Tubular Steel Hammer Cleanup

Kinda Like Dad's Old Hammer

But not quite.  This hammer was another find at The Tool Shed.  I saw it a on a few visits to the store, and on the last visit I figured - why not?  My hesitation on the first few visits was that I really didn't need another hammer but after writing about my Dad's hammer a few weeks ago, I decided I'd like to have it - then it was time to clean it up!

Anatomy 101

Before we dig, let's do a little anatomy lesson.  This next picture comes from Tough Ass Tools' website, and clearly identifies the parts of a hammer.  Who would have thought there was such detail over an instrument even more ancient than the Great Pyramids of Giza!  Nonetheless, these are the parts and now we have a learning aid to refer to.  Quite frankly, I'll refer to it also - I didn't know the names of the parts called the Bell/Poll, the Cheek or the Neck.  I always thought this whole section was referred to as the Head of the hammer.  

The Starting Point

Unlike some of my other recent tool restores, this hammer really just needed some spit-n-polish.  Okay, don't get excited - it's an idiom, no real spit involved!  As you can see in the picture below, I got the hammer (along with a couple other pieces) for $3 at The Tool Shed.  

 There was very little rust on the cheeks, so they cleaned up very easily with just a few grits of sandpaper,  I think the highest was 600 grit.

To clean up the bell (I'm gonna go with bell rather than pole) I used a short length of broken sanding belt from my 1x30 sander.

The claws had a little rust in between and a couple streaks of what looked like roofing tar.  About five minutes with my rotary tool and the claws were all cleaned up!

Though pyramids were built from the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the close of the Ptolemaic period in the fourth century A.D., the peak of pyramid building began with the late third dynasty and continued until roughly the sixth (c. 2325 B.C.). More than 4,000 years later, the Egyptian pyramids still retain much of their majesty, providing a glimpse into the country’s rich and glorious past. - History.com  

Tubular Steel

For me, the handle is the iconic part of the hammer.  As I mentioned before, Dad's hammer was the Stanley version of this hammer.  He probably has a bunch of hammers these days, but when I was a kid there were only two - some old wooden handled hammer and his Stanley SteelMaster.  The history of tubular steel hammers can be traced back to the mid-50s when the Stanley Aristocrat, a wood handled hammer was king.  In 1954, the True Temper Rocket was introduced with great success.  And, as is always the case, copy cats came along.  Within two years of the Rocket's debut Stanley responded with the new Stanley SteelMaster – a Rocket look alike, and so its fate was sealed as the SteelMaster then became their most expensive hammer and top gun.

A childhood of watching Dad swing that hammer true, has etched the picture of the SteelMaster as the penultimate of hammers in my mind's eye.  I told that story in A Study in Hammers a few weeks back.

The Grip

The next step was to clean up the grip.  Have you ever noticed that every hammer seems to have some smear of white paint on it?  Well, this hammer was no different.  It wasn't bad but it was there, and the little "suction" holes in the grip were clogged with some kind of gunk.  So I started the cleaning with soap and water, then with some Goop Hand Cleaner.  Then, I shined it up with Mother's Back to Black Restorer that I discovered when I was restoring Dad's Gerstner tool chest.  You'll see how that turned out in just a little bit.

Painting the Neck

If you need, scroll back to the top and check out the hammer anatomy lesson.  After cleaning it all up, removing what little rust there was, it was time to put on the finishing touch.  I decanted a little Painter's Touch black spray-paint into a red Solo cup (the song always comes to mind), then brushed some on the hammer neck and the under part of the claws. 

After that, I put it on a cookie sheet and left it on the radiator for a couple days thinking it might give a bit of a chance for the paint to bake on.  I know it probably doesn't make sense, but there it is!

The paint turned out pretty good, and gave it a more finished look...

And here's a nice look at how nice the grip turned out!  Oh, and lesson learned:  be careful what you put in a Solo cup, the little bit of leftover paint ate right through the cup in a couple hours!

Its New Habitat

And that was it for cleaning up the tubular hammer.  I didn't find a single brand mark on the hammer - it's definitely not a True Temper or Stanley, but I like having one in the shop.  Here it is in the hammer rack, right next to my hammer - the Estwing 16 ounce.  By the way, the tubular hammer is a 16-ouncer also!

The hammer's also gotten some use already too.  I was puttering in the shop today and ended up using it a couple times.  Felt ok in the hand, but not like the Estwing (don't want any sibling rivalries here!).

Thanks for stopping by!
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