The first Estwing hammer I got I spent a bit of time fuzzing up and smoothing out the leather handle so it didnt look new the next day on site. Didnt work, looked shiny with a defective leather handle. Actually took a bout 2months of flooring, framing and roofing before it started looking like a tradesmans hammer. After about 2yrs of sweat and hard use it looked right. I was at one with it and it hung in my nail bag like a pro. I dropped it down a 3meter brick cavity not long after and its still down there 39yrs later.
The next one I got had a viny grip blue handle and I wore it smooth during the last 2yrs of my apprenticeship then carted it 3500miles to a new home and promptly dropped it in the Indian Ocean building wharf/landing in Fremantle leading up to the Americas Cup. I dont know how that one is going after 37yrs in salt water.
I know we are all different, different perspectives, different ways of looking at the world. Guitar gear, carpentry tools, they all fall in the same category for me. I can chuck a tool box on the back of a pick up and go out and earn money or/and I can chuck a guitar rig in the back of the car and earn money. Theyre just tools and if Im using them theyre going to get signs of wear, and thats without trying hard, its just the nature of being industrious. Theres just no escaping that theres a possibility of damage and loss.
My guitars are immaculately set up, for me, and sting change on a gigging guitar was always after 2 gigs, Thursday and Friday, new strings for Saturday and Sunday. I never let a pot remain scratchy and nuts and trems were always maintained. The guitars, amps and pedals were always fully functional professional devices, I look after them. But they all show signs of wear.
If you are industrious and play with intent and you spend time perfecting your craft your tools show signs of wear. Thats all there is to it. You dont need to pay another man to dirty it up for you.
I just dont get relic'ing. . My last attempt at it was trying to mank up a hammer when I was a teenage boy so I could look l could hang with the men. Didnt come close, took about 5 to 10yrs after a 4yr apprenticeship before I couldve hung with the men that I apprenticed under.
If they start relic'ing hand and power tools, thats it. Im going to get back in my spaceship and frak off.
Im going to buy a leather handle Estwing tomorrow. I dont need one, I just like the look of them. Theyre only $9 dearer than they were 37yrs ago! Sometimes it pays to go on an off topic rant, you discover things that are quite remarkably unaffected by inflation!