2019 Scholarship Winner

Travers Tool is very proud to announce the winner of our 2019 scholarship contest, Alana Werzyn from Norfolk Senior High in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Project Overview

Project: Making a Hammer Head from a Metal Block

I started this project on September 9th, 2019. I found this scholarship shortly before and thought the project would be perfect. Since I am not very strong, I decided I would make the head 5 inches in length, with a height and width of 2 inches. I am proud of how well this hammer turned out, considering this is the first hammer I’ve ever made. This project really helped me practice my skills for being a machinist and, I think, that is what’s important. I learned new things and made mistakes that will only help me get better.

Project Description

I luckily found a long piece of square stock in a closet in the shop.

  1. Used a straightedge to draw lines on the square stock.
  2. Cut in at 1.75 inches in length and cut the .25 inch width of it.
  3. Position the piece on the mill to painstakingly cut the corners
  4. With the purchase of a wooden handle, mark the center of the hammer where the handle would be placed.
  5. Carve out and shaped the hole using the drill press to receive the wooden handle.
  6. Sand down the wooden handle on the belt sander for best fit.
  7. Hammer wooden wedges into the handle
  8. Hammer metal wedges into the top of the handle.
  9. Add initials using letter tools.


Personal Essay

My name is Alana Werzyn and I am 17 years old. I am a senior at Norfolk Senior High in Norfolk, Nebraska. Currently, I take part in the Metals Career Academy at my high school. I have also been accepted and will attend Southeast Community College in Milford, NE in the program of Precision Machining and Automation Technology in the fall of 2020. This program will prepare me for a career as a machinist. My interest in metal working really took off when I heard about a Metals I class at my high school during my freshman year. I really like working on the mills and lathes… I worked in the shop every day and learned so much in just one semester. My sophomore year, I took Metals II and I learned much more about all the machines in the shop.

My Metals teacher’s name is Mr. Arnold, but his students just call him Arnold. As you can guess, he was a big influence on me. Whatever you needed in class; he would help you. He encouraged me to learn what I wanted in the shop. He would always remain patient when I would ask him for help so many times in just one class period. I think he was just happy to see me wanting to learn. Despite Arnold being a good teacher, my dad was my biggest influence when it came to tools and metalworking. He worked at a couple of plants around Norfolk throughout my life as a maintenance employee and was later the maintenance manager at an ethanol plant in town. He always came home from work with dirty hands and plenty of stories to tell. He would try his best to describe to me the complexity of the machines that he would have to figure out how to fix. I learned that he was a certified tig welder and mostly welded pipes. He would take me to his shop at work and I would see the welders and machines they would use to fix things around the plant. He was the guy they called in the middle of the night when things would break. He would often be gone for hours when he was called in, especially in the winter months. I was not only influenced by his maintenance job, but also the hard work he put into his job. He made me want to work hard and put pride in the work I do. I am thankful for the great influencers I had in my life and I owe everything to them.