The Thrower's Page
Make short hammer wires
out of broken hammer wires.
Tony Dziepak, August 2001
This article tells you how to make useful short hammer wires out of broken hammer wires. Instead of throwing out those old broken hammer wires, make it into a useful fall training tool. I have done this throughout college and after college, and I never had a short wire slip or fail on me.
The short hammer, with a length of about 3', is a good transition implement between the full-length hammer and the weight throw. It is most useful to integrate in volume and technique training in the fall, but also for early spring outdoor preseason training.
Men should train with light and heavy full-length hammers, but no heavier than 9K or 20 pounds. Men can also train with light and heavy weights 30, 35, and 40 pounds. The range of weight for the short hammer should be between these ranges, such as 9K, #20, 10K, #25, and 12.5K.
Another useful tool is a long-chain weight, about 2' in overall length. It slows the weight down and forces the athlete to throw the weight smoother, with less jerky motion. For men, use #25, #30, and #35 long weights.
First, collect a bunch of broken hammer wires instead of throwing them out. The wires typically break at the start of the twisted part, leaving a short piece and a long piece. The short piece can be used as a keychain, although it is fairly long. You might want to shorten the chain by cutting it down to 10cm (4") length with a hacksaw or Dremel tool. File the rough edge down. In an emergency, the keychain can be used to poke at attacker's vulnerable spots.
The long piece will become the new short wire. First file the broken end down so that it is smooth. Then bend over about 25 cm (10").
Put the bent over part plus the middle part side by side in a vice clamp. You want to clamp down on about one inch of both wires. Before you clamp with a metal clamp, wrap the wire together at the ends with an old bicycle rubber tube and clamp right through the tube. The vice teeth will dig into the tube, but will not weaken the wire. The rubber tube is tacky enough to keep the wire from slipping when twisting. Alternatively, use some old rubber stretch ribbons.
Put a broom handle through the loop and twist under tension. That is, pull away from the vice with about 20-40 pounds as you twist.
Hints: you are not going to get as tight of a twist as the factory-twisted side. Even if it looks loose, if you have at least 10 half-loops (count the number of wires crossing on one side), that is plenty to keep the wire from slipping.
Because your side will not be as tight as the factory side, you need more overlap. You need one inch at the end to clamp. This part will not be twisted. The vice clamp must be affixed to a heavy work bench or a bench that is bolted to the floor.
It helps to pull to place tension on the wires while twisting, but don't pull too much that you pull the wires out of the vice. Also do not overclamp that the vice teeth dig into the wire, which will weaken the wire. Hold the broom handle within six inches of the wire or you may break the broom handle. Alternatively, use a short 1" bar like a dumbbell bar.
The short wire should be used with regulation to heavy hammers (men: #16, #18, #20, 8K, 10K; women: 4K, 5K, 6K, #10, #12, #14) primarily in the fall. It is good training for hammer and weight events.