Thursday , February 22 2018
Home > Lathe Projects > Free Metalworking Project Plans: Soft Faced Hammer (Lathe)

Free Metalworking Project Plans: Soft Faced Hammer (Lathe)


Material: Aluminum
Units: (in)

Having a soft faced hammer (or mallet) in your toolbox is a must. If you need to “adjust” a workpiece without marring it, a hammer like this one is perfect.

Like many plans for the beginner, this plan is for a tool that can be purchased for a lot less than what it will cost you in time to make it. So, you might ask, why make something you can buy?

100_0059“Because by learning how to make things that you can buy, you learn the skills necessary to make things that can’t be bought.”

– Barry Young, Machinist Instructor, Bates Technical College.

In this project you’ll continue to develop your skills on the lathe by learning how to:

  • cut a taper
  • knurl
  • cut threads (also known as “screwcutting”).

mallet-headsA quick note on the faces: You can easily make your own faces from UHMW Plastic, or you can purchase your own. If you decide to purchase your own, buy them before you make the hammer head (in case you need adjust the size of the hammer head or the pitch of the tapped threads to match the purchased faces).

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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.

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  1. Do you have a link to the soft hammer faces? Or, do you have a search term I can google? I would like to purchase some and start working on this project, but my search skills seem to suck.

    Thank you for the project

  2. Hi John,

    MSC has them. Here’s a link to the right page on their online metalworking catalog:

    If for some reason this link ever changes (which it might since they update their catalog regularly) I would try going to MSC directly and typing “Soft Faced Hammer 1-1/2” into the searchbox. Here’s a link to the page that I pulled up using those search terms:

    For this project you’ll need the 1-1/2″ faces, but you can choose the hardness to fit your needs (different colored faces denote different levels of hardness). Be sure to order the faces first and adjust any of the measurements to match the face shape and/or thread size.

    I didn’t want to pay $8-12+ for the faces because I had free scrap pieces of UHMW plastic available (the hard food-grade type that you find in cutting boards). UHMW (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) can be purchased from a local or online plastic supplier. However, this route would only save you money if you already had the scrap laying around, otherwise you’ll probably pay more for UHMW than for the replacement faces themselves. Plus you’d get a broader range of hardness with the real faces (the black and white UHMW I used are nearly identical in hardness – just a different color).

    But again, I had free scrap .. .

    I used two cylindrical pieces (one white and the other black) and cut the faces out of that. Then I drilled and tapped them for the threaded portion. You could buy threaded rod (also known as all-thread or ready rod) from a local hardware store, or you can find a suitable sacrificial bolt and cut the head of the bolt off (which is what I did). It’s a good idea to have a nut or die handy to fix any threads that might have bent during the cutting process.

    Best of luck with your hammer. If you have any other questions let me know. When you’re finished, upload some pictures, I’d like to see it!


  3. Do you have a video on the, ‘Metalworking Project Plans: Soft Faced Hammer”?

  4. Unfortunately I don’t have a video of the hammer. I’ve thought about putting one together, but I just haven’t had a chance yet. Is there a step that you’re stuck on?

  5. what is your reco re: mind of Al to use? Plain old 6061?

  6. Sure, 6061 or whatever you have. It’s not critical. I used scrap pieces so I’m not even sure what grade my hammer is made out of.

    To leave a comment join the forum discussion on this post