refinishing hammer handle


What would you recommend to refinish a hammer handle?
I have an old ball peen hammer whose owner got it very dirty, with oil even. Although I'm not complaining. He had the hammer for 20 to 50 years, and I got it free after he didn't need it anymore. I cleaned all that off with a wire wheel. I'm thinking just rubbing in some linseed oil would make it nice. What do you think?
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mm wrote:

I'd go with semigloss poylurethane spray.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Are you going to use it or display it? If you want to hang it and have it look pretty, BLO will work just fine, but as you use the hammer it will readily pick up dirt again. If it is a working tool and you want it kept clean, put a coat of polyurethane on it so it will be wiped clean easily.
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061211 1840 - mm posted:

If you're going to use it, then the linseed oil would work quite well. You will still be able to hang on to it when you strike something, as opposed to glazing the handle with polyurethane, or some other such substance. Ask a carpenter house framer what kind of hammer handle he likes best. You'll find that it is one with a rubber handle that he can hang onto, and especially during cold weather.
If you're not going to use it anymore, and are going to display it in a display case, then by all means, make it beautiful, like some of the Estwing hammers I've seen, with the wrapped handles.
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Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax :-)
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Linseed oil would work just fine. I put some on my shovel handle many years ago and need to reapply some every few years, but other than that the handle feels as soft as can be. Urethane chips when you swing & miss. ;-)
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mm wrote:

Your first error was to run a wire wheel across the wood. You should have simply cleaned it by spraying Easy-off on the handle, wiping off the goo, and washing in water. (might have taken 2 time). When dry you should just sand the clean wood.
Many handles of that era and earlier were never finished (raw wood). Whatever you use, you want the finish to remain hard under all conditions (high moisture, high heat, hand sweat). Linseed oil doesn't sound like a good choice.
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mm wrote:

It would be my opinion that linseed oil would be the thing as it is recommended for wood more than anything else usually.. If you want to spend the time you can give it a "French finis" with that. Takes a lot of rubbing though. But no other finish will equal it.
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I had in mind to spend about 5 minutes on this.
That's one of the things I like about linseed oil.
I really didnt' expect such diverse answers. Thank you all.
I can't buy a aerosol can of polyurethane for just one handle, but I have a can of glossy and a can of matte. I noticed when I had a polyurethane coating on my floor, that it wore off where there was a lot of traffic. I was surprised, because I had never seen any wear on hardwood finishes that were used before polyU. What did they use before that existed. Like in the 40's and 50's.
But it would hard to put near as much wear on a hammer handle as I did on the floor, walking on it over and over each day.
I have some good wax too, but the smiley scares me.
Bob, I do think the linseed oil will feel better. I go to a class where they cover the table with something like what plastic grocery bags are made of. I can't stand the feel and I have to lift that up and rest my arms on the next layer, which is vinyl cloth. I think it would be similar hear.
I do plan to use the hammer, but not that often since I have another ball peen hammer. Maybe I'll give that away and keep the one I'm finishing, but even then I won't use it that much.
This is not what most people would want to display, but maybe I'll display it anyhow when I'm not using it. I don't have a big fish to hang on my wall.
Too late about the wire wheel, but I think EAsy Off would have taken more time than I wanted to devote.
I have to decide what to do. Thanks again.
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wrote:

Hire a professional
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wrote:

Some people have wayyyyyyy to much time on their hands......
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makes them last a lot longer. I was so glad when fiberglas-handle garden shovels came out- my mother never put the damn things away, and I was tired of buying a new one every frikkin year. The glass one lasted till she stopped gardening. OP did go overboard with the wire wheel- dish soap and a scotch brite pad would have done less damage, and saved most of the original finish- but getting the crap off, and keeping the wood from drying out, are a good idea.
aem sends...
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