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I recently replaced the handle of a ball pein hammer that has been with me from the start of my auto body career. I dressed up the new handle and got their junk off of it sanded it down and gave it a burned look as well as gave it a beeswax/linseed finish. After all this work and cleaning up the head ( since it had been such a good hammer to me) I thought about why I had to replace the handle in the first place. Over strikes! I don't know if this would happen much in black smithing but there could be times and it's simple to protect a nice new handle from certain unjust cruelty. The fix is simple. A section of leather around just under the head then punch some holes and lace it up. Sure you could wrap it in tape or something but where's the class in that. If you have a tool that's been good to you and you have a little down time why not give it some tlc. You can easily use tape around the hammer where you want the wrap then cut it to use as a pattern. punch some holes and lace it up with some leather cord. A touch of super glue will keep the finish knot snug. ( which I did on a friends I fixed up for him but some of mine need relaced because I didn't glue the knot no big deal.) point is it works. Here's some pictures explaining my point. Again I mainly deal with this with body work getting into tight spots, it's not like I over strike forging on the anvil just thought I'd share in case it could help someone that runs into the issue.