Dawn of the Dead Sledgehammer Prop Restoration

Restoration of Dawn of the Dead sledgehammer used in the 1978 George Romero classic horror film.

This Dawn of the Dead sledgehammer movie prop was the main weapon used by Taso Stavrakis who played the biker aptly named, Sledge. Due to the film’s tight budget, make up artist Tom Savini and his assistant Stavrakis were used as two of the main members of a biker gang which invade the mall our protagonists used as shelter from the zombies. If that wan’t unique enough, the original owner had spent years getting the handle covered in signature including both Savini, and Stavrakis as well as a majority of the film’s cast.

Naturally, for safety reasons the faux sledgehammer prop used in the George Romero classic was made of a skinned foam.  Over the years the surface had cracked and the head of the hammer had loosened from the handle. The prop was brought in to our New York studio for our conservation artists to gently restore. As always, we wanted to retain the aged look of the prop and only repaired and repainted those areas where the structure of the piece was in jeopardy.

We carefully patched the cracked surface, making sure to match the texture of the original sledgehammer head.  When those small areas were in-painted, the repairs were nearly seamless. We also reinforced the connection of the sledge head to the handle. Once the repairs were finished we painted only the areas of the patched material so that the original scuff and scraps from the production use were still visible.

It’s always a thrill to help preserve props used in true classics like Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and we’re honored to be entrusted with these pieces of film history by collectors, museums and archives around the world!

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A few words from our client…

Just got the sledge back home and it looks fantastic! I’m absolutely loving seeing it look better than it has in decades.

Thank you so much for another amazing TSD project!