At the end of November, 2016, I received an email from a chap who was on the perennial hunt for a unique Christmas present for his girlfriend. He had stumbled across my site and seen the miniature Coveleski hammer I made from the graphic novel I Kill Giants, and as his girlfriend had sadly lost both her parents and really related to the story (if you haven't read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough...it will hit you hard) he thought that a Coveleski would be an ideal present. He asked if I could possibly make a smaller, wearable version of the hammer for him to give to her, and as I am easily moved by sweet gestures such as that, I could hardly say no!
The only possible problems with that were time and distance. December is my busiest time of year at work, and I get very little time at home due to pantomime taking up all the days of the week. On top of that, this chap and his girlfriend lived in the outskirts of Chicago, meaning I would need to make it with enough time to ship it to the USA in time for christmas. A tall order, but I do like a challenge!
So, I said yes. I worked out that the smallest I could really make it using the techniques I knew was about 4" long...any smaller and the proportionately thinner shaft would be too thin to hold its shape when being worn as a necklace. I drew the hammer to that scale and took all my other measurements from that drawing, and set about building it. Unlike the Coveleski I did previously, the head of this one was machined from solid brass, something I had been unable to do before. However, I had been lent a small rotary table by a friend, and I own a milling machine these days, so it was a relatively simple thing to turn the back of the head on the lathe, then transfer it to the rotary table on the mill to square off the edges of the face. I was also able to use the mill to cut the slots around the back of the face, rather than having that as a separate collar ring, making the whole thing a lot more robust.
Having machined the basic shape of the hammer head, I used a Dremel with a sharp etching point to 'draw' on the details such as panel lines, screws and runes. I then put it back in the rotary table chuck one last time and used a ball cutter on the mill to cut the big rune on the hammer face. After that, a bit of careful filing, some wire wool and some brasso, it came up rather nicely! I cross-drilled the head to accept the shaft, which was also made of brass rod, and silver soldered that in place before bending and filing the shaft to shape. It was particularly important that there be no sharp points on this, as a necklace you can impale yourself on is not a great present...
With the head attached to the shaft, I next needed to tackle the chain. In the drawings and on my first Coveleski, there is a chain wrapped around the point where the hammer head joins the shaft, with a few dangling links wrapped around the shaft. I decided to combine this with the chain needed to turn this into a necklace, and located a supplier of miniature brass chain with actual welded links, so as well as each link being about 2mm long, it was pretty strong too! I fastened the end to the hammer, and wrapped it around until I got the look I was after, then soaked in some loctite to hold the whole thing in place. The hammer, now complete, looked like this:
I was pleased with how it turned out, but I now needed to figure out how to get it safely to the states. I didn't want to simply wrap it up in bubblewrap...that didn't seem right, and the poor chap at the other end would then need to find a suitable presentation box for it. Also, I would be mortified if it didn't survive the trip completely unscathed! So, I decided to make a presentation box for it. Time was running out before I would have to post it, so I did a bit of rooting around in my wood store and found a couple of very pretty bits of hardwood that I thought would make a nice box, and traced the outline of the hammer onto them. I put a router bit in my milling machine, held the wood in the machine vice, and carefully milled out the profile of the hammer until I had a suitable recess in each piece. I lined the two pieces up, fastened on a couple of small brass hinges, and tidied up the edges with sandpaper until I was left with this:
Finally, as I had a day left before my postal deadline, I decided to do a bit of decorative carving on the lid. The original hammer I made was presented in a replica heart bag embroidered with the logo from the graphic novel, and I thought it might be nice to put that logo on the front of this case too. I left the surface of the case pretty rough (I thought it looked more 'nordic' that way) and carefully carved out the pattern, which ended up looking like this:
...and that was it! Done! This is the final piece from a variety of angles:
I got it in the post in plenty of time, and I was relieved to hear that it had made it to Chicago before the Big Day. The ladyfriend of the chap in question apparently loved it so much she started crying, so that is a good result in my books!