Long story short, I lost the hammer to the exigencies of feckless fickle fate, but found a replacement here, for about fifty bucks including s&h.
This is the pick, a classic in utilitarian design and an industrial work of art; Estwing used to make a leather grip model of their chisel ended sedimentary rockbuster (basically a bricklayer's hammer), but that's only available these days in blue nylon/vinyl. The one piece forged steel is still there; only the handle is cheap. More durable, maybe. And maybe more visible if you drop it?
[Update] American craftsmanship has gone downhill a bit. In 1960, the hammer I just got by FedEx would have been a factory second. There are minor blemishes in the leatherwork and toolmarks on the base plate and picktip. Also, handle feels like it's coated with polyurethane these days. In the old days, it felt more natural. There is also a certain blandness in color, less contrast in the leather windings over the handle.
Labels: America's Best Stuff