that there is an almost endless variety of styles, shapes, materials, and opinions.

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Re: Hammers

Postby Verduin » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:23 pm

Ye were right - the scale was in grams ;)
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Re: Hammers

Postby Heidi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:51 pm

Don't know what video you watched, but Dan may have been using Wham Diddles or Dusty Strings hammers. Both are quite long and have large heads. They tend to be favored by players of large instruments with wide strings spacing.

Your hammers are within the norm for weight and length. - The "right" hammers will depend on the player and what works for them AND on the instrument they are playing AND the sound they want to achieve.
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Re: Hammers

Postby Verduin » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:40 pm

I suspect "body memory" plays a large role - when one becomes accustomed to playing with a particular set, one's muscles become "trained" to the heft, weight and balance of that set.
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Re: Hammers

Postby harpmaker » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:23 am

On the subject of individual tastes, y'all might get a chuckle out of this:

Several years ago I had a display of hammers at a festival. While his wife stood by patiently one man stood there and tried every single pair slowly narrowing it down to a few. Finally she leaned over and in a not so quiet whisper told him "I don't ever, ever want to hear you complain again when I am buying a pair of shoes!"

I agree with BillB. It is very much a personal thing. I don't make hammers that often but when I do I will set up and make several dozen pairs with maybe half a dozen pairs of each style. Then I make small changes (such as overall length, weight and striking surface) to each pair to allow for individual tastes
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Re: Hammers

Postby hammerman » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:40 pm

I noticed on an old post by Mr. Chips that he had referenced the old website that Brett Ridgeway had let me use. I have had my own web site for a few years now.
It is www.bedardhammers.com Thanks
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