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In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy has his way with an old hatchet and transforms it into a sweet little showpiece. – Gareth Branwyn



  • Old Estwing hatchet
  • Piece of Padauk wood
  • Leather
  • Epoxy Resin
  • Briwax


  • Grinder
  • Tablesaw
  • Bandsaw
  • Router
  • Files
  • Clamps
  • Multitool
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill press

Jimmy’s Notes:

There are certain tools that I’ll buy every time I see them at the flea market and garage sales. Any tool made by Estwing, for instance. Oftentimes, the leather grips are decayed and falling off due to water damage. It is a prefect opportunity to personalize a hammer or axe: the steel tool itself will last forever. I had an old piece of Padauk for few years, just waiting for a worthy project. I use the curve of the grain to follow the curve of the steel hatchet handle. I braided the leather to give it some body.

Jimmy DiResta

I make stuff.



  1. Love these videos, can I come and work for you Jimmy?

  2. jimmydiresta says:

    jake thank you , come visit if you are in nyc

  3. Keith says:

    Beautiful and inspiring, thanks for sharing this!

  4. Phil says:

    Great! The fast sequences make even humans look like power tools.
    Lovely finish on the handle, and great idea for the braiding too.

  5. Roy Jacobsen says:

    I have to admit that at first I was a little concerned that you were going to “ruin” a beautiful old tool by transmogrifying it into something else. (Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with transmogrifying things.) I caught on soon enough, and I have to say thanks for bringing what once was a beautiful hatchet back to life, and for inspiring me to attepmt putting a new handle on an old draw knife (which once was my late uncle’s.)

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      Thank you for watching ! , i am saving hand tools like this , they would end up in the scrap pile .. the handle was deteriorating you can see in opening shot… this was 1 $ at yard a sale

  6. I’m in love with breathing new life into old things. Great resto!

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      Thank you !! for looking and commenting !

  7. fritz pelayo says:

    so glad I found you on the internet, I’m recently retired and started dabblinging in simple wooden projects, I have to ask; where did you learn all this stuff ??!!…great videos..your’e a wonderful person for sharing them.. looking forward for more !

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      Fritz Thank you for the kind words !! i have been experimenting in the shop all my life since i was about 6-7 .. i also teach at the School Of Visual Arts here in NYC, So I need to keep learning to keep teaching !! Thank you !!

      1. fritz pelayo says:

        in the shop since you were 6 !! about “hands on”!! wife is a high school teacher..a calling I coudln’t do !..forgot to wish you and all close to you the best for the holidays..keep creating and giving new life to what others discard !

  8. 9 year old Arlo watched it twice, showed it to his big sister.
    Super duper great, Jimmy.

  9. what kind of hand grinders are you using?

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      a flap disk and also a 3M bristle disk on a dewalt and mekita 4″ grinders thank you !

  10. Brian says:

    @1:21 that looks like a 3M Roloc bristle sanding pad. I’ve wondered how well and long those last compared to other more standard sanding pads? Looks like good work, with the right tools for the job.

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      thank you ! yes the 3m disks are good for a smoother finish.

  11. Dave says:

    Nice work Jimmy ! Another solution, not as classy, is sliding a piece of garden hose onto the steel handle part, once the old leather and end cap are removed – cheers -Dave

  12. Brad says:

    Very cool video. Love the sound.

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      thank you i love the sound of tools too .. thank you for looking !

  13. [...] the piece DiResta: Hatchet, Roy Jacoben [...]

  14. crnoland says:

    Hey Jimmy — No clue if you still check this. What type of disc are you using when you’re grinding the hatchet handle?

    1. jimmydiresta says:

      forst one is a flap sanding / grinding disk .. less agressive then a hard disk, and the green one is a 3M Roloc Bristle Disc they work great to make a nice finish and the blending of the harder sanding marks ..thank you

      1. crnoland says:

        Is the little one a flap sanding/grinding disc as well? I saw you used two different sizes before you brought out the green one.

        1. jimmydiresta says:

          i just re watched your right , i first use a 3m cubtronics 36 grit pad to cut out some of the deep pits.. off camera i used a flap sander to soften the cuts , and then the Wire wheel for the rust under the handle , and Then the Bristol disk ! thank you !

  15. B. Inspired says:

    When you were doing the fitting for the new handle, how close did you have to get size wise for the epoxy to hold properly? The closer the fit the better (I assume), but if you overshot by a hair, would the epoxy fill the void adequately? Thanks for the inspiration :)

  16. [...] metal castings. Here I carve a “form” from a piece of PadukĀ (same piece i used for the Hatchet vid. ItĀ has a nice grain that shows through the carving. In the video I make two castings. One will be [...]

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