I've always liked those wooden rowing boat oars you see mounted on people's walls. I then saw a couple of American companies producing amazing axes with painted handles. They were things of beauty but although I own a couple of axes they are used infrequently and therefore not seen a lot. Apparently the origin of painting axe handles was to allow lumberjacks to mark there own axes whilst out in the forest. It also makes them easier to spot when laid on the ground.
I had the idea of painting some hammer handles awhile back but struggled to find the right hammers as a starting point. I wanted a high quality hammer with a hickory handle, but ideally one which hadn't been vanished or waxed already. Painting onto to a waxed surface wouldn't produce a durable finish and stripping off vanish would be too time consuming.
Luckily I came across a British company called Carters based up in Holmfirth that have been making tools since 1740. More importantly they still make all their hickory handles on site and were prepared to supply me with "unfinished" handles as a start point.
You have a choice of either Ball Pein or Claw (more Claws to follow) and both are 16oz - the ideal weight for general duties.
All the handles have been sanded and then painted with a durable acrylic paint. I wanted to use a paint with a matt finish to make sure grip wasn't an issue when used. The handles are then oiled using boiled Linseed oil.
The heads where sanded to improve the finish and then polished. They will eventually start to rust if left damp but can always be polished up again.
These hammers are designed to look interesting but are still intended to be used. The finish will mark up with use and that will only add to the appeal.