Building Mjolnir

Thor has always been one of my favorite super heros in the MCU.. my dad's too from when he was a kid. Besides clearly being the mightiest Avenger, I think he has one of the best character arcs in the films.. and let's be real, a lightning god with a mythical hammer forged from a neutron star? That's just bad ass. My son is still too young to see the movies, but with everything being locked down the past few months due to the 'rona, my son and I have been playing a ridiculous amount of the LEGO Super Heros / Avengers games on the Xbox, including playing as Thor. So I had Thor on the brain ha. Anyways I was cleaning up my basement workshop last Saturday when a can of silver metallic spray paint next to some scrap wood happened to catch my attention. I stared at it for a second as my brain put the two together.. Boom. "I should try and build Mjolnir" I thought to myself and after that, I couldn't unsee it. I thought it might make for a fun prop toy my boy could pretend  play with, so I got up Sunday morning and went at it. 

The Assembly

I really had no plan in mind besides the basic shape and the silver paint. So I was just winging it. To start, I took one of the 2x4's and cut it down into three 8" blocks. I screwed what would become the two top layers together with a smattering of glue between them. (I wanted this thing solid, so I used both throughout).  Then I took two leftover pieces of 3/4" pine and glued them together. Once dry, I cut that down to make the handle ~ 1.5"x1.5" and about 12" long.  Yup, that kinda makes a hammer shape. Off to a good start.

I originally figured I would just screw the handle onto the base hammer, but again I really wanted this thing solid so I decided to use the drill press to carve out plug I could insert the handle into for more stability. I drilled about halfway through, clearing out as much of the area as I could, then chiseled out the rest of the corners with a screw driver. Again I originally figured I would just use a belt sander to shoddily round the edges of the handle and hammer, but then remembered the router I hadnt used in years. YES!! Oh man that's what really sealed the deal on this turning out cool. So I was able to then use a rounded bit to get a nice smooth finish on the handle (leaving some square at the to to fit the hole I carved out). I filled the hole with glue and tapped the handle in.. perfect fit! I drilled a hole down the middle from the top and screwed them together as well. Another round of glue between the base layer and two top layers, with two screws in from the bottom to secure those as well. Now for the hammer itself.. Oh yeah, router again! I remembered seeing a 45* bit in the drawer so I swapped it in to get that awesome angular edging on the head of the hammer (I wish I had a bit larger bit to use for that, for a little more edge, but hey I'll take it). It's really coming together now, I can see it!

The Finnishing

The edges of the 2x4's were slightly rounded so I just used some hole patch putty to fill in the seams.  I also covered the screw holes and the base of the handle. I then used a little electric hand sander with 80 grit to smooth it all out. If I wanted to be more serious about it I would have done another layer of putty and put a lot more time into the sanding (finer grades etc). But this was smooth enough for me, and I really wanted to show my son a preview before bedtime! 

On to the painting! I decided to do a base coat with some gloss black I had leftover from building a pac-man arcade for my son for Christmas. I figured this would help cover up the putty and wood tone more easily, and provide some backup aesthetic if the silver got scraped up. I also knew I wanted to wrap the handle with something rather than leave it wood, so I painted that too for continuity. Once the base coat was dry I took it out back and sprayed on the silver. Looking better and better! You can still see some of the texture and seams of the blocks, but again this is just for fun. So two more coats and I think that'll do it!

Now what the hell to do with the handle? All day I had been searching around the house for something that would work.. some kind of leather strapping would be ideal, even cloth. I decided on this piece of knit cloth ribbon I had in a bin. It wasnt ideal but it would work. It was a light beige however so I tried to dye it with food coloring to get it darker. That didnt really plan out though and I just wasnt really satisfied with the look. So I did on last search and bag of old backdrops I found this suede ish shower curtain. I knew this was the best I was going to get to so I started cutting. Once I had a nice strip I wrapped it around the handle and added some tape to get a final impression. Ok yeah, that feels right. Now I am really starting to get excited about it ha. By this time it's about 8pm, so I gave my son a sneak peak before bed and boy was he pumped. He thought it was super cool.. especially since my wife couldnt lift it, and I barely could.. but he could easily since he has the power of THOR! ;)

Ok so I cant just leave the handle duct-taped.. So what the hell can I use to finish it off? Well I decided to use the door knob hole punch bit to get a round piece I could screw onto the bottom. The first time I tried to go in from both sides but it ended up uneven so I cut out another. Unfortunately the second time I went a little too far and went all the way through, getting the plug stuck in the bit. Ugh. That was a frustrating 15min trying to tap that out.. But I got it out, nice and round, and gave the edges a quick sand. I used the last little bit of silver left in the can, just enough to finish it off. I then found another piece of thick fabric to cut down for the strap (I used a hole punch on it to get the screw through), and this perfect gold cap thing (even already had the right size hole in the top) to bring it all together. 

I drilled a guide hole in the bottom of the handle and screwed the end cap on. I wrapped the handle back up and secured it at the bottom with a staple gun (I used a black sharpie to color over and hide the staples a bit better). Almost complete, now just to add the final details... I used some other darker bronze metallic paint and a sponge to brush some texture onto it so it looks more battle-worn. I wanted to have the iconic norse/celtic knot design on it, but no room for error at this point so I used a small paintbrush to freehand a simple double helix type design. Close enough for me.. And it's done! Holy crap it turned out awesome! Ok it's after midnight at this point so time to finally get to bed. Cant wait to unveil it in the morning!

The Outcome

The next morning we had some storms rolling in so when I revealed the final product I thought it would be cool to go out for an impromptu photoshoot. We had the red cape from a previous costume, and I quickly cut out some dots from black construction paper for a low budget Thor costume. He already had the grey tank on so that was perfect. Luckily I was able to get a few good shots to work with before he was done and ready to go play with it.

I really didnt expect it to come out as cool as it did. It's good and solid with some nice weight to it, but isn't too heavy to be unwieldly (my 4yr old can still lift it). And not gonna lie, I feel pretty bad-ass holding it, so I can see why Thor likes it so much ha. As for my son, well I think he feels pretty bad-ass holding it too because he's been carrying it all around the house playing with it ever since. He has the special Thor Power now!

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