Sunday, February 27, 2011

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That's MY Hammer

Two years ago, I wrote about wanting a bung starter, the wooden mallet Paul M. Angle called "the barkeeper's favorite weapon." Several people emailed or commented on the post with suggestions of where to get a big ass ice crushing mallet.

My father just cut to the chase and made one.

A US quarter placed for perspective
In his basement workshop, he cut and sanded down a massive wooden mallet then mailed it to me to assemble. The hammer's head measures 4" high and is a whopping 6" square. A 1" square hole in the center accommodates the handle that's held in place by a wooden crosspin.

It was one of the best gifts I could have gotten.

The idea with a maul of this size is to fill a canvas bag — called a Lewis bag — with ice and smack it with the hammer to crush the ice within. I actually blew out the seams of the first Lewis bag I used it on until I learned not to put my all into it. The ice can be merely cracked into several pieces or pounded into snow-like consistency, depending on how hard and how much it's smacked.

I'm back in business with new Lewis bags. Although it's not the only option we have around the house for crushing ice, gripping the handle of that enormous maul and bringing its head down on a bag of ice remains my favorite.

Thanks, Dad.


Anonymous said...

Neat story about maul gift from your dad and crushing ice in Lewis bags. Some of the old methods just work best. Thanks for sharing!

Chuck T. said...

And as Dave Wondrich says, you must pound that Lewis bag as if your boss' Rolex were inside.

Matthew Rowley said...

Sometimes, the old methods DO work best!

Chuck -- I am totally stealing that line, although I might have to tweak it for the frustrations/phobias of whomever it is I'm addressing. Pound it, for instance, as if it were full of snakes, spiders, etc.

madchemist said...

"A 1" square hole in the center accommodates the handle that's held in place by a wooden crosspin."

Could you add a picture of that detail? I'd like to see how your dad designed it and I'm having trouble visualizing it. Thanks.

Matthew Rowley said...

I can certainly get picture of that detail up. Right now, I'm in the office but I should be able to get a photo by the end of the night.

Trid said...

Would it be in bad taste to engrave "Can't touch this" on it?