Author Topic: shell hammer/ax  (Read 2855 times)

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Offline swamp monkey

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shell hammer/ax
« on: August 17, 2014, 06:52:29 pm »
I recently took a trip to Sanibel island, and Key Marco.  I brought back some lightning whelk shells.  My first tool project was to make a shell hammer.  Based on the blade, I call it an ax.  I am still learning about these shell tools, so calling it a hammer seems kind of goofy for what it really seems to do. 

Shell:  Busycon perversum
Handle:  Osage orange
Wrap: rawhide

Once it is good and dry I will find a tree to chop and see how it does. 

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 06:53:44 pm »
shell and handle assembled.

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2014, 06:55:54 pm »
Wrapped with wet rawhide ready to dry. 

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2014, 03:30:15 pm »
I cut some limbs off a redbud today.  It worked!   Now I need a Celt, adze, and a scraper for a project . . .  ;)

Offline jamesbarbara

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 02:10:25 am »
How did you drilled the shell ?

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 06:00:55 am »
I started with flint chips and sand on the first one.  I then tried a flint drill.  An hour into it and my fingers ached from pressing so hard.  I was about to run out of daylight so I finished with a dremel and diamond tipped bits.  Not exactly oogga booga , but it will be used in that spirit.  I have every intention of using this cutter to do some woodworking.   I have two special projects in mind.  I am crafting some other shell tools to go along with this. 


Offline Parnell

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2014, 11:37:09 am »
I bet a sharpened gator tooth could make a hell of a drill bit.  That enamel would be real tough.
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Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2016, 07:52:32 am »
Parnell, I may have to try that. 

Offline mullet

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2016, 08:40:54 pm »
I honestly think you mounted the shell on the wrong end of the handle. I think it should have been mounted like a 'Hawk with the head always travelening up the tapered shaft. Especially for heavy hitting.

Also, I think a hammer is more likely as the soft shell wouldn't hold up to very much cutting. The Calusas diet was mostly shell fish and I think they were more then likely used for hammering oyster shells off of the beds at low tide, since that was their main diet and the source of the debris that built their  mounds.
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Offline swamp monkey

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 12:09:11 pm »
I agree about the handle thickness/direction.  If I make another or this one comes off I will see about that.  However, I have not had any problems so far.  I have cut branches at demos and the rawhide is holding. 

You mentioned shell being fragile.  I don't want to assume what you mean.  Are you saying these type of tools might not be used as a pecking hammer or as an ax?  I am going off of what the experts say.  I haven't used it for shell bashing or pecking.  I can say from experience the ax part works.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 07:03:54 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline mullet

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 12:42:13 pm »
I think they might have been used scraping or an adz in canoe construction but not for real heavy pounding. You see a lot of broken ones in old mounds and debris piles.
Lakeland, Florida
 If you have to pull the trigger, is it really archery?

Offline Ryan Jacob

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Re: shell hammer/ax
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 04:20:35 pm »
This is pretty cool. From what I remember, my uncle had a shell adze. The handle was an L shaped branch with a slot on top. The shell was, a thick, marine seashell that was glued and bound on.