The hickory handle on my 12-lb. sledge is tough enough to last a lifetime, but not if the person using it overshoots the mark and bashes the target with the handle. Mistakes do happen, so I give my sledge an overstrike protector.
1 begin by cleaning the handle and abrading it and the adjacent metal of the head with some heavy sandpaper. Then I apply overlapping beads of acetic acid-cure silicone caulk to the prepared section. As shown in the drawing, I lay it on thickest where the damage is most likely to occur. Then I cut a swath of fiberglass cloth as wide as the band of silicone and long enough to overlap itself by an inch and gently wrap it over the caulk. Smoothing the glass cloth with a finger or a spatula gives excellent shape-holding results and wets out the fabric. I repeat the process, then I apply an additional thin layer of caulk over the second layer of fabric and cover the whole assembly carefully with plastic wrap to make a smooth finish. The plastic wrap can be peeled off in a day, but the mass needs about a week to fully cure. I then wrap my bumper with a sacrificial layer of filament tape. The 3-year-old bumper on my 12-lb. sledge is like the day I made it, although the tape has been badly cut and torn.
William H. Brennen, Boulder, CO