Product Review: Estwing ALBK 14 oz Black Vinyl Grip Aluminum Hammer – Smooth Face

Estwing ALBK 14 oz Black Vinyl Grip Aluminum Hammer - Smooth Face

Ease of Use
Durability
Effectiveness
Expense
Warranty
Summary
Overall I would definitely say Estwing's ALBK aluminum hammer is a buy if you are a tradesmen looking to upgrade your framing hammer or even if you are a do-it-yourselfer looking to get a sweet upgrade. The reviews on this across the web are all positive and in my review I ended up giving this hammer a 4.2 out of 5.0. It scored the top points in ease of use and expense. Ease of use due to the shock reduction and expense due to the savings you would get versus a Titanium hammer. The only real downside to this hammer is the one year warranty and the risk of the claw separating from the head. Other than that folks I say this hammer is definitely a buy.
4.2

Buy Now!

Hello folks! Hope you are all doing well. Today we’re going to take a look at Estwing’s ALBK fourteen ounce aluminum hammer with a smoothed face. That’s right ladies and gentlemen this hammer is forged out of aluminum. No cast iron. No steel. Heck, not even Titanium. In an effort to compete against the ever increasing popularity of titanium hammers made by Stiletto or Dalluge companies Estwing has taken it upon themselves to come up with their own alternative… some may even say a better hammer.¬†Estwing ALBKM 14 oz Black Vinyl Grip Aluminum Hammer - Milled Face

The aluminum that was used in this hammer is the very same type of aluminum that you see Boeing using on their airplanes. If it is good enough to fly then I would say it is good enough to hammer with! One of the reasons that Estwing chose aluminum for their ALBK hammer is that aluminum is nearly fifty percent lighter than Titanium. For those of you who have read some of my other articles you’ll know that Titanium is fifty percent lighter than steel and now aluminum is fifty percent lighter than that. All together it makes for one light and efficient hammer.

This hammer comes with a lot of the bells and whistles that a lot of the other premium ones do such as a magnetic nail starter, a shock reduction grip, a sixteen inch long handle to add more power, a rip claw, and a smoothed face. ¬†This comes in at fourteen ounces but drives like the big boys. But hey that is enough about what is on the hammer let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks on Estwing’s ALBK hammer.

Pros

Just like with the Titanium hammer this fourteen ounce hammer drives like its much larger all steel cousins. Most users compare it to a twenty-four ounce steel but some have even stated it to be as strong as a monster twenty-eight ouncer. As one user said, “It drives nails like a hot knife through butter.” Estwing accomplishes this extra drive power through a couple of features. The first is the extended handle that comes in at sixteen inches. Most of your standard hammers come in at thirteen inches. This extra three inches adds drive and power with each swing you take. (That whole inertia thing that we learned in science class.) The second benefit for nail driving is the lighter weight of the aluminum. It is solid metal just like your steel but you get that extra weight savings.Vibration dampening shot technology

Over the years one of Estwing’s goals with their framing hammers was to reduce shock and overall impact to their users. Any of you who have worked on a framing job for hours and hours on end will know the pain of what I am talking about here. After a few hours your wrist, elbow, and shoulder will be crying out in pain. Steel is not known for it’s shock absorption. While Titanium and Aluminum are both less in the shock department that wasn’t enough for Estwing. They added a new feature to this hammer that I have never seen before. If you look to the image to your right you’ll see their patented vibration dampening shot located right in the head of the hammer. This is a very unique feature that actively strives to reduce vibration and shock to the user. Truth be told I don’t know the science behind it but from every review I have read it has a significant impact in reducing vibrations.

The ALBK aluminum hammer comes with Estwing’s patented shock reduction grip. It is the standard Estwing shock reduction grip that most of you are used too. (You can see it the black rubber covering in the long image on this post.) Hey, if it isn’t broke then why fix it? The great thing about this though is that if you combine the grip with the lighter aluminium and the vibration dampening shot it makes this hammer one of the absolute best shock absorbers hammers on the market today. After extended use your body will be thanking you and your old solid steel one piece will be hanging up in your garage never to be used again.Estwing ALBKM 14 oz Black Vinyl Grip Aluminum Hammer

You may have noticed the head and the claw on this hammer are two completely separate pieces. This is another unique feature on this hammer. You get the aluminum head and a steel rip claw. The idea is sound as you are not worried about shock when pulling out nails. The claw on this hammer is shorter than your standard rip claw giving you the ability to get into those hard to reach places. In order to prevent breakage or separation of the two pieces of the head Estwing fastened two heavy duty bolts to ensure that the connection is secure even during the toughest use.

Cons

As with most hammers at this price point there aren’t a lot of cons to be listed. To keep things simple I put together the below bullets:

  1. You may not call this a con but I still believe it is worth mentioning to a consumer that is considering a purchase of this type of hammer. If you are used to the price of your standard steel framing hammers than this aluminum hammer’s price may come as a shock to you. A decent steel framer comes in at around fifty dollars where the Estwing ALBK comes in at over one-hundred dollars. That is nearly twice the cost of what you are used too. But hey before I discourage you any further let me make two points about this hammer:
    1. The purpose of this hammer is for it to be quality and for it to last and last. There are no replacing wooden handles. There are no replacing anything really. On top of that you are getting a top quality hammer with hugely reduced shock absorption.
    2. The second point about price is that even though this hammer is quite expensive it is actually significantly lower than it’s Titanium counterparts made by Stiletto or Dalluge. The one that I have in mind is the Stiletto Tibone TB15MC. So, while you are spending more than you normally would you are saving money versus the Titanium models on the market today.
  2. If you refer to the two pictures above that showcase the head of this hammer you will see the two different pieces being held together by the bolts. In my opinion this can be a positive and a detriment. Since the head and the claw are two separate pieces you will find that the weight and balance of the hammer will take some getting used too. All of the weight is in the head so you may have a bit of awkwardness at first. On top of that I have to say that there is a risk of the claw separating from the head. Yes, I know the bolts are there to hold it tight but come on… we all know bolts come loose over time. If there was a weak point in the hammer this would be it.
  3. I’ve always been a fan of lifetime warranties especially when it comes to a ToughAssTool. If I’m going to be spending a good amount of money on a product I want that lifetime guarantee. While Estwing doesn’t offer a lifetime they do honor their products against any defects caused from normal use. That’s the key point, normal use. It is up to their determination on rather or not your warranty claim will be accepted. I would expect a lifetime warranty if I’m going to be spending over one-hundred dollars but what can you do?
    1. Estwing’s official warranty page can be found by clicking here.
    2. To file a claim you can call their customer service phone number 1-815-397-9558
    3. Once your claim has been approved you can send your RA to:
      1. Estwing Mfg. Co.
        2647 8th Street
        Rockford, IL 61109
        Customer Service 815-397-9558
        sales@estwing.com

Conclusion

Overall I would definitely say Estwing’s ALBK aluminum hammer is a buy if you are a tradesmen looking to upgrade your framing hammer or even if you are a do-it-yourselfer looking to get a sweet upgrade. The reviews on this across the web are all positive and in my review I ended up giving this hammer a 4.2 out of 5.0. It scored the top points in ease of use and expense. Ease of use due to the shock reduction and expense due to the savings you would get versus a Titanium hammer. The only real downside to this hammer is the one year warranty and the risk of the claw separating from the head. Other than that folks I say this hammer is definitely a buy. If you’re interested then click this link to be taken to the Amazon page.

Also, it is important to note that the ALBK hammer is the smoothed face model. If you are looking for an edged, milled, or waffle face equivalent then follow this link to the ALBKM edged face hammer.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

 

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