Bushcraft Beatle

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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I built a bushcraft beetle from a fallen branch.
A beetle is generally a large headed hammer used to drive wood or other "soft" materials

This branch was on the side of the road, and still attached to a heavy section of trunk, so I know it would be securely held by its own weight while I worked on it:
20200216_150407.jpg


I used my homemade auger to drill a hole for the handle. The fact the branch was still attached meant it was securely held and I could drill it without needing to brace it.
I know from experiance that its very difficuly to auger a hole in a section of wood if its not securely held
20200216_150924.jpg

Drilled through, fairly quick and easy ... well it took some effort, but not a problem !
Once drilled I sawed out the section of branch that I wanted for the head
20200216_152351.jpg

I cut a smaller branch to use as a handle and drove it through the hole .... that was quite difficult and I uttered a few words while bashing the head (of the hammer)
with a lump of offcut wood ... both of which which seemed to help
20200216_160102.jpg

I realised when I had the handle about half way through that I should have cut a taper around the top of the handle before starting to insert it.
A small taper would have helped guide the handle through the hole, rather than leaving it "squared off" so it caught each imperfection on the side of the auger hole.

But I finally got the handle inserted.
Its quite a beast ..... Ready to hammer !
20200216_160119.jpg
 

Le Loup

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Well done Aussie, good job. You may want to think about adding some reinforcing bands around the beetle head to stop it from splitting.
Keith.
 

Randall

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As Keith says, and apparently if you bevel the edges of the impact surfaces that will help prevent splitting too. It looks very good.
 

Aussie123

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Thanks for the suggestions.
I was thinking about beveling the faces, but I like the idea of bands ... I might have to think about how to do that....
I guess blacksmithed bands heated and cooled into place would be the "proper" way to do it ... might be a bit tricky for me, but I like the idea
 

Askew

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You could always try using big thick cable ties for bands. Or a hose clamp if you can find one big enough. Neither will look great but should work.
The other thing that will affect how long it lasts is what you hit with it. I had a wooden mallet that cracked after a few years of hammering in tent pegs for a pavilion, which may not have been the best use for it.
 

Mozzie

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you could always bevel one side and maybe add a cupped face plate to the other side for the more hard gritty hitting ;)
 

Aussie123

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You could always try using big thick cable ties for bands. Or a hose clamp if you can find one big enough. Neither will look great but should work.
The other thing that will affect how long it lasts is what you hit with it. I had a wooden mallet that cracked after a few years of hammering in tent pegs for a pavilion, which may not have been the best use for it.
To be hosest I don't expect it to be a family heirloom ... if it lasts a season or 2 I'll be happy.
When it breaks, I'll make another ! ... but it would be a bit annoying to break mid-swing.

By making and breaking things like this I find I start to learn what works and what doesn't. Destruction test by usage .... ?
 

Thrud

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Noob question....is there any need to fire harden the hammer?
 

Randall

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I got the bevelling idea from wooden tent pegs; you're supposed to bevel the edges so they don't split when you whack them. Re fire hardening - the wood looks like it's still green. That would also effect the heated steel band idea.
 

PackJacket

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Not really a primitive/traditional method, but there was a YouTuber (Advoko makes) that wrapped his hammer in recycled plastic bottle.

He would spiralise the bottle into either flat shoelace type strips, wrap them around whatever he was working on, the 'shrink-wrap' it with a bit of heat.
Plastic was tough and didn't decay, and may be more better than sending it to landfill.

Just after 2:16 on the following vid:
 

Aussie123

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Noob question....is there any need to fire harden the hammer?
The wood is relatively green and its quite thick. I suspect that fire hardening may cause splitting / cracking because its difficult to control the heat.
But conceptually "KD" kiln dried timbers are the most hard and stable, so there is merit in the idea.

For smaller tools (eg spears), fire hardening works well
 
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