Mod your tools
I don't spend as much time woodworking as I would like. But at least I'm at the point where I know my preferences.
When tools have wooden handles, the wood tends to be varnished -- and I don't like it. When you perspire, the handle gets slippery. Even when you don't perspire, I still don't like the feel.
I subscribe to a woodworking discussion list, and one of the guys mentioned that he always removes the varnish from store-bought hammer handles. So, I thought I'd try it.
Here's the three-pound hammer from my "splitting wedges" kit. This is the "in process" shot: most of the varnish is gone, but I'm still working on removing the rest.
For removing the varnish, I could've used sandpaper -- but it's faster to use a somewhat coarse file. Here's a shot of the file after perhaps twenty swipes across the handle: the file is clogged with sawdust, which means it stops cutting. Luckily, I have a file card (cost me five bucks, I think, at the local hardware store).
And, here's what the file looks like after a few swipes of the file card (cleaning the file along the diagonal teeth of the file, rather than against the teeth). The file is all cleaned up and ready for a few more swipes -- until it gets clogged again. Repeat, repeat.
For most of the filing, I held the hammer in my woodworking vice, on my workbench.
Here's a shot after I've removed all of the varnish -- except for a small ring around the neck(?) of the handle, which doesn't matter because I don't grip the hammer there.
And, here's a shot after a few wipes of my "tool handle" mix: a 50-50 mix of boiled linseed oil and methyl alcohol (to thin it). I actually think it looks better than the original varnish -- although, in this photo the oil is still wet, so the appearance could be temporary.
Anyhow, the process didn't take too long, and the handle indeed has a nicer texture: more grippy.