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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

 

Buy Now!

Hello folks! Hope you are all doing well. Today we’re going to take a look at Estwing’s ALBKM fourteen ounce aluminum hammer. 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 ALBKM 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 waffle or milled 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 ALBKM 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 ALBKM 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 ALBKM 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 ALBKM 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 ALBKM hammer is the milled or waffle face. If you are looking for a smooth face equivalent then follow this link to the ALBK smooth faced hammer.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools

Buy Now!

Hello folks! Today we’re going to be reviewing the Stiletto TI14MC-F fourteen ounce Titanium milled face hammer. This is a great all around hammer especially if you’re looking at getting your first Titanium hammer. In case you haven’t found out by now I love Titanium hammers.

The TI14MC-F hammer is made by the Stiletto Tool company out of California. Stiletto has been around since the 1840’s. Yes, that’s right 1840’s. They started Stiletto TI14MC-F 14 oz Ti Milled Face with Curved Poly-Fiberglass Handle, 16"right around the gold-rush did and have been producing hammers and tools ever since. In 1998 Mark Martinez patented and launched the first Titanium hammer and a short while later Stiletto came out with the first branded Titanium hammer model. The rest is history. Over the years Titanium hammers have picked up and up in popularity. I predict in another ten years they will be commonplace and the former steel hammers will on the way out.

Enough about the company though let’s look at the details of the hammer. The TI14Mc-F Stiletto comes in at fourteen ounces. While this sounds small and will feel deceptively light once you start swinging you will feel the power behind it. In fact it has the same driving power as a twenty-four ounce steel framing hammer believe it or not.

The handle on this hammer is 16 inches long and made of a hybrid fiberglass material. The bottom part of the handle has a thermoplastic rubber to help absorb shock along with an ergonomic and easy fitting hand grip. It doesn’t have a curved grip like some of your ‘hatchet’ type hammers that you may be using but you will get used to the grip after repeated usage.

It comes with a straight rip claw design. Also comes with a milled waffle face. (You know, the meat grinder.) Lastly, it has a magnetic nail starter. Most premium hammer have all of these features already but they are still good to mention. So with the basics of the hammer out of the way let’s now take a look at the Pros and Cons of the TI14MC-F.

Pros

Ok folks so first thing’s first. I know you all may be skeptical on this fourteen ounce hammer. But trust me when I say that this baby drives like a twenty-four ounce steel. Heck, some users have even said it drives like a monster twenty-eight ouncer. Why is that though? Well there are two things that make this little fourteen ouncer drive like the big boys.

  1. The first is that Titanium is forty-five percent lighter than steel. So you get a completely solid head of Titanium for nearly half the weight that a steel head would weigh.
  2. The second factor would be the length of the handle on this hammer. It comes in at sixteen inches. Your standard Estwing framing hammer is set at thirteen inches. That’s an additional three inches of leverage and power to use to your advantage. You’ll be swinging a fourteen ounce hammer but it will be driving like a twenty-four ounce one.

Along with the reduced weight we also get the benefit of reduced shock absorption. Titanium has been proven to have ten times less the shock or vibration with each impact than steel does. So, what does that mean to you? Basically it means that your wrist, elbow, and shoulder won’t be aching near as much after a long twelve hour day of framing. If we couple the reduced weight with the better shock absorption your body will be thanking you and you can put those giant twenty-four ounce or twenty-eight ounce hammers back on your shelf to collect dust.

The last pro that I am going to mention on this hammer is the fiberglass handle. Now, truth be told, I am on the fence when it comes to fiberglass hammer handles. I am either a wood or a steel (Or, in this case Titanium) guy. To me fiberglass seems like it is the middle of the road. You get increased durability and strength in the handle by not having wood but you also get increased shock to the user. The shock isn’t as great as a steel handle but it is more noticeable than your wooden. The fiberglass is the compromise between the wood and the steel. (Titanium)

Cons

The big thing to mention on these types of hammers is price. Now keep in mind that this isn’t a bargain hammer and that you are paying for a top quality Titanium hammer. As we all know with quality comes price. There are quite a few varieties of Titanium hammers out on the market today and the TI14MC-F is right in the middle of the road between all of competitors. As I right this the price is around one-hundred and twenty dollars. (Price is subject to change on Amazon.com at any given time.) There are some options out there for under one-hundred and others over two-hundred. The one thing I can mention is that if you are considering buying a Titanium hammer you should realize that this is most likely the last hammer that you will ever have to buy. Quality.

Well, remember how I said it was the last hammer you’ll ever buy? That holds true unless you get one of those bastards rooting through your toolbox at a job site. The problem with expensive tools, as I’m sure you all know, is thieves. If someone sees you using one of these fancy Stiletto tools you may find that when you come back from lunch your hammer has mysteriously walked off. I hate to even mention this but it is a fact of life.

Stiletto TI14MC-F Magnetic Nail Starter

Alright folks well the last con that I am going to bring up on this thing is the warranty. There is a warranty on this product, don’t get me wrong. It is a one year warranty where Stiletto will replace or repair any damage to your product that is not above or beyond normal usage. Their official policy can be found by clicking here. The reason I bring warranty up is as a con is that it is only a one year term. Most of the time if you’re going to be spending over one-hundred dollars on a hammer you expect a lifetime warranty and many other companies offer this lifetime warranty. I don’t question Stiletto’s quality of manufacturing but it is still a great peace of mind to know that your hammer is warrantied for your lifetime.

Conclusion

Overall this is a great hammer and one of the better Titanium ones on the market today. If I was to rank this hammer in my usual Good, Better, Best category I would say that this ranks right in the middle as a Better. It’s not the best of the best hammer on the market today (That’s the TiBone TB15MC) but it is not the cheapest Titanium on the market either. If you’re a tradesman or just a do-it-yourselfer looking to get yourself one hell of an upgrade than this is your hammer. And you know what they say once you go Titanium you never go back!

If you are interested in purchasing then I recommend purchasing through our Amazon partner by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Dalluge 7180 16 Ounce Titanium Hammer

Buy Now!

The Dalluge 7180 is a great hammer if you are looking to get a Titanium hammer but are not wanting to spend a small fortune on one of the top dollar models.Dalluge 7180 DDT 16 Ounce Titanium Hammer This hammer is made under the Dalluge brand name by Vaughan Manufacturing out of Illinois. They have been around nearly as long as their competitor Stiletto Tools. Vaughan was founded way back in 1869 and have been making hammers for nearly one-hundred and fifty years. I would say they know what they are doing by now, or at least I hope they do! Enough about the company though let’s dive into what this hammer offers and what the drawbacks are.

Pros

Ok so first and foremost we have a quality Titanium head. That’s the biggest selling point right there. Titanium. There are many many benefits going into what a Titanium head offers versus a Steel head. I won’t get into everything here but if you would like to read more about the benefits of Titanium then I recommend clicking on this article that I wrote the other day that goes into it further.

This hammer comes in at sixteen ounces. While that may sound like a lightweight hammer for framing keep in mind that Titanium is forty-five percent less in weight than your typical steel. Your sixteen ounce hammer will be swinging and driving nails with as much force as a twenty-two or twenty-four ounce steel hammer. This hammer’s lightweight will allow you to swing faster and with less effort. To top it off your body will thank you as you won’t be swinging a behemoth of a steel hammer all day long. Hopefully, no more tennis elbow.

The 7180 Dalluge’s head comes with a patented sidewinder nail puller design. This side nail puller will allow you to gain more leverage and to get into those hard to reach places that your claw just can’t get into to. At the risk of sounding like those damn commercials… but wait there’s more! This hammer comes with the magnetic nail holder and the face of this thing is serrated or ‘waffle’ faced… also known as the meat grinder. (Be careful!)

While this hammer is not a one-piece construction and comes with a wooden handle the manufacturer attempted to go above and beyond and add additional bolts to the base of the hammer in an effort to secure the head and handle even more than required. Honestly, I don’t know how much this will help. I’ve never been a fan of wooden handles.

The last thing that I’m going to mention as a Pro on the 7180 Dalluge is the cost. Yes, it is still expensive for a hammer but this is a Titanium hammer that you’re getting. Around one-hundred dollars for a Titanium head is a pretty good deal if you ask me… especially if you look at some of the other products on the market today.

Cons

Alright folks lets get this out of the way right now. This product is produced and manufactured in China. It seems like it is inescapable these days. Nearly every company, including tool companies, have moved their manufacturing overseas. I hope this will change in the future but for now it is what we are stuck with. If you don’t mind a Chinese made product then go ahead and purchase but if you are looking for an American made product then I suggest you continue looking. (Also, if you know of one please let me know and I will take the time to review.)

As the years have gone by I’ve come to dislike wooden handles. I don’t want my things to break on me. I just don’t. Yes, I know it can be easily replaced by buying a new handle and going through all of that hassle. I would much rather go the route of having one piece construction hammer rather it be steel or Titanium. If you are looking for a one piece Titanium construction I recommend the Stiletto TiBone TB15MC. The handle on the 7180 DDT 16 ounce hammer tends to break after only a few months of use and most of the time breaks when using the side nail puller. It’s funny… if you were going to put that side nail puller in you think you would go with a one piece construction and minimize the risk of handle failure.

The last con that I am going to mention on this hammer is the warranty. Usually when we look at a warranty on these pricey hammers we find a lifetime, or limited lifetime, warranty policy. There is no lifetime warranty on this product folks. In fact their warranty policy has quite a bit of legal ease in it as well. I’m not quite sure if you will get a replacement product or not but hey it is at least worth trying, right? See below excerpt from Vaughan’s website.

Replacement will be solely at the discretion of Vaughan & Bushnell Mfg Co. Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted or construed as an express or implied warranty, all of which are excluded by Vaughan & Bushnell Mfg Co.

If you find that your 7180 Titanium hammer fails you can fill out the this return form found on their website. Once the form is filled out you can return it to the below address. Before you send your product out hoping for a replacement I would place a call or contact them via e-mail to ensure that they are aware that your package is coming and to also check to see if they will replace your product.

Vaughan & Bushnell Mfg. Co.
Attn: Returns
146 S. Washington Street
Bushnell, IL 61422

Conclusion

Overall I would recommend this hammer to the user who is wanting to get his first Titanium hammer but is not wanting to drop two-hundred dollars on a premium Stiletto Ti-Bone. While this has the wooden handle instead of the one-piece construction it is still a strong and durable hammer. If worst comes to worst and your handle breaks you can always buy a replacement on Vaughan’s website which can be found by clicking here.

I gave this hammer a 3.9 out of 5.0. My main points of subtraction were the wooden handle and their warranty policy. Most of the time if you’re going to pay a high dollar price for a hammer you get a lifetime, or at least a more detailed, warranty policy. If we look at Amazon.com they are pretty much on par with my suggestion as they have this hammer at 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. Most people are happy with it and I bet you will be too. The only other thing I can say is if you are looking for a bigger and better hammer to check out the Stiletto TB15MC one piece solid Titanium construction.

Well, that’s all folks. I hope that I was able to help your buying choice today.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Titanium hammers are the newest and latest thing to happen to hammers. Well… truth be told there isn’t much exciting news to happen in the hammering world for quite some time except for Titanium hammers.

The first one of these hammers was patented and created by Mark Martinez of the Stiletto Tool company all the way back in 1998. The theory behind it was to give professional carpenters an alternative to the hickory, fiberglass, or steel framing hammers. The hickory hammers would break all of the time on you and the steel framing hammers would give you one hell of a sore elbow.

As the years have rolled by since they were first introduced a barrage of competitors and other varieties of Titanium hammers have come into the market. But before you decide on purchasing one of these types of hammers it is best to take a hard look at the Pros and Cons. Is this the hammer type for you? Or, should you opt for a more traditional steel or fiberglass framing hammer?

Pros

There are so many pros to Titanium hammers that I probably won’t be able to list them all in this article. Instead I will do my best to go through the top benefits of this product.

  • First and foremost Titanium hammers are significantly lighter than your standard steel or fiberglass hammers. Titanium is forty-five percent lighter than steel. This accomplishes a couple of things.
    • Instead of having a monster twenty-eight ounce steel framing hammer you can get the same work done with the same driving power on a fifteen ounce Titanium Stiletto hammer.
    • Swinging a lighter hammer means that you don’t get near as tired as you used to with your twenty-four ounce fiberglass. Another benefit to this is that a smaller person can use these hammers with no problem. They are recommended for women working on a framing job due to their light weight.
  •  Shock absorption is a big problem across a large variety of framing hammers. Carpenters who use these day in and day out will know exactly what I am talking about. With each hit that you do your wrist, elbow, and shoulder feel the impact. After extended use they will be screaming for relief. Some manufacturers have added rubber shock absorbing grips to their steel hammers which have helped but have not solved the problem. Titanium hammers have ten times less the shock than a steel framing hammer. That means you get the lighter weight and the better shock absorption. You could hammer all day!
  • Depending on the type of Titanium hammer you go with you could end up getting a one piece construction. This means that there is no wooden handle but instead you get a solid Titanium handle and head on the hammer. This type of hammer is basically indestructible. If you do end up breaking this handle in half then you are doing something wrong… but don’t worry most of these manufacturers have a lifetime warranty on their Titanium hammers.

Cons

Ok, so the good news is there really aren’t that many cons on Titanium hammers. I’ve scoured the internet reading reviews, manufacturing websites, and forums but I have still yet to find a major downside to these types of tools. However, there are two things that I would like to mention to you before buying:

  • Price – The biggest drawback to these types of hammers can probably be guessed by you. It’s price. These hammers are the best of best and cannot be beaten in quality. So, with the best of the best comes a large price tag. A basic framing hammer may cost you around thirty to fifty dollars. A basic Titanium hammer will start at about one-hundred dollars and can go all the way up and past two-hundred dollars.
  • Thieves – I hate to say it but anyone who has worked on a job site will know what I am talking about. These jackals think it is their right to rifle through your toolbox or belt while you step away for lunch. Once their paws get a hold of one of your Titanium hammers they aren’t going to let it go. It sucks but it’s a fact that these types of hammers have a high chance of being stolen.

Conclusion

So now that we have laid out the benefits and drawbacks of Titanium hammers the question that you have to ask yourself is are you willing to pay that extra premium price to get yourself a top quality hammer? Or, are you OK with your standard Estwing or Stanley framing hammer.

If you are looking to purchase then I highly suggest you visit the article I wrote yesterday called, “What Are The Best Titanium Hammers?” This article takes a look at the top three Titanium hammers on the market today and from there you can make your buying choice.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your decision.

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Hello folks! I hope you are all doing well. Today on ToughAssTools.com we are going to take a look at the best Titanium hammers on the market. For you old-timers out there still using your old Estwing these Titanium hammers are the newest and biggest thing. Sure they cost a pretty penny compared to your standard framing hammers but I can assure you that they are worth it.

The first solid Titanium hammer can be traced back to the year 1998. (Hard to believe that was nearly twenty years ago.) It was invented and sold by Mark Martinez of the Stiletto tool company out of California. As the years passed more and more people discovered all of the benefits of them and now with each passing year their popularity only grows. Along with the increased sale came increased competition and there are now a handful of companies manufacturing or importing Titanium hammers.

When I write articles like these I like to take the approach of the Good, Better, and Best. What does that mean? Well basically it covers the three personalities of a consumer looking to purchase. Some of you are cheap, like me, and want the bare-bone cheapest hammer on the market. You may want that Titanium hammer but you don’t want to pay nearly two-hundred dollars to get the top of the line one. While some other consumers are more of a middle of the road guy and can stand paying a bit more of a premium to get a higher quality or longer lasting hammer. And lastly, we have the best option. As the word states this is the best of the best. There aren’t any other hammers out there on the market that can beat it. The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of purchaser are you?

Titanium Hammers
Titanium Hammers

But hey, before we dig into the top three best hammers I want to go over some of the basic benefits that we see with Titanium hammers. It only makes sense. If you’re going to spend a hefty amount on a fancy new Titanium hammer than we need to understand why you are doing it and if you should do it in the first place.

Pros & Cons

Pros

There are many many benefits to Titanium hammers and I won’t get into each and everyone but instead I’ll cover some of most important ones. If you are interested in reading a bit more about Titanium hammers then click on this link to view another one of my articles.

  • Lighter Weight – For those of you who aren’t aware Titanium is forty-five percent lighter than steel. So, what does that mean? It means you can get yourself a fifteen ounce framing hammer with the driving power of a twenty-eight ounce steel one. No more getting tired and winded swing after swing. Oh, and you won’t be lugging that heavy ass hammer on your belt as you go up and down ladders.
  • Shock Absorption – Any of you who have worked on a large framing project know the drawbacks of a steel hammer. You don’t notice it at first. Heck, maybe not even after the first hour, but as time goes on and you slug a ten, twelve, or fourteen hour day in your elbow and shoulder will be screaming for mercy. While a steel hammer won’t break on you they have terrible shock absorption and with extended use this can lead to injuries to your wrist, elbow, or shoulder. Titanium hammers have the benefit of not breaking on you AND they have ten times less shock then steel. You get the best of both worlds.
  • One Piece Construction – I said it above but it deserves it’s own bullet point as well. One piece Titanium construction means that your hammer will not break. I’m sure you know the hassle of having your wooden handled hammer snap in half during a swing, or worse, having the head of your hammer go flying off into the distance during a swing. All those worries are gone with the purchase of a Titanium hammer.
  • You’ll be Faster – As I mentioned above we’ve got the weight savings, the shock absorption savings, and the one piece construction. All of this wraps into an easier hammer to use in driving and in wear and tear on your body. That means that as you use it you will get used to the lighter weight and the faster driving power. After extended use you will notice that you’ll be moving much faster than you did with your old Estwing or Stanley.

Cons

Truth be told there aren’t too many cons on Titanium hammers. There are only two that I can think of and the second one isn’t really a con at all but it is worth bringing up.

  • Cost – I’m sure you are aware by now but these hammers do not come cheap. You are paying for top quality construction. You are paying for a hammer that you will never have to replace again. The only thing that I could see going wrong on these things is either the grip wearing out on the handle, which can be replaced, or your waffle face eventually wearing out and going smooth on you. (Which, really isn’t that big of a problem in the first place.)
  • Thieves – This may not be something a lot of you will consider but it needs to be brought up. I’ve read a lot of accounts of people buying expensive hammers like this only to have it vanish on them at a job site once they go to lunch or walk away for a few moments. I hate to say it but expensive tools like this can be a target to thieves. They’re either going to sell it or use it for themselves but whatever their reason, it sucks.

Enough talk though let’s dig into the Good, Better, and Best of the Titanium hammers on the market today.

Good

Stiletto TI14MC Titan Titanium Framing hammer

Stiletto TI14MC 14 Ounce Titanium Hammer

Buy Now!

The Stiletto TI14MC Titan Titanium Framing hammer is our nomination for the good category. As I stated previously Titanium hammers have been around for nearly twenty years. This Stiletto model is the original titanium hammer that made it’s debut all those years ago. It’s famous in a way.

This is your basic starter Titanium hammer. You get the light weight titanium head with a hickory handle. While this is only a fourteen ounce hammer don’t let that fool you. It has the driving power of a twenty-four ounce steel framer. Some users have even said that it feels even lighter than fourteen ounces due to the balance of the head and handle.

Waffle Face on a Titanium Hammer

While this doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as some of the other hammers that we’ll be looking at further on it does come with a magnetic nail starter that you’ll learn to love when starting your drive. Along with that you get a serrated or waffle face to allow for better gripping when driving. (See picture) With these two features combined you should notice quite a reduction in losing or bending your nails during swings.

The Stiletto TI14MC comes with a curved wooden handle for better grip and leverage. Depending on who you are you may or may not be a fan of wooden handles. I, myself, am not but to each their own. With the wood you don’t have the huge shock from hammering day in and day out but you will also run into your handle breaking and snapping in half. Regardless of how careful you are it will happen over extended use. Upon reading up on this hammer most users have gone through one to two handles a year. If you’re fine with having to take the time to unwedge a handle, buy a new one, and wedge it back in then by all means this is your hammer.

However, if you want a solid one piece construction Titanium hammer then by all means read on my friends, read on.

Better

Dalluge 7180 16 Ounce Titanium Hammer

Dalluge 7180 16 Ounce Titanium HammerBuy Now!

Our nomination for the better category is the Dalluge 7180 sixteen ounce titanium hammer. This hammer is made by the Vaughan Manufacturing company out of Illinois. This company has been around nearly just as long as Stiletto has. They were founded all the way back in 1869 in Illinois and have been making hammers ever since.

Truth be told I was a bit conflicted on which hammer would fall into the good or better category but after some debate I chose the Dalluge. This is a sixteen ounce hammer so it comes in at two ounces heavier then our previous selection but the balance on this baby is so great that it will feel even lighter.

Like before it has similar features. We again have the magnetic nail starter along with the serrated or milled face as shown in the picture to the side. The difference here is the head on this hammer has a side nail puller. So not only do you have the rip claw for pulling out nails but you get the side for those hard to reach places.

Dalluge 7180 Side Nail Puller

Again we find that this hammer comes with a wooden handle, but one of the reasons I ranked this as a Better category were the bolts on this handle that reinforces the connection of the head and handle. You have the standard wedge but along with these bolts you get a nice sturdy hold. These handles will last longer than the previous one but again after extended use the bolts will begin to loosen and your wooden handle will eventually break on you.

This is a little bit more expensive then the Stiletto TI14MC but you get the side nail puller along with the reinforced wooden handle. If you’re still looking for that solid one piece construction then continue on reading for the Best of the Best Titanium hammers on the market today. Just be warned that your price is going to jump up.

Best

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer
Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

Buy Now!

Ok folks this is it. This is the number one best Titanium hammer on the market today. Again I am going to go with the Stiletto company with their TB15MC TiBone model. This thing is a beast. Before I recommended the fourteen ounce Stiletto and the sixteen ounce Dalluge. This Stiletto TB15MC is right in the middle at fifteen ounces but it drives like a twenty-eight ounce steel framing hammer. Yes, that’s right. Twenty-eight ounces. You’ll be able to compete with Big Bubba with his giant twenty-eight ouncer and you won’t be sweating near as much as him!

The TB15MC comes with a lot of the same features that we mentioned earlier like the serrated face and the magnetic nail starter. The difference starts with the face. This hammer has replaceable faces. So, if your waffle face eventually smooths out over years of use all you have to do is order a replacement face, pop out the old one, and pop in the new one. It’s that easy. Also, not a fan of the waffle face? Simply buy a smooth face addon and there you go.

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer Head
Ti-Bone Head Allen Bolt Face Replacement

The best selling point of this hammer though is the solid one piece construction of Titanium. There is no chance of this thing breaking on you. You don’t have to worry about your handle snapping in half and dicking around trying to get the new wooden handle inserted. If you manage to break a Titanium handle you are doing something wrong! Along with the one piece construction you get a ergonomic rubber grip designed for comfort and shock reduction.

While the cost on this thing may surprise you I can assure you that it is well worth the money. This hammer will last generations and the only thing you need to worry about replacing on it is the face every once and a while. The rest of it will stand to the test of time.

Conclusion

Before I close this article I have to mention that each and everyone of these hammers are made in China. While I hate recommending Chinese products the fact of the matter is there just isn’t any other competition out there that can compete with this pricing and that is made in America. It seems that everyone is going the Sears and Craftsmen route and moving everything over to China.  However, if I can recommend a USA product I will.

That being said I want to give an honorable mention to Martinez Hammers. Mark Martinez was the original inventor and designer of the first Titanium hammers for Stiletto Tools. Since then he has started a new company known as Martinez Tools. I would like to link to them now showing their newest invention. This thing is a monster and rises above and beyond what is on the market today. Best of all? It is made in the USA. Click here to visit the link on Amazon. Top quality product.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Titanium Hammers

I founded ToughAssTools.com a little over a month ago and I am still amazed at how much I have learned about tools and hammers in general. One of these things I learned was the existence of the Titanium framing hammer. Yes, that’s right. Titanium. I came across the company Stiletto Tools and their full line of Titanium products. Intrigued, I browsed their website and then also went through all of their reviews on Amazon.com. Needless to say, this is a high quality product. But, as we all know with a high quality product comes a high price.Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

In this article we’re going to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks on Titanium hammers. Who wouldn’t brag about owning a Titanium hammer? But besides bragging rights are they worth the premium price? What will you get for your investment? What are the cons?

Stiletto Tools

First let’s take a look at the company Stiletto Tools. These guys have been around since 1849. That’s over one-hundred and fifty years in the tool and hammer business. They were founded just outside of Sacramento, California during the California Gold Rush. Ever since then they have been providing American made tools to the United States and to the rest of the world. Their website can be found by clicking here. They have built their products and their company name with quality.

Up until recently Titanium hammers were still relatively new to the market. But as they have gained popularity new companies have begun to emerge and began to compete for some of Stiletto’s market share. One of these companies that I feel are worth mentioning is the Martinez Tools company. This is a newer company but they are making a great product and I look forward to them growing steadily in the future. Look for their products being on Amazon.com in the near future.

Pros

Most of these are hammers solid one piece Titanium construction. What does that mean? Well folks that means that this hammer is going to last you until the end of time. There is no more of being on the job site swinging away only to have the head of your hammer separate and go flying off into the distance. There is no replacing the wooden handles over and over again. This thing will last and last and will be able to be passed on to generation and generations to come. Maybe I’m a bit sentimental but I find that pretty cool.

Your body will thank you. The Titanium hammers are much much lighter than your standard framing hammers. I did a product review on one of Stiletto’s the other day and the hammer only came in at a total of fifteen ounces. While that may sound awfully light for a framing hammer it is important to remember that Titanium is forty-five percent lighter than steel. So even though you have a fifteen ounce hammer it is like you are actually swinging with a twenty-eight ounce steel one.  With the Titanium you get the same driving power but without having to haul around a nearly two pound hammer.

Along with the hammer being overall lighter than your standard steel framing hammer you also get the benefit of reduced shock. One of the biggest complaints about a solid one piece steel hammer is the recoil. You may not notice it after the first couple of swings but I can assure that after swinging that steel behemoth for twenty minutes your elbow and shoulder will be crying out for mercy. To solve this problem many steel manufacturers opted for shock absorbing grip covers. While these helped they didn’t completely solve the problem of the recoil. Titanium hammers have ten times less recoil than your standard steel framing hammer. Ten times. Couple that with a good grip cover and you’ll be swinging away like you’ve got a wooden handle in your hands.

Cons

This one is a given and most of you are probably expecting it but the first big con is price. Most of the time you can get your standard framing hammer for around fifty dollars more or less. Depending on the brand and the features you could wind up closer to eighty. Well folks the Titanium hammers start just below one-hundred dollars and in some cases can even go over two-hundred dollars. That is a lot of money for a hammer. The only thing I can say to you though is to keep in the back of your mind that this hammer will last forever. You won’t have to buy another framing hammer again. It is a one time purchase.

Well, you won’t have to buy another framing hammer again unless yours gets stolen. That brings me to my second con on Titanium hammers. They are pricey and they are top quality. That leads to a very high chance of this hammer being stolen. Now I’m not saying someone is going to break into your garage and start rummaging through looking for Titanium but the more likely scenario is that you are working at a site and decide to take lunch, step away for a drink, or whatever and when you come back you find your prized hammer has vanished. This happens more often then you would think and I see so many complaints on forums and other avenues.

Conclusion

Ok, so with everything I’ve written above the choice is up to you. Do you want to spend the extra money and get the best of the best or are you OK with your standard steel or fiberglass framing hammer?

As I get older I find that I am more and more attracted to products that will last forever instead of something that is cheap. When I was younger I would buy the cheapest thing in the store as long as it worked. But as you age you find that you get stick of buying the same damn things over and over again. If you have the money and can afford the purchase I would recommend grabbing yourself one of the hammers listed below.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great night,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

So you’re at the hardware store or looking on Amazon.com for a new hammer but as you’re looking you begin to notice the different types of claws. Some of them are curved. Some of them are straight. But, what is the difference? What do you need? Should you go for the curved or the straight? Well, rest easy ladies and gents as we’re going to dive in and take a look at the pros and cons of each type of claw.

Curved

The curved claw is the standard bearer across the industry. If you have a hammer out in your garage chances are that it is a curved claw as shown in the picture below.

The curved claw allows for better leverage when pulling out nails. It is also found on lighter finishing hammers. With it’s lighter weight and extra leverage it will allow you to extract the nail with minimal damage to the wood. (Hopefully.)

I won’t lie though the curved claw hammer is seen as the novice’s hammer. Most professionals opt for the rip claw. If a carpenter needs a nail puller chances are he already has another tool on hand that will get the job done just fine. Why sacrifice the rip claw for a nail puller?

As one carpenter put it, “When I see a curved claw hammer I think ‘Homeowner.'”

Curved Hammer Claw
Curved Hammer Claw

Straight (Rip Claw)

The straight claw, or rip claw, is found on more heavy duty hammers like framing hammers. As Tim Allen said all of those years ago, ‘More Power!’  It is called the ‘rip claw’ due to its ability to wedge itself in between pieces of wood and rip it apart in a pry-bar like action.

While the rip claw hammers are usually more expensive they are also more versatile. Your straight claw hammer can be used for not only splitting apart two by fours but also as an overall tool of destruction. Yes, it sounds nefarious, but it has it’s uses in drywall applications, plywood, siding, or whatever else you need to tear apart. Chances are if it is in your house the rip claw can tear it apart.

Straight Hammer Claw

I feel like I would be amiss if I didn’t mention this but something that I read over and over again on rip hammers was that they are a great safety stop when you are working on a roofing project. Think of it like an Everest climber going up a snowy hill when suddenly he loses his balance and begins rolling down the hill towards a steep cliff. Frantically he grabs his pickax and slams it into the ground. The pickax wedges itself into the snow and the climber is saved. Funny enough I have read of multiple instances of roofers using their rip hammer as an anchor just like that pickax when they begin sliding down the roof. They slam their rip claw into the shingles and bam they are safe and sound.

Conclusion

To sum it up folks if you are a homeowner and just doing a few side projects here and there on the weekend then I am going to recommend you get the standard curved claw hammer. But, if you are a professional or you are going to start an apprenticeship then I would highly recommend you get yourself a high quality rip hammer.

As always I prefer to buy and browse on Amazon.com rather than the home improvement stores. You get better prices, real time reviews, and only a few day lead time. Buy it on a Monday and have there that Friday for your weekend project.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Parts of a Hammer

This is a question that I receive a lot. Come to find out a lot of people don’t fully know each and every part of their hammers even though they use theirs every single day. Well folks today we’ll be taking an in-depth look at each and every part of the hammer, their function, and why they are necessary.

To start off this article I am going to refer to the below picture I created this morning. In my opinion there is no better way to learn then visual aids. I could write ten thousand words on hammers but what good will it do if you don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s where the picture comes in handy.

Parts of a Hammer

Got that picture memorized? Alright, good. Let’s dive into the parts. First we’ll be taking a look at the parts on the head of the hammer then we’ll move down to the handle.

The Face

The face of the hammer is the section of the hammer that sees all of the punishment and that does all the work. They are usually made of steel but there are a few exceptions here and there including a company that makes theirs out of titanium.

A hammer’s face is usually slightly convex but not so much so that it will cause slippage when driving nails. Depending on the type you buy you will either get a flat faced hammer that has a smooth surface to it or you could end up with what is called a ‘Waffle Faced’ hammer. See example picture.

Waffle Faced Hammer
Waffle Faced Hammer

There is some debate on the pros and cons of a flat face versus a waffle face. Most of the time you will see waffle faced hammers used on framing hammers for larger jobs. The waffle allows you to grip the nail easier and reduces the chance of your nail falling over. A smooth faced hammer is seen as a finishing type hammer where if you tried to use a waffle face when finishing you would end up with the ‘waffle imprints,’ all over your deck or whatever your project is.

Some of the more premium types of hammers on the market today have a replaceable face option. So, when your waffle print has been smoothed out over years of use or your smooth face is dented and beat all to hell you have the option to buy a replacement face. It’s a rather easy installation and will end up saving you money. I reviewed a framing hammer with this option the other day which can be found by clicking here.

Most hammers only come with one face and a claw on the opposite side. One of these exceptions is the ball-peen hammer that has a much smaller narrower face where the claw typically is. I’ll get into that later in the Claw section. The last thing that I’ll mention on the face of the hammer is that some come with a magnetic nail starter. These are usually found at the top of the face of the hammer and come with an indention right at the face. There is an example of this in the same waffled face picture above. See the slight indention? That is where the nail would slide in and stick until you are ready to swing.

Bell/Poll

I won’t spend too much time here on the bell of the hammer. While we just looked at the face of the hammer the bell of the hammer is everything around and supporting the face of the hammer. If you look at the picture above you will see the almost circular curvature at the face of the hammer and how it extends until the neck of the hammer. This is the bell.

Neck of the Hammer

As we move up to the neck of the hammer you will notice that the hammer begins to narrow. This wasn’t just done for the hell of it. There was a reason for this and that reason is balance. A good hammer will have the perfect balance between the face/bell and the claw. If your hammer didn’t have a tapered neck the bell and face would have a smaller surface area which would in turn make it more difficult to strike your nails. With the narrow neck on your hammer you can have it still be the same weight as the claw and still have the bigger face/bell for easier striking.

Cheek of the Hammer

The cheek of the hammer is what holds everything together. This is the point of the hammer that receives the most stress and the most reverberations. If your hammer has a weak point it is most likely either in the cheek of the hammer’s head or in the handle that is inserted into the cheek.

The Cheek of a Hammer
The Cheek of a Hammer.

In my first diagram where I showed the parts of the hammer I did not end up showing the wedge or the eye of the hammer. That was done because the hammer I chose was a one piece construction. The eye of the hammer is the hole, or holes, on the top of your hammer’s head where your handle will be inserted. The wedge of your hammer is the part of your handle that is wedged into the head or eye of the hammer.

Rather or not you purchase a one piece construction hammer or a wedged is up to you. I honestly can’t steer you in one direction or the other as it really depends on what type of application you will be using the hammer for and for how long you will be using the hammer. For example if you’re working on a framing project but will only be working on it a few hours a day then I would recommend a steel one piece construction. However, if you’re going to be working on this project day in and day out for twelve hours at a time you are GOING to need the wooden handle insert. In this example the wooden handle acts as a shock absorbed and will prevent injuries to your arm.

With the one piece construction hammers there isn’t much to talk about. Most of the time you will find these hold up over the test of time and have an overall strong support in the neck.  Their major downside is the shock that goes through your arm with each and every swing as mentioned above. Wedged hammers are usually done so with either a wooden or fiberglass handle. These hammers are cheaper but will eventually end up breaking and needing to be replaced. These handles are fixed in the eye of the hammer usually with a double wedge with a piece of metal in between to reinforce the attachment.

The Claw

Besides the face of the hammer the claw on your hammer is the next big thing to consider before purchasing. Do you want your standard curved claw? Or, are you doing some heavier framing work and want to opt in for the straight or rip claw? The claw is made of the same material that your face, neck, and cheek of your hammer’s head is. (Usually cast iron or steel.) Some hammers don’t even have a claw and instead have a Peen or perhaps something different from that.

Curved

Let’s start with the most basic and the probably the one that you are going to end up using. The curved claw as shown in the picture below is your standard claw on most hammers. If you were to walk into a store or buy one online this is what you would most likely run into. The only real main difference here is that the straight, or rip claw, hammer will allow you to pull out larger nails with ease. The curved is meant for smaller projects and will still be able to pull nails out but again, if you are working on a framing project then I would recommend the straight.

Curved Hammer Claw
Curved Hammer Claw

Straight

As I said before the straight claw is typically found on the larger and more heavy duty hammers. This is done because most of the time your average home owner will not have a need for a larger framing hammer. The curved claw will get the job done most of the time. The straight claw as shown in the picture is meant for pulling out 16D or 20D nails out of a framing project. Sure, it will pull out smaller nails too but keep in mind that this is a framing tool and not a finishing tool. If you need to do repairs or pull out some nails on a finished project then I recommend either being careful or using a curved claw.

Straight Hammer Claw

Peen

The Peen hammer is much less common in today’s world.  Originally the Peen side of a hammer was used for striking and shaping metal in metal fabrication. But over the years this process has become more and more automated and advanced. Other uses for the Peen hammer include driving chisels or punches using the narrower face of the Peen rather than the standard face of your hammer. In today’s world this type of hammer is used for riveting. The narrow point of the Peen face allows for easy driving of rivets.

Peen Type Hammer
Peen Type Hammer

The Handle

The handle is one of the most important things to consider when buying your hammer. Your handle is going to drive the success of your hammer and your overall feeling about it. I won’t get into it too deep here as I wrote another article diving into the various types of hammer handles but for now I am going to list the top three handles used today.

  1. Wooden Handles – This is the standard that I’m sure most of you are experienced with. While these handles tend to break over time they also have great shock absorption.
  2. Fiberglass Handles – Fiberglass handles are smack in between of wood and steel. Fiberglass is more durable than your wooden handles but has less shock absorption.
  3. Steel Handles – Steel handles can be bought as a one piece construction for increased durability or can be bought with the inserted handle. While steel is extremely durable it also has an extremely high vibration and shock when striking.

The Grip/Cover

Another thing to consider is the grip on your hammer. The grip is especially important if you are going with the fiberglass or steel hammer due to the shock absorption. Some of these grips come with a built in shock absorber that will ease some of the reverberations that you feel with each swing.

While the shock absorbing factor is great the other thing to look at is the grip of your cover. When you swing is it going to fly out of your hands from having sweaty palms? Or, is it going to stick to you and not go anywhere until you let it down?

 

Conclusion

That about wraps it up folks. I bet you never thought there was so much that went into a hammer? It is truly amazing what all goes into making something as simple as a hammer. What gets me is that you would never really think about all of this. It’s just a hammer. I mean a hammer is a hammer, right? Well, as we just went through each part we know that the answer is no. Each hammer is different and now we know why.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Yost Vises 880-DI 8"

Buy Now!

Alright ladies and gentlemen today we’ll be reviewing the Yost 880-DI eight inch heavy duty bench vise. This Yost vise is one of the best of the best on the market today. We’ll get into why and what makes it the best later on in this post but I bring this up now to prepare you for the cost of this item. It is not a cheap vise by any means, but it was never intended to be that.

Yost Vises 880-DI 8"
Yost Vises 880-DI 8″

If you want premium and American made product than you have to pay top dollar. That’s just a fact of life nowadays. However, if you are on the other end of the spectrum and want a good product but don’t want to fork over that extra premium than I suggest you stop now and read my review on the TEKTON eight inch vise that I did yesterday. This one will save you some money but also provide you a good product. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the Yost does but it is still a quality vise.

All that being said if you’re still looking for the best of the best and an American Made product than by all means read on my friends.

Specifications on the Vise:

  • Model – 880-DI
  • Jaw Width – Eight inches
  • Weight – Seventy pounds
  • Jaw Opening – Eight and a half inches (Twelve and a half reversed)
  • Throat Depth – Four and three quarter inches (Three and a quarter reversed)
  • Minimum Pipe Capacity – .125 inches
  • Maximum Pipe Capacity – Four and a half inches
  • Anvils – Two separate surfaces measuring eight inches and four and a half inches respectively.
  • Mounting Bolts – 1/2 inch bolts required.
  • Manufacturing Material – Iron
  • Manufacturing Country – United States of America

Without any further delay let’s dive in and see what this vise has to offer. As always I’m going to start with the Pros as it’s always best to hear the good news first!

Pros

The Yost 880-DI is manufactured out of solid Ductile Iron. This iron can withstand up to sixty-five thousand pounds of pressure per square inch.  The TEKTON only measured in at thirty-thousand pounds. That’s more than double the density, and more than double the durability. You need not worry about hesitating when using the anvil on this thing. And speaking of anvils this vise actually comes with two of them. The longer of the two comes in at eight inches while the shorter at four and a half inches. This anvil makes for a great flat and even surface for laying your tools or parts while you are cranking the vise.

The base of this unit comes with four mounting holes that can be drilled into your bench with simple 1/2 inch mounting bolts. Please note that this unit will not come with the mounting bolts as Yost has no idea what type of workbench you have or how thick it is. If they were to guess and throw some random bolts in there it wouldn’t do anyone any good. Once you have this thing mounted you’ll notice that it comes with a full three-hundred and sixty degree swivel. So, there are no more worries about what direction you mount the thing. If you’re like me and don’t take something like that into consideration until after you’ve already secured the bolts you won’t look like an idiot with the vise facing the wrong way. Just swivel it towards you and call it good.

The Yost’s 880-DI’s jaws come serrated or edged for better grip like most other vises. The difference here though is the Yost comes with reversible jaws. Yes, you heard right. You can flip these things around and instead of having the serrated diamond edge you now have a flat and smooth surface for wood working. Some people like to buy jaw covers to prevent damage to their more delicate materials but if done right you could probably just get away with flipping over the jaws to the flat side. Along with that benefit these jaws are also replaceable. So, after years of use if the teeth on your jaws have started to wear away and it is becoming nearly impossible to grip pipes or any other kind of material all you have to do is order yourself another set of jaws, toss out the old ones, and bam. There you go. Problem is solved.

Another great feature of this vise is that the actual vise bar can be removed entirely from the vise and then reversed. What this does is allow for you to extend the length of the vise and allows it to grip objects over twelve inches wide. Twelve inches. This is not something you see on your everyday vise and is certainly not something you see on a Chinese import. Speaking of Chinese imports that brings me to my next point on this vise. This baby is American made all the way. None of that Chinese stuff that everyone is always worried about. The Yost company has been around for over one-hundred years having been founded in 1908 in Holland, Michigan. Now, I am a little biased as I’m from Michigan myself but American made and in Michigan? It doesn’t get better than that.

If you buy this product and for whatever reason something breaks on it, it arrives damaged, or it arrives in pieces there is no need to worry. Yost backs up their product with a lifetime warranty. Yes, lifetime. What that means is that no matter what your vise is guaranteed from failure. Don’t believe me? Well just follow this link and go right to Yost’s warranty policy. Once you follow that link you’ll see the big LIFETIME warranty word next to the 880-DI model.

Lastly, I’ll leave us with a quote from an Amazon review, “This is really a machinist level vise at a great price.”

Cons

Yost Vises 880-DI 8"
Yost Vises 880-DI 8″

Ok, well folks I really struggled here trying to find downsides to this baby. Before I write a review for anything I take the time and scour across Google and other search domains looking for any and all information I can find. It’s the right thing to do and I don’t feel comfortable writing about something until I’ve educated myself on the product. After spending time on researching this vice I only found a couple of negatives and I can bet that you can guess the first one. Price.

I have a bad habit of buying the cheaper side of things. Even if I know it’s going to break in a few months I just can’t bring myself to pay more right there and then. It’s a dumb habit and I need to break it. The same thing applies to this vise. Yes, it’s expensive but would you rather buy this vise and never have to buy one again or would you like to spend fifty dollars here and there every few years or so? The choice seems clear. Spend the money now and get yourself something that will sit on your workbench for decades.

The only other con that I can find is that some consumers have received this product damaged in the mail. This has nothing to do with Yost or their manufacturing. It has everything to do with the carrier. (UPS, FedEx, etc.) The only thing I can say is that it is the luck of the draw when shipping such a heavy product. (Seventy pounds of cast iron.)

The most common thing that I saw was that one out of the four mounting brackets had snapped off while in the box. This is a big problem and will either prevent you from mounting your unit entirely or if you do get it mounted it could result in a wobbly and not a stable base. The thing to keep in mind though is that yes this is a problem but it falls under Yost’s lifetime warranty. So, yes… it’s a hassle to go through the return process and wait for your new vise to be mailed out but you are not out of the money and you will still get a great product.

Besides that folks there isn’t really anything else negative on this vise.

Conclusion

Overall this vise qualifies for the ToughAssTool stamp of approval. Everything about it screams quality and even if we look at Amazon.com we can see that there are nearly one-hundred posted reviews on the product. Out of these reviews the rating is set at 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. The big thing to mention though is that there is only ONE low review in all of these and that lone review was only complaining about the packaging and how it arrived at his home. The rest of the reviews? They were all four and five stars. That is pretty rare feedback nowadays. You usually have a few outliers who trash the product but I just couldn’t find them this time.

In closing this article I would say that if you’re looking for a top quality American made vise than this is your pick.

 

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools

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