So I had made this plaque for my father back in 2014, but I hadn’t originally done any paint-fill technique to make the lettering stand out, so the content was hard to discern. I got it back maybe a year ago, sanded off the stock finish on the hammer, laid out the intro bar to “take five” to fit the hammers curvature (his choice), designed a quick word mark for my father’s initials, and lasered it all into the handle stock. A quick poly finish brought back the depth in the wood color and done!
For the plaque it self, I simply masked the main edge, shot the whole thing in matte black, then sanded off the face to leave paint only in low spots, namely text fill and deep grain, and the beveled edge. When that cured I shot it all in a few layers of something clear, maybe a gloss urethane or similar.