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?
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.
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.
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. ;-)
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
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.
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.
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.
On the contrary- keeping tools cleaned, and wood handles properly treated,
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.
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