Tools of the Trade: Mark Ruddy

What a California "sledgemaker" needs to get the job done

February 7, 2019 9:00 am

Mark Ruddy makes beautiful objects that just happen to offer a superior workout. He’s the founder of Marin’s Acme Sledgeworks — without a doubt the most gorgeous, badass fitness goods manufacturer on the market.

Ruddy has worked in metal fabrication for over two decades, and all of that knowledge has gone into these refined pieces, from straightforward (but still beautiful) dumbbells to a 20-pound sledge nicknamed “The Godfather.”

“I designed my products on the basis of creating tools that I wanted and would purchase myself,” says Ruddy, who handcrafts each piece himself. “The quality and strength is undeniable — when you hold one in your hands — whether it’s a mace, a sledge or any of our custom weights — you can feel the pride that went into the fabrication.”

His daily routine includes the the new Acme Knuckles for shadowboxing and knuckle-style push-ups, as well as the Acme Triads, “amazing cast-iron triangulated weights” for grip and rotational strength training. “They can be used for any exercise where you would use dumbbells or kettlebells, but the unique shape offers the added varying gripability and weight intensities”

Literally no other piece of gym equipment looks like these small editions of design-art (check out the full range on his site). But first, learn about all the tools he relies on to get his job done, which we’ve compiled here today.

Acme Sledgeworks Tools of the Trade (4 images)

Images, from left: The Frye Company, Goorin Bros., Beats and Peloton

John Addison Harnes Back Zip Frye boots
“In the shop or out working with clients, Frye has always covered my feet — they make some of the most durable boots out there. These are my favorites, with superior leather and a strong, thick sole — they’re a great defense against all of the hot, sharp and heavy elements that are part of working with metal. They look badass, too.”

Goorin Bros. hats
“I shave my head and like to wear a lid. In the shop, it’s an Air to Fakie Goorin beanie, which provides plenty of warmth on cold days and fits well under my ESAB welding helmet. Outside, my go-tos are the Hunter Jones Fedora or my favorite, the Milan Winters, an Italian ivy flat-cap. Goorin Bros. is an S.F. company, and they have the best quality goods!”

Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil
“While the MacBook Pro is my design machine, my iPad Pro/Pencil combo keeps me mobile and ready for all business needs. From note taking and document signing to image editing and drawing, the iPad/Pencil power duo enables me to always be available with solutions for clients, customers, vendors and social media.”

BeatsX Earphones
“I like all kinds of music, from Compay Segundo to Slayer — and the BeatsX are the best way to get these sounds into my head. They’re the best I’ve used so far: they connect easy and charge fast, and they have great sound. Couldn’t make it through the day without a soundtrack! Pandora and Spotify are the greatest gift to us worker bees. My stations and playlists are constantly changing, but today my rotation consisted of the Graveyard, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats station, cranked! ”

Onnit Total Human supplements
“Total Human is the complete vitamin/mineral optimization package. Day-and-night packs make it easy and the quality is superior. They keep me sharp, focused and healthy.”

Caveman Coffee’s Nitro Cold Brew Coffee infused with nitrogen
“These are what get me through the daily mud in my path. Strong and smooth.”

Peloton bike
“The best investment I’ve ever made for my health and sanity. Such a great platform and the design quality of the bike is next-level. I try to hit the bike daily, whether I’m up at 5 to get my day going right or after a long day for some sweat therapy — this is the best. My favorite instructors are Robin Arzon, Alex Toussaint, Ally Love and Jess King. You can’t go wrong with the HIIT rides.”

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