Saturday, October 22, 2016

Harley's Hammer: How to make a huge hammer in less than half a day

Here is a how to guide on how I made this pretty awesome hammer. What it lacks in novice build work it makes up for in sheer size. It was incredibly light and easy to carry around the whole day at a con. I build this over 2 days but combined only took about 8 hours of actual build time to make. You could easily make this in a day if you had the whole day to do it. I finished it at 2:00am the day before I wanted to use it. Luckily the paint dried.

The biggest wooden dowel rod I could find at Home Depot
The biggest concrete tube I could find at Home Depot
Floor Mat foam (L200) from amazon
Hot Glue (No like a whole bag of it)
Contact Adhesive DAP brand
A weird little plumbing piece to hold the dowel rod and concrete tube together
hole saw
drywall saw
wood burning kit
wood pattern printed from online
exact o knife
spray paint primer
brown spray paint in 2 shades
brown and black acrylic paint in 4 shades
paint brushes
foam brushes
craft foam
googly eyes
heat gun
zip ties
some belts to hold things together because I ran out of everything else

I don't have step by step pictures but some in progress pics.

I started by deciding how big I wanted the hammer to be. I cut the cement tube exactly in half with a drywall saw. This stuff was surprisingly hard to cut and needed a serrated blade. I then used a hole saw the same size as my dowel rod and cut 2 holes directly in the middle of the cement tube. I made sure the one on top was larger to accommodate the plumbing part I used to hold the dowel rod to the cement tube. The fit wasn't perfect so I used a shit ton of hot glue to make up the difference. I also hot glued the plumbing part to the tube, and the wood dowel rod to the bottom portion. This makes my hammer one piece that won't be able to disassemble. That is as far as I got on day 1. Here is the picture of it at this point. This only took about an hour and a half.

The next part was to attach the L200 floor mat foam to the cement tube. I had to use a bunch of sheets because I bought floor tiles because they were cheap. They are 1/2" thickness. I measured out what I needed and glued them all together in one big sheet. I also cut circles for the ends I made sure to cut my holes for the dowel rod to fit through. Next step I used a wood burner to burn a wood grain pattern into the foam. I thought my pattern turned out awesome for never having done it before. This is one aspect of the hammer I was really happy with. 

Now I needed to glue these sheets to the actual hammer. I used a ton of contact cement. I ended up buying it in a pint sized can and using a disposable paint brush to apply it. It just took way too long to use the little bottles they sell at most hardware stores. I did get overzealous and apply it way too thick because it took forever to dry and because I was in a rush I applied it to the cement tube too soon. I used stretchy belts and zip ties to hold it all together for about 2 hours to dry. I did all this in my garage and make sure you have adequate ventilation. Contact cement stinks. This is an aspect of the project I feel could have gone better. I wasn't happy with my seams. If I do this again, I will buy a large sheet of foam to minimize the seam lines. 

After it dried I had to use some hot glue to keep it from moving. I made a hot glue ring around the outsides of the circles to make sure they were adequately attached. The whole hammer is hollow so I was afraid of it being delicate. I added craft foam to make the bands around the hammer. The googly eyes are the rivets on the bands. After you paint you would never know what they are. 

Now was time to prime and paint! I painted every 20 - 30 minutes to keep the process moving. I started painting by about 9 pm. I applied 1 coat of primer, 2 coats of brown, and a 3rd coat of a different brown in a splotchy pattern. I wanted it to look like real wood so I switched to acrylic paint after this and applied 4 different browns and black in alternating patterns mimicking the organic lines of the woodgrain. I just kind of had at it. I threw paint all over the thing. I am surprised how good it looks and accurate to real wood. I am not a painter by any means so I have no techniques to give you advice on this part. I then used black to paint the bands and dry brushed black along the bands to make the wood look worn in those areas. This took until about 2 am. I let it dry over night and it was dry by 9 am the next day. It still stunk like paint but otherwise looked great. 

Here is the finished piece with my costume!

For my first prop I made with foam I am pretty happy with it. Again, always room for improvement but not bad for a first attempt. The things I liked the most were the wood grain and paint. The things I like the least are how bad my seams are in areas. This was a really light prop and really stood out at the con because of it's size. Overall I give myself an 8/10. Let me know your thoughts! I will answer any questions you have relating to this build to the best of my abilities. 

- Basic B

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