So here it is, this is what happens when a Cold Steel War Hammer is given to this particular spoon maker. This was given to me by Swords of the West to customise and prepare as the first place prize in the Galway HEMA Open on August 20th.
Straight from the factory this thing is pretty cool! I knew straight away I was going to have to strip that black paint to get this hammer looking bad ass. I also noticed some tool marks both on the top and end of the handles that I would be taking out. The handle was pail and dry and seemed to have a thin coating of lacquer so definitely some smoothing and oiling would be needed to get that a bit more dramatic and natural looking.
The request was for a celtic type of design on the handle so after a few sketches I settled on this design and went ahead with burning it in with my pyrography pen.
I finished the handle with 2 coatings of boiled linseed oil and a layer of beeswax to seal it all in.
Above is the steel just after stripping all the paint away. I used a regular gel stripper and it didnt take long for the paint to wrinkle up and come loose. One important thing when stripping paint off these tools is to not scratch the metal underneath. Some people scratch the paint in order for the paint stripper to take effect quicker but that can then leave awful scratches in the metal underneath.
As you can see the hammer head has a beautiful rustic finish. The spike has some rough grinding marks that aren't too bad but I have other plans for this section along with the for impact points of the hammer.
So it took about a day to get this chunk of steel the way I wanted. I basically sanded the spike down to a reasonable smoothed finish as well as the four impact points of the hammer. Afterwards I used some Birchwood Casey blueing liquid to blacken the whole piece up which is what you see below. The finaly step then was to polish away the blackening from the spike and four impact point to give a nice contrast of mirror smooth finish and rustic forged texture. It also highlights the two business ends of this weapon.
The collars unfortunately I forgot to take a before after photo of but they basically came in that horrible shiny black paint which I stripped, followed by a mirror polish and finished with the application of blueing liquid which gave it a beautiful natural black.
Carefully I assemble all the components together making sure everything was fitting snug, screwed in the collar pieces and finished it all of with a coating of mineral oil.
All in all a very, very enjoyable piece to work with! My thanks to Frank from Swords of the West for getting in contact with me to do this job. Thanks to Cold Steel Knives for making awesome tools and weapons! And all the best to everyone competing in the IHFL Competition.