Below is the story of how I decorated a sledge hammer with Christian themes. If you'd like me to do similar work for you, I gladly take commissions.
While home for the summer of 2005, talking with my brothers, I lamented that we (at school) are not allowed to carry weapons around campus.
This led to an inquiry into what is classified as a weapon, and it was quickly discovered that sledgehammers are not included in that illicit category. The conclusion was therefore drawn that I should wield a sledgehammer upon my return.
Thus it was that I purchased a ten pound -Sledge Hammer- at the local Tractor Supply Company, but what good is a weapon if it is not EPIC?
Thus, I have endeavoured to convert a normal hammer into a work of craftsmanship.
The base item used for Technobane is a stock ten pound -Sledge Hammer-. It had few distinguishing features, imprinted on the head where it is joined to the handle was "10 OGI" and facing it "WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES". Burned into the handle approximately six inches from the head was the word "TAIWAN". The handle is made of some hard wood (a real pain to carve, but stays where you put it, I would guess it's Oak (turns out it's probably Hickory, a common wood for tool handles)) sealed with a transparent lacquer.
The first order of business was to decide on a general design. For functionality, most of the handle should be smooth so that the power hand can slide along it while swinging. This left the end of the handle for carving. I chose a hand-span as a good portion (which works out to almost exactly one quarter of the total length) and decided to use a twining vine celtic knot motif, with leaves at the base and a rose bud at the tip. Before any layout could begin I had to remove the protective lacquer, which was accomplished with much sandpaper.
The first try at design didn't work out so well, so I re-thought the process and came up with seven vines as a sufficently dense and symbolic number. I knew I wanted the family crest on one part, so I drew two twining up one side, seperating for the space there (6 and 7). Another two spirling eachother in a spiral around the handle seemed good (3 and 5), and two more on the back to balance the two on the front (2 and 4). The last one ran in a spiral between the twining spiral, behind the crest location (number 1).
The above layout was made after the carving and runes were finished.
Once the design was penciled in, I used a wood burner to make light permenant lines over the pencil ones, since pencil has a nasty habit of rubbing and smudging. At this point the first really tedious process began, as I used a box cutter (one of those extendable razor blades) to carve the negative spaces about a sixteenth of an inch deep. At this point I also carved the rose at the end. The wood that the handle is made of is very hard, which was good in some ways since it allowed me to have great control over the cuts. The bad part was that it took a long time.
After the carving was done the project stalled for a while, as I was trying to decide what to write on the vines. In the end, I went with scripture verses, transcribed into runes (quick note, the man who created this runic cypher is a worshiper of the old Celtic gods, and fraternizes with Satanists. So, be wary when browsing his links. It seems his site is down now, but you can still find it on the wayback machine).
If you're interested in scripture cyphers, I've since made another even more elaborate. For those of you who don't want to translate the whole thing on your own, here's what's written. I have seperated them into the pairs, so you can see how they go together.
|Be therefore wise as serpents and innocent as doves
|Do not be afraid for I am your God I will help
|Strengthen and uphold you with my righteous right hand
|A time to kill and a time to heal a time to tear down and a time to build up
|For our weapons are not carnal but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses
|A musician a warrior one prudent in speech a handsome man
|And the Lord is with him
|She looks to her household and does not eat the bread of idleness
|back of rose
|back of rose
|A meek and quiet spirit
I thought a lot about the name of the sledgehammer I was creating. It would have to be descriptive, yet terse. A hint of deeper meaning beyond the surface wouldn't hurt either. While all this was running through my mind, I was hanging out at a friend's appartment. I had my then unnamed Technobane with me, and commented that I felt like smashing something. My good friend Aaron Scott kindly offered his old computer as a sacrifice to my destructive impulses. (note from the picture that the handle carving was completed, but no wood burning had begun yet.)
For those with strong stomachs, go ahead and download the video. Otherwise, here's what was left over at the end.
And so, "Technobane". Death of technology.
At this point I created the rubbing shown above to aid in the design of the pictures to go in-between the vines. Here the project stalled again for a while, over Christmas Break 2005. Eventually I created these four schematics, the last one being a 'final' composition of the other three.
As you may note, the 'final' version is not exactly what appears on the hammer. I just can't resist making design changes at the last minute, but I think it turned out well anyway. This part probably took as many hours as the carving, but was much more compact, three days of working for a few hours a day. When the wood burning was completed I colored in the pictures with Walnut Hollow oil color pencils (now a discontinued brand). The final result was sealed with a transparent acrylic. Finally, the gems (Cubic Zirconia from Fire Mountain Gems) were mounted using hot glue (although I may need to find an alternative later). I'm rather pleased with the final result, although the colors seem to be a bit clashing as an entire composition.
Below is an explination of the...
There are four sections to the images. The crest, the parts of man, the story of david, and the wife of noble character. As a note, all pictoral stories here read from left to right, and bottom to top... Which turns out to be exactly opposite that of Hebrew, so, unintentional reversal!
The crest is the Spooner family crest, created by myself and my brothers. In short it is a tree, a sword, and a book. The hammer was added below the crest just for the fun of pictoral self awareness.
These three are what I consider to be the most abstract of the pictures, as they portray the nature of the body, spirit, and soul, or at least my understanding of them at the time. For ease of refrence, here is a table of the meanings and locations.
|Our knowlege in this life is limited, we can read (book) or use logic (middle equation) but without hope of eternal life, drugs and death are the only solace for the tormented mind (syringe)
|Only in eternity (infinity symbol) will we know fully.
|In eternity, we will be able to learn "all truth" (the translation of the runes). The perfected soul will not be darkened by falsehood or despair.
|Satan (horned head) in his kingdom of darkness rules over the unsaved spirits. If you look carefully you can see the eyes peering out of the darkness. The inverted pentagram is a symbol of satanism
|Every spirit (the person) can chose whether to serve the darkness or the light; truth or lies.
|God is the ruler of all godness and light in the spiritual realm. His angels serve him in this (below is a wheel within a wheel, above, a more humanized angel). At the top is the Holy Trinity, Father (the throne) Son (the Chi-Rho or Labarum) and Holy Spirit (the dove)
|Violence (sword), old age (bent over man with cane, bed), sickness (bed, pulse monitor) is the fate of the un-perfected flesh. Eventually, everyone dies.
|Death (skull, casket) is the fate of the body, only through Jesus Christ (cross) can we pass through death into life.
|At the ressurection, we will recieve renewed bodies. Bodies that will never die.
This series is the story of david. I chose David as an archetypical figure for the ideal man. Line 6 in the runes is a description of David. The pictures are (in order, bottom left to top right)
|David is the seventh son (six figures above him)
|Sheepherd (sheep, crook), slayer of lions and bears (sling)
|Annointing as king, harp player for King Saul, warrior in Saul's army
|Slayer of Goliath (large sword, five sling stones, severed head)
|David spares Saul twice (cut edge of the robe, taken spear and water jug) and announces this to Saul in his camp (saul is the one with the spiky head, it is supposed to be a crown)
|David becomes king over all Israel
|Incident with Bathsheba (reads top down). Bathsheba, david's adultery with her, the letter to Joab, the arrow that slew Uriah, Uriah's grave, Nathanael (with the staff) confronts David (with the crown) and declares that the sword(far right side) will never leave his household
|Absolom hanging from a tree
|David (star of david) father of Solomon the rich (pile of gold) and builder of the temple (building on the right), line of David to Christ (Chi-Rho)
|Strong tree, representing strength and fruitfulness of a righteous man.
This series was extracted from the "excellent wife" passage in Proverbs 31. I chose this passage as a fitting foil to David as the ideal woman. Again, in order from bottom left to top right
|Her worth is far above jewels, scale with the woman on one side and a humongous gem on the other.
|She stretches out her hands to the needy, gives bread to the poor.
|She buys a field and plants a vineyard, her gain is good.
|She makes cloth, and girds herself in purple.
|She girds her arms in strengh (runes read "strength").
|"Charm is decietful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised." Above is the woman who fears the lord, below are the charlatains who care only for looks and charm.
|She arises early, while it is still night, and prepares food.
|A flower, portraying the beauty and delecacy of a woman.
The pictures are a bit abstract, but I think they are sufficently detailed to get the right idea across. The rose at the top represents again the beauty and richness of the righteous woman. The ivy leaves represent the strength of the righteous man.
When it was all done wood burning I added some color with oil pencils, mounted some clear cubic zirconia, and sealed the whole thing with a clear acrylic spray.
And here are some close-ups of the handle itself.
The clear finish didn't hold up very well to regular use, so the colors have faded over the years. Speaking of years...
During the intervening years I broke the handle a couple times near the head. It glues back together, but I wanted to protect it a bit, so I added a couple steel bars and straps.
I've also engraved the name of the hammer into the head, antiqued it with silver sharpie, and sealed it with epoxy.
That's pretty much it! It's a +«-Sledge Hammer-»+ to be proud of! Oh, and if you're wondering about those symbols around the word +«-Sledge Hammer-»+, they come from the Dwarf Fortress annotation for item quality and decoration. Spelled out, it would be a well-crafted sledge hammer with finely-crafted decorations.