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Restoring Miscellaneous Tools and Shop Appliances

  Non-Slip Hammer Handles by Lames D. Thompson  

I recently found a nice claw hammer with a wooden handle.  But the handle was grubby and had paint splatters on it, and I like nice handles.

When I was serving my apprenticeship as a Millwright back in then 1950’s some Millwrights had a habit of putting a good looking non-slip grip on their hammer handles.  The reason for this was that we usually worked with greasy hands on machinery, and a non-slip hammer handle was very practical.  I have always liked this grip on a wooden hammer handle, and I just did one and took pictures of the process.

Here is the handle before any work was done. Never mind about the hammer head. I will get to that. :>)


First operation is to clean the handle.

I use a cabinet scraper to remove all the old finish and crud. When it is clean I mark a straight line on 8 locations around the handle.

Next I mark alternate locations on these lines that are one inch apart, with alternate lines staggered.

Now it is time for the magic. I use a small center drill to make the shallow holes. The center drill looks good, and if you drill deep enough all the holes will be the same size. That is important to the final appearance.

When the drilling is done, I sand the handle and wax it. I don’t like any film finish on my wooden hammer handles.

Next is a picture of a few of my old handles.

The hammer on the bottom was too nasty to clean up just by scraping so I burned it black with a propane torch and then used steel wool to clean the charred surface. Then I waxed it.  I prefer the natural color, but some folks like the darker handle.

August, 2007

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