Sep 01, 2010

How To: Make a DIY, Best Made Co.-Inspired High End Hammer

created at: 09/01/2010

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Peter Buchanan-Smith and Best Made Co., and I haven't been able to shake the imagery of their color-adorned urban axes since. I can't help but check out the ax and shovel handles at the hardware store and garden center. And while I have immense respect for Best Made Co. and their amazing work, I'm just not at the point in my life where I can swing investing in a high-end functional art piece.

But that doesn't mean I couldn't take a cue from their bold color meets wood-grain handles and deep silver blades - so I decided to create my own colorful high-end tool, using a claw hammer. And you can too.

Materials and Tools

  • New hammer - looks matter most here. Look for a hammer with a wood handle and clean silver head. I wasn't able to find one at the big chain home centers, so check your local, smaller hardware stores. Ours was only $5.69.
  • Blue painters tape and plastic grocery/zip-top bag
  • Several colors spray paint


created at: 09/01/2010

1. Begin by choosing your colors a deciding on your pattern and stripe size. Then cover the head and top of the handle with the plastic bag, and secure with painter's tape. Then cover the rest of the handle until just the bottom of the handle is exposed. Be sure your taped-off section terminates in a straight line. Make your lines a mix of parrallel and angles for visual interest.

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2. Working outside or in a well-ventilated space, spray on your first color. Hold the can back 10-12" and work in thin, even coats until you can no longer see the wood grain. Allow to dry, then peel off the tape to check your work. The paint may peel off on the tape, but you shoudn't have any problems on the wood.

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3. Repeat for each color, peeling off the tape along the handle and creating straight lines for boundaries. Be sure to cover your previous work when adding new colors. Allow each coat to dry for 2-3 hours, using a vice or clamp (if you have one) to keep the handle vertical. You could also support the hammer head with heavy books or bricks.

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4. Once you've added the final color and allowed it to dry, carefully peel off each layer of tape. Then, just hang it up!





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Nate on Dec 30, 2014:

I planned on painting an axe handle but after the paint is dry can I then coat the entire tool with boiled linseed oil? A Best Made workshop suggested coating the whole tool with linseed for finish and protectant.

Anonymous on Nov 30, 2014:

Question- did you oil the handle prior to painting to seal the wood of the handle?

Alert Electrical on Jun 27, 2012:

A great idea for all those men who like to tell women they're great DIYers, but they don't actually USE their hammer to put up any shelves. Ever. It's a great garage decoration!

Zach on Nov 28, 2010:

Awesome. I've been wanting to do this for months now and am on my way to the hardware store right now.