Crafts Crafts

Burned & Painted Tools

One of my favorite stores in Jackson is called Wild Hands. It is filled with all kinds of beautiful hand-crafted goodies for your home. This past summer I noticed these lovely painted hammers and gardening shovels.

Hammers and garden hand shovels at Wild Hands

I also couldn’t help but notice the price tag – $70!!

For a hammer!

Now I’ve got more hammers than I know what to do with. I really don’t know where they all came from, because I don’t actually recall ever buying a hammer. When I left my husband alone all last summer to go to Jackson with the kids, one day he made the unfortunate mistake of cleaning out my tool drawers in the kitchen. I don’t know why he did this. This is the equivalent of a man cleaning out most women’s bathroom junk drawer. He called me up in Jackson to announce how many hammers I had with astonishment. I don’t remember the exact number, but I assure you he can. It might have been 17.

I’m still looking for them. I don’t know where he put all of those tools that he cleaned out of my drawers, but I have yet to find most of them. My problem is that I don’t have a formal work bench like most crafty men might have. I have tools strategically scattered in places around the house. I used to know where everything was. I don’t any more.

Anyway, back to the hammers. I looked at these cute $70 woodburned and painted hammers and thought to myself “I can do that”. So I did.

Now as I just said, I really don’t need any more hammers. However, I might be able to part with a few old ones for a nice new one like this. So when I decided to give this project a try, I bought a new one for myself and I also bought a small hammer for Amanda. Everybody needs a hammer; she may as well start out with a pretty one. Her roommates couldn’t possibly claim this one as their own at the end of the college year. And knowing that I didn’t need more than one new hammer, I bought something that I knew I didn’t have — an axe. I figured everyone should have one of those.

I first started this project last summer. We were going up to Jim’s family’s camp house in Maine. I figured this would be a good project for a rainy day or to fill some of the evenings. However, I discovered after getting the design burned into two hammers and the axe finished completely finished that hand-sanding the finish off of the handles wasn’t sufficient; the paint didn’t adhere properly and I ended up starting all over again on them recently.

The original work on the axe needed to be sanded off as my initial hand-sanding was not sufficient to remove the finish varnish and get the paint to adhere well.

The second time around I used my random-orbit sander to completely remove the factory-finish varnish. It also removed all of the paint on the axe from my first attempt at this last summer, but at least I was able to salvage all of the burning work I did on both the hammers and the axe.

Sanding with the random orbit sander I removed the original paint and the varnish

I painted them with regular water-based craft paints and let them dry overnight.

Interestingly, when I used a paint-on varnish the colors ran a little bit, so what I found worked best was to use a matte spray varnish for the first layer, which I let dry overnight and then put a few layers of paint-on varnish for a durable, wearable finish on the handles.

Not bad I thought, and a lot cheaper than $70. They’d make great gifts.


  1. What a FABULOUS house warming gift idea!!!!!

Speak Your Mind