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"

Product Review: Yost Vises 880-DI 8" Heavy Duty Reversible Bench Vise

Ease of Use
Dependability
Warranty
Cost
Summary
The Yost 880-DI eight inch vise is one of the top on the market today. It proudly boats the American made name and comes with so many more features than you would ever dream on a vise. Everything about this vise screams quality. Manufactured from sixty-five thousand pounds per square inch ductile iron, two separate anvils, three-hundred and sixty degree swivel, and so much more. Now, if I've got your interest then keep on reading my friends and learn so much more about this ToughAssTool!
4.6

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

Resources

TEKTON 54008 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise

TEKTON 54008 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise

Ease of Use
Dependability
Warranty
Cost
Summary
If you're looking for a solidly built light duty vise then stop and look no further for you have found it. The TEKTON 54008 will give you everything you'd ever want out of a vise for a cheaper price than some other competitors. It comes with a solid cast iron build that can withhold up to 30,000 pounds of pressure. It also has a 180 degree swivel base so that you can move the vise back and forth freely on your work bench. On top of all that you have a lifetime free replacement of parts or even the whole vise in case something goes wrong. There are many other benefits to this vise as well and if you're interested then by all means keep reading my friends.
4.4

Buy Now!

Hello everyone. Today we will be reviewing the TEKTON 54008 8 Inch Swivel Bench Vise. Try saying that a few times fast. Here at ToughAssTools we don’t take the time to review a product unless it is a Tough Ass Tool and I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that the TEKTON 54008 vise is just that. This thing ranks up there with one of the better vises on the market and is overall cheaper than some of the other competing brands on the marketplace today such as YOST and WILTON.

The specifications on this vise are as follows:

TEKTON 54008 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise
TEKTON 54008 8-Inch Swivel Bench Vise
  • Length – Twenty inches
  • Width – Ten and a half inches
  • Height – Eight and a half inches
  • Weight – Seventy-seven pounds.
  • Country of origin – China
  • Materials – Cast Iron

Without any further delay let’s dive into the facts on TEKTON’s 54008 vise:

Pros

First and foremost I’m going to mention the cast iron construction. I don’t know about you guys but I have had experience moving around cast iron blocks of materials before.  (Ever try to move an iron steering gear core for a semi before? If not, I wouldn’t recommend it.) The point I’m trying to make here is that if something is cast iron that product is solid. It’s going to be heavy as all can be but it’s going to be around for a long long time as well. This vise comes with a thirty-thousand pounds per square inch density. What does that mean? Exactly what it sounds like. It can take up to thirty-thousand pounds of pressure. Now that sounds like a lot but again I will mention some of the other brands out there today like YOST have their units boasting upwards of fifty-thousand pounds or more.

I remember when I was a kid and I would be watching my father working with his vise. It was mounted on the corner of his cluttered workbench and that was where it stayed. There was no rotating it or trying to change position. It was bolted on there and for all intents and purposes it wasn’t going to move an inch let alone swivel from side to side. Well, things are different nowadays, or maybe my father had a terrible vise, either way the TEKTON 54008 comes with a one-hundred and twenty degree swivel allowing you to get your vise in the exact position that you want it. While this may not seem like a big deal right now there will be a time down the road when you’re working on something and thanking the Gods that your vise can swing over to where you need it.

The jaws on this vise are serrated or edged. If you look at the picture to the right they almost look like a diamond plated toolbox. Although it may look like a toolbox I can ensure you that it is much much tougher. If or when the jaws wear out on your vise they are easily replaceable. All you have to do is hop online and order yourself some more. If you’re lucky you may even be able to call TEKTON’s customer service and sweet talk yourself into getting a couple of free replacements.

One of the most important things that I can mention on this product is that it comes oiled. This is intentional. I repeat, this is intentional.  There are so many reviewers out there that don’t realize that the oil or grease is necessary to preserve your vise and to prevent rust. It is a piece of machinery and it should be treated as such. When the product arrives you will need to wipe it down with a rag but be sure not to absorb all of the grease and oil. Remember,  it is there for a reason! Most people recommend re-oiling your vise at least twice a year. If you are not sure what type of oil to use I would recommend Park Tool’s PolyLube 1000 Grease. It’s cheap and can be bought on Amazon by clicking here.

The vise comes with three mounting points, one in the rear and two on each side. When you purchase this product a template and instruction sheet will be shipped with it as well. This template will show you how to mount your new vise. If forever reason you didn’t get your template you can view it online as well by clicking here and going to Tekton’s official instruction manual. It is important to note that this product does not come with mounting bolts but these can easily be bought on Amazon or just by going to your local hardware store. (I prefer Orschelins, that way you can get some taffy while you’re there!)

The last Pro I’m going to mention on this vise, and the biggest one in my opinion, is TEKTON’s Lifetime Warranty. Yes, you heard right. Lifetime Warranty. What does that mean? Well it means that if your vise breaks or parts of it break TEKTON will send you out replacement parts or even a whole new unit for free. Most of the time Tekton’s customer service will only ask you for a photo of the damaged product and then after that you’ll be getting yourself a new product or part in the mail. It’s not all talk either. I’ve read multiple claims from reviewers saying nothing but positive things about their customer service.  If you do need to file a claim or warranty TEKTON’s customer service phone number is 1-888-648-3371 or you can visit their claim page by clicking here.

Cons

Ok, so I’ve mentioned this before but yes this unit does not come with mounting bolts. Don’t be mad though. You have to realize that the manufacturer is not going to know what the thickness of your bench is or even what your mounting conditions are. Would you rather have them throw in some bolts that are too short for your bench? The template calls for 3/8″ inch mounting bolts but buyers have said that these do not fit exactly. Most users have gone with the 1/4″ bolts with washers. These can be picked up and purchased at your local hardware store.

It pains me to bring this up again but I would be amiss if I didn’t. The vise will come OILED! It is not a bad thing! Don’t be surprised when it comes with oil and grease on it. Ok, got it? Good. Let’s move on.

While some vises don’t even have a swivel this one has a one-hundred and twenty degree range of motion. While that may sound like a lot there are other units out there that have a full three-hundred and sixty degree rotation available. The Yost version for example. If you want that fancy three-hundred and sixty degree rotation then go for it. Just get ready to pay a lot more.

If you aren’t used to this by now then you should be. Like most tools this TEKTON is manufactured overseas in China. It seems like it’s almost a fact of life nowadays. The good news is that over the years and decades China has been improving their processes and their overall quality. However, one of the reasons Chinese product is cheaper is that they take shortcuts. Everything has to be done faster and cheaper and one example is the milling process. Milling is done to cut away any excess metal on the product after it has been molded. This is usually done at least a couple of times: Once to remove the excess metal and once again to soften the edges and to give it a more professional look. The Chinese skip that second step and so what you have is a perfectly fine product but with the possibility of razor sharp edges on the sides or corners of the vise. One reviewer on Amazon remarks, “I fixed the problem with a light filing to round off the edges on the vise jaws, the anvil, and on the telescoping throat -both in front of and behind the anvil.The casting files easily and it took just a few minutes to permanently fix the issue.” 

There have been complaints on the packaging of this unit when being shipped out. Some consumers have complained saying that it was shipped in a standard box instead of a thicker heavy dutier one. This unit weighs in at around eighty pounds if you get the eight incher. Eighty pounds is not an easy object to ship through ground packaging. Usually the cut off for a pallet is around one-hundred pounds. Some customers have complained that the box shows up beaten and breaking while others have even said that the handle of the product was sticking out of the box when it arrived. Keep in mind that these are outliers but it is worth mentioning.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a good buy. If you’re looking to get a good light duty vise for a bargain price than the TEKTON 54008 eight inch vise is the one for you. Don’t take just my word for it though folks. If we look at Amazon we can see that there are one-hundred and thirty-eight reviews on this vise. Out of all of these reviews the vise has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.0. The only major complaint that I can find on this is the packaging and you’ll see those complaints as well when looking at the one or two star reviews on this product. While the packaging is a problem it is worth mentioning that this thing is cast iron. There’s not much that is going to break this. So, even if you have a banged up package upon arrival your new vise is most likely still going to work fine.

I hope that I was able to help in your buying decision.

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Product Review: Stiletto Tools, Inc. TI14MC Titan 14-OunceTitanium Framing Hammer With Curved Handle

Ease of Use
Durability
Effectiveness
Expense
Summary
The Stiletto TI14MHC fourteen ounce Titanium hammer is a hammer that is well worth your money. While the Titanium may cost significantly more than your standard steel head you will be paying for quality. Titanium weighs nearly fifty percent less than steel so even though you are buying a fourteen ounce hammer it drives like a twenty-four ounce steel one. Along with the extra power the shock absorption on Titanium is ten times stronger steel. There are only a few downsides on this product. The first being the cost. Obviously, Titanium costs a lot more than steel. The second being that it comes with a Hickory handle rather than a solid one piece make of Titanium.
4.3

Buy Now!

Stiletto Tools, Inc. TI14MC Titan 14-OunceTitanium Framing Hammer With Curved Handle

Well today folks we are going to take an in-depth look at Stiletto’s TI14MC Titan 14 Ounce Titanium Framing Hammer with a curved Hickory handle. Now that is quite a mouthful for the name of a hammer but don’t you worry we’re going to break it down so it is a bit more understandable. But before I get into the details of this hammer I want to make one thing clear to you. This is a Titanium hammer. While that sounds awesome that also means expensive. So, if you’re looking for your run of the mill framing hammer then I suggest you check out my Good, Better, Best guide on framing hammers. However, if you are wanting to spend a bit more on your hammer for a great quality product then by all means continue reading on my friends.

The Pros

First things first let’s take a look at the Titanium head. For those of you who aren’t aware Titanium is nearly fifty percent lighter than steel. What that means is even though this is a fourteen ounce hammer and may seem rather light to most professionals it has the power of a twenty-four ounce framing hammer. If you’re skeptical all I can say is trust me. You will feel the power after the first couple of swings. You’ll be driving 16Ds in only a couple of strokes and each swing will feel like you’re floating through air. (No really!) You get the power of the twenty-four with the easy and versatility of a fourteen ouncer.

Another great benefit of this hammer is the recoil or shock absorption. Anyone who uses a hammer for a living knows the amount of pain an all steel framing hammer can cause to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. If you’re using a hammer all day and doing it again all the next day than a solid one piece steel hammer is not for you. Each time you would swing the steel would reverberate from the hit and travel up your arm to your elbow or shoulder. Most of these professionals opt for the standard wooden handle with the steel head. The wooden handle absorbs the shock that a steel handle wouldn’t. The Stiletto TI14Mc comes with the wooden handle that carpenters love but also comes with the Titanium head. Titanium has ten times less recoil than steel. So with the Stiletto TI14MC you get the absolute best of both worlds. You get the wooden handle that absorbs your shocks and you also get the Titanium head that will absorb shock even more. There’s a reason this hammer is quite a bit more expensive than the others on the market. Many of the reviews on this hammer claim that after hours and hours of use people have no elbow or joint pain in their arms. That’s a rare find.

This Stiletto comes with a magnetic nail starter on the face of the hammer. This is pretty standard on higher end hammers but it is a nice feature nonetheless and is worth mentioning. The magnet will get you started driving and the milled or edged face of the head will keep your traction as you finish the drive. Both of these features used together make for an easy and simplified hammering experience.

The milled face of the Stiletto Tools, Inc. TI14MC Titan 14-OunceTitanium Framing Hammer With Curved Handle

The last benefit I’m going to mention on this hammer is the warranty. Stiletto honors their tools with a one year free of defect warranty. What this means is that if your hammer is damaged through regular wear and use over this year Stiletto will replace parts or all of the hammer. Now I can’t speak for them on all of their exact policies but I can link you to their official homepage and their contact information in case something does go wrong with your purchase. Click here to visit their page.

The Cons

Ok folks it is on the cons. Truth be told there really aren’t that many with this hammer. I’m going to break this down into three separate pieces that we can focus on.

  1. The first and most noticeable is the price. Keep in mind that prices change nearly daily but as I write this the cost of this is around seventy to ninety dollars depending on where you shop. (I prefer Amazon.com.) Those of you who are used to paying thirty or forty max for a hammer may be taken aback by this price but I can assure you that this is a good investment. The hammer will get the job done and your body will thank you for it. Just think no more sore elbows and shoulders…
  2. The second con is the wooden handle. Yes, yes, I know I said that the wooden handle was a pro above. Well, it is. The wood absorbs the shocks much better but as you know wooden handles are prone to breaking. Maybe you were a little rough with your hammer and the wooden handle snapped during a job. Or maybe you’ve had it for a few years and the handle eventually breaks over time. Regardless of how it happens it will happen to you. The question is do you want to bother with buying extra handles and wedging them into the head again and again or do you want to go for the one piece construction? (Steel hammers or one piece Titanium hammers.)
  3. Lastly is the manufacturing. This is made by the Stiletto company out of Sacramento, California but after reading numerous reviews on this product it seems that Stiletto has moved their manufacturing from California over to China. Now, this doesn’t mean bad quality all of the time. The Chinese’s quality has definitely improved over the past twenty years. No longer are they the cheap knock offs that they once were. Heck, I can remember when Japanese cars were seen as cheap and now I’m driving a Toyota.  All of this is assuming that Stiletto did move their manufacturing over to China. According to their website they still state that their hammers are made in Winton, California. So, at this point who knows? But, if you’re a true red blooded American and have to buy American you may look at the Estwing branded hammers instead.

 

Conclusion

Overall this is a good quality hammer and in my opinion is well worth the extra cost. Besides the cons that I mentioned above I would say this hammer is a buy and qualifies for the ToughAssTool stamp of approval. If we look at Amazon.com we can see that this product has over one-hundred user reviews and the overall rating is at 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. The only negative publicity on this hammer were the breaking of the handle and the country of manufacturing both of which were mentioned in my cons section.

The question that you have to ask yourself is are you wanting the standard framing hammer with the steel head, the one with the Titanium head for a little bit more money, or do you want the premium all Titanium one piece model? The choice is yours my friends but I hope that I was able to provide you with a little bit more information.

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

 

Most of the time when people think of hammers they think of the steel head and the wooden handle. It’s just the most common type of hammer out there and that type has been used for centuries. What people don’t realize is that there are actually quite a bit of variety when it comes to choosing the type of hammer and the handle of your hammer. Along with the wooden handle you also have steel, fiberglass, and even titanium. Yes, you heard right… titanium.

This article is going to dive into the pros and cons of each handle type and what is going to be best for you and your wallet. Without any further introduction let’s dive in.

Wooden Handles

Wooden Hammer Handle

It’s always best to start with the classics and that my friends would be the wooden hammer handle. The tried and true. I can guarantee that most of you already have one of these hanging in your garage. Hopefully, you weren’t like me and left the darned thing outside over the weekend during a rain storm. Now the wood on my only two year old hammer is starting to rot and warp. Whenever I get around to it, or if I do, I’m going to have to swap handles out for a new one and try not to make that mistake again. (I probably will.)

That short tangent brings me to my first point on wooden handles. They rot. They warp. They break. All of this will eventually happen to your wooden handled hammer. It’s a fact. It’s just a matter of time. Now, if you take care of your wooden hammer and keep it in the garage and use it with care you very well may see decades of use out of it but if you’re a little rough with your tools like I am then you may end up swapping handles out pretty regularly.

The other downside of wooden handles besides the rot and wear and tear is the two piece construction. If you go for the  steel or titanium handles you’ll find that most of them are one piece construction units. This is done so that you don’t even have a chance of the head separating from the handle. With the wooden handle the head will loosen over time and will have to be rewedged and you also have the risk of the handle snapping in half on you over extended use.

But hey, that’s enough bad news on the wooden handles. Let’s take a look at a couple big benefits. The first is that wooden handles absorb recoil and impacts when striking much much better than their steel or fiberglass counterparts. It’s understandable really. I mean if you think hitting a baseball with a wooden bat versus a steel bat. With the wooden you feel the impact of the ball but it’s just for a second. The wood absorbs the rest. When you make contact with the steel the bat reverberates the impact all throughout it and into your arms and shoulders. The same principal applies with the steel hammer.

Many carpenters prefer the wooden handles due to the shock absorption but also due to the balance of the hammer. Carpenters claim that even though the wooden hammers are much better balanced than steel or fiberglass. This balance makes swings smoother and makes their job that much easier. Couple the balance with the shock absorption and you have a favorite amongst professionals.

If you’re going to be swinging a hammer all day like those professionals than it will make the most sense for you to get a wooden handled hammer. Yes, you’ll have to replace handles time after time but your body will be thanking you for not having the hard impacts of the steel handle. Get your wooden handled hammers today on Amazon.com!

Fiberglass Handles

Fiberglass Hammer Handle
Fiberglass Hammer Handle

Alright so in between the wooden and steel handles we have fiberglass. Fiberglass handles are still fairly new to the market but have been quickly replacing wooden handles left and right. Some stores have even gone as far as not even stocking the wooden handles anymore. Price wise fiberglass comes in just a little bit higher than wood but the fiberglass handle will end up lasting you longer than your standard wooden.

Fiberglass handles will not shrink on you and the head will not come loose after periods of use like their wooden counterparts. While fiberglass hammers are mostly not one piece construction they are more durable than wooden and will usually last much longer than your typical Hickory handle. While they are more durable it is worth mentioning that some people have experienced brittleness on fiberglass hammers that had been left out and exposed to ultra-violet light over a period of time. I don’t see this being a problem as I can assume that most of you keep your tools in your garage or in a steel toolbox in the back of your pickup. If your fiberglass handle does break you will find it is much more difficult to replace than your typical Hickory wedged hammer. The toughness of the fiberglass makes it difficult to unwedge the remaining handle.  The last thing I’ll mention on the handle is that some people like to mold and modify their hammer’s handles so that it more closely fits their grip. This is easily done with a Hickory handle but is practically impossible with a fiberglass.

Fiberglass handles have slightly more recoil than your wooden handles but significantly less than your steel hammers. I would describe it as your middle of the road option. If you want the increased durability but don’t want to put your body through the extra shock of using a steel hammer than this would be the hammer for you. Get yours on Amazon today!

Steel Handles

Steel Hammer Handle

Wooden may be the most popular hammer on the market today but their steel counterparts are quickly giving them a run for their money. Going back to my baseball analogy I can say that right off the bat that steel hammers are extremely durable. Most of the time when you are looking at a steel handle you’ll notice that the head and the handle are one piece forged construction. This baby isn’t going to break on you. The head and the handle are forged together so there is no risk of the thing flying off during a swing and striking you in the shoulder.

Another pro for the steel hammer is that they are really about the same cost as a wooden one. You would think they would be a bit more since they are one piece construction and you never worry about replacing handles but they are right around the same price. Even looking on Amazon.com you can see that the difference is minimal.

The downside of the steel hammer, as I mentioned before, is the recoil. When you are swinging that hammer time after time for a twelve hour day you start to feel those vibrations ring through the hammer and into your arm, elbow, and shoulder after every swing. At the end of the day your arm is crying out for mercy but you have to get up and do it all over again. Steel handle manufacturers have attempted to solve this problem by developing and patenting new handle cushions made from various types of rubber, leather, and polys. The goal is to have a shock reduction cover that still gives you the benefit of the steel hammer but takes away, or at least lessens, the impact of each strike.

If you’re going to be swinging a hammer all day every day I would recommend the wooden handle. However, if you’re only using the hammer sparingly and want one that is going to last forever than I would recommend that you choose the steel. Get your steel hammer on Amazon.com today.

Titanium Handles

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face HammerAlright folks. I couldn’t write this post without mentioning this monster. Titanium. A titanium hammer. I’m normally don’t get so excited about hammers but this thing is damn cool. It’s made by the Stiletto company out of California (Yes, American made.) and it is a solid one piece construction of Titanium. That one piece construction coupled with the Titanium manufacturing ensure that if you buy this hammer it will last multiple lifetimes. You could pass this thing down to your grand kids.

Titanium weighs forty-five percent less than steel. What that means is that you get the driving power and force of steel but in an overall less heavy package. You get that force and you don’t have to tire yourself out near as much. I did a review on one of these hammers the other day and the fifteen ounce version swings with the same amount of force as a twenty-eight ounce steel one. That is quite the number. You’ll be able to drive most nails with the one two swing.

The question that I’m sure is on all of your minds is what the recoil or shock of Titanium hammers. Well my friends, you’ll be surprised to know that Titanium has ten times less the recoil than your typical steel hammer. So, you have this forever hammer with significantly less recoil than your steel counterpart. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The only downside to these types of hammers is… you guessed it. Price. Titanium doesn’t come cheap. After all it’s the same metal that we make spacecraft and missiles with. Most hammers range between ten dollars upwards to fifty for a nice framing hammer. This baby will cost you nearly two-hundred dollars… if not more. I know. I know. It sounds like a lot for just a hammer but let me be the first to tell you that this is not JUST a hammer. It’s my baby and it can be yours too! Click here to get yours on Amazon.com today.

Conclusion

Each hammer is different and each handle has their own benefits. The question is what is best for you and what type of application are you looking for? Are you the handyman who uses their hammer daily? Are you the Do-It-Yourselfer looking for an ever-last hammer? Or, are you the professional who is looking for a top grade titanium hammer? The choice is up to you my friends.

Thanks for reading,

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

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

When you are buying a hammer you may notice that some of the claws on the hammer are straight while others are curved. This is intentional and the reason for this basically boils down to a couple of things. What do you intend to use the hammer for? Obviously, to hammer nails but what other functions are you looking for? Is this just going to be your standard hammer to have around the house or are you planning on doing a big job with this hammer? The answer to that question will help you decide on what kind of product that you need.

.

Curved Claw Hammer

The curved claw as shown below is geared towards more novice carpenters or for the typical weekend do-it-yourselfer. It will get the job done and will also allow you to easily extract nails out of two by fours, trim work, or any other kind of material. This is the standard hammer that most people are familiar with and is the product that most of you will end up buying.

Curved Claw on a Hammer

 

Rip Claw Hammer

The straight, or rip, claw on other hammers are mainly meant for professionals. I say this because the straightened claw on a hammer has a multitude of uses such as demolition, prying apart boards, splitting wood, and yes even for pulling nails out. Many people describe the straight edge as a makeshift hatchet and that is the best way to think about it. This mini hatchet will allow you to wedge it in between boards or other materials and then to pry them apart. Another way to think of it as a pry-bar.

The rip claw hammers are typically more expensive and also come in at larger sizes. Not all rip claws are framing hammers but most framing hammers are rip claws. I wrote a few articles on these hammers the other day that you may find interesting. You can find them by clicking here for the the best framing hammers or by clicking here for the best rip hammers.

Rip Claw on a Hammer
Rip Claw on a Hammer

Conclusion

Rather your buying a claw or a rip hammer it’s best to know what you are getting into before your purchase. Will you spend the extra money for the straigthened claw or will you go with the standard hammer purchase? The choice is up to you but I hope that I was able to answer your question.

Thanks,

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

Ease of Use
Durability
Effectiveness
Expense
Summary
Stiletto's Ti-Bone framing hammer is the end all be all of hammers. It honestly doesn't get better than this folks. This hammer is a one piece construction and is made out of titanium, yes that's right titanium. You get all of the benefits of a steel framing with an overall much lighter product. The only downside of this product is the price and well folks if you want the best hammer than you got to pay for it!
4.2

Buy Now!

Rather you are a professional carpenter, a do-it-yourselfer, or a hobbyist messing around in his garage during the weekends you cannot find a better hammer than Stiletto’s Ti-Bone framing hammer. This thing just screams quality.

Pros

Let’s get the biggest selling point out there right off the bat. This hammer is a one piece construction product and is manufactured from Titanium rather than steel. You heard me right, Titanium. The very same metal that is used in spacecrafts and missiles.Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

So, you have two things going for this hammer right away. The first being the one piece construction. Having the hammer in one solid piece eliminates the odds of the head separating from the handle or even of the handle breaking. I’ve never been a fan of wedged head hammers. There is just too much chance that it will break on you. There is nothing more frustrating then working on a job, especially offsite, only to have your tools fail on you. The second thing going for this is the titanium. As I said before this is the stuff used in spacecraft. It’s not going to break on you. So you have the one piece construction along with titanium. If you buy this hammer I guarantee that it will not break on you.

The hammer itself only weighs about fifteen ounces. While that may sound like a little hammer it is important to remember that titanium is forty-five percent lighter than steel. With that in mind this little fifteen ounce hammer has the striking power of a twenty-eight ounce steel one. You get the benefit of having a heavy hitting hammer but without the detriment of having to lug a monster around with you all day.

The handle extends out to eighteen inches which is about average for your typical framing hammer. A reoccurring problem with framing hammers, especially steel models, is recoil. The impact of driving in nails with a heavier tool swing after swing for hours at a time can take a toll on your wrist or your elbow. If not watched carefully it can even lead to injury. Most steel hammer manufacturers opted for a variety of shock absorbing covers around the handle of the hammer. These could be made of various types of rubbers, nylons, or poly materials. Most of the time they did a decent job about lessening the recoil impact but it was still there. With the Stiletto Ti-Bone hammer you need not worry about a thick and slippery cover. It doesn’t need it. This Titanium constructed hammer has ten times less the recoil than your standard steel hammer. Add that to the fact that you are swinging a much lighter hammer with the same amount of force of those larger hammers and the risk of injury goes down substantially. The cover that is on the Stiletto was engineered for your grip and to reduce risk of slippage during swings.

The head of this hammer had many features as well. Honestly, you wouldn’t think the head would have so much to talk about but there are quite a bit. Let’s start with Stiletto’s patented side nail puller. This claw will allow you to extract 16P nails out with one quick one-hundred and eighty degree motion. See below picture. No going back and forth struggling to extract nails. This will be fast and easy.

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer Claw
Ti-Bone Claw

So, we’ve got the claw, but what else is there to talk about on the head. Quite a bit actually. Along with the claw we have Stiletto’s magnetic nail starter. This will allow you to start your drive without the hassle of losing your nail or dropping it. And we all know that when we drop a nail it doesn’t just fall a few inches. It falls and then rolls away into the hardest to reach spot.

In addition to the magnetic nail starter the head also comes with a milled or edged face. The edged face allows you not to lose traction when finishing your drive. While the edged faced is pretty standard across most framing hammers the Stiletto’s version has a leg up on the competition. If you look at the picture below you will see that the inside of the head of this hammer is hollow. This was done for two reasons. The first being to lessen the overall weight of the hammer to make it easier to swing. The second reason was to provide a quick and easy way for you to change the face of your hammer. Yes, that’s right this hammer comes with a removable and replaceable face. So, when your face is worn out after a year or two all you have to do is buy a replacement product, unscrew the bolt, pop her in, and there you go. And if you find that you don’t like the milled face you can buy a replacement with a smooth face. It’s as simple as that.

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

While I touched on the durability of the product earlier when mentioning the Titanium build I did not mention where this product was manufactured. It seems like nowadays everything is imported from overseas but this hammer is one of the few products that are still manufactured here in the States. Stiletto Tool Company traces it’s days all the way back to the 1840’s gold rush in California. (I’m sure all of those gold miners needed quality hammers.) They started in Sacramento and have since expanded around the country. The hammer itself is produced in their facility in Winston, California.

The hammer comes with a one year limited warranty against defects in craftsmanship or materials. What this means is that if you buy this hammer today on Amazon.com and it arrives damaged you can file a complaint against the seller to get your money back. However, if after only a month’s worth of use you notice that the thing is falling apart you can get your product replaced by filling out a warranty form which can be found on Stiletto’s website.  Now, the likelihood of this hammer breaking apart on you is very low but it is good to know that you are covered in the off chance that it does.

Cons

Honestly the only con or downside to this hammer that I could find after scouring the internet was how expensive it is. Most hammers are between fifteen dollars upwards to fifty for a decent one. Keep in mind that prices change rather constantly but today as I write this the Stiletto Ti-Bone is going for just shy of two-hundred dollars. Yes, I know that is a lot of money just for a hammer. The thing to remember though is this a hammer that is going to last forever. This is the kind of hammer that can be passed down on and on for generations to come. There is no wooden handle to rot away. The titanium will be there and be with you always hanging in your garage waiting for you to use it.

The other point to make on this hammer that could potentially make it a Con is theft. I have seen it so many times. You leave your tools and step away for a few minutes. Maybe you’re taking a piss. I don’t know. But there is an opportunity and when you come back you’ll find that your prized Stiletto has walked off never to be seen again. Be sure that you keep this thing locked down and in your sight especially if you’re going to be working at a busy job sight.

Conclusion

The Stiletto Ti-Bone is one tough ass tool, take it from me… I know! Seriously though folks this is one of the best hammers on the market today. There are even a few Amazon reviewers comparing the hammer to that of Thor’s from the Avenger’s movies. If this was your standard everyday hammer than you wouldn’t see that.

I gave this hammer a 4.2 out of 5.0 rating and the only reason I deducted points was due to the cost. Like I said before this hammer is near damn perfect the only problem is a lot of people don’t want to end up spending two-hundred dollars on a hammer. But, if you are one of those only the best people than I highly suggest you get this Stiletto on Amazon now!

Also, one last thing. This particular hammer is the edged, or waffle faced, version. Now I know most of you framers prefer the waffle face but in the off chance that you’re wanting a smooth face then click this link to be taken to the smooth faced version.

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

Alec John Johnson

ToughAssTools.com

 

Fiskars IsoCore 20 oz General Use Hammer, 15.5 Inch

Let me paint you a picture. You’re outside. It’s in the middle of July in Kansas. The temperature is over one-hundred degrees. You had put off building a new deck for the last few months and now when you finally get the time to start it is in the middle of this heat wave. Your hammer that your father used and that his father used before him is sitting on the ground next to you. Most of the wooden handle is next to your foot. The head of the hammer, along with what is left of your broken handle lies a few feet away. Sweat is pouring off your head as you stare at the broken hammer before you. You could try and unwedge the wood from the head of the hammer and start over again with a new handle, but would it be worth it? Or, would it make more sense to get yourself a new hammer? Would it make more sense to get something that is going to last you a lifetime? That’s where we come in at ToughAssTools

What to Look For

So, you’re in the market for a new hammer but you don’t want to buy just anything off the shelf. You want something that is going to last, something that you can pass down to your son. We’re going to take some of the guesswork out of this for you by suggesting three different hammers for you to choose from but before we get into that let’s dive into a few points that should be considered before buying  hammer. There are so many options that can be chose from but in this article we are going to act like you are your average do-it-yourselfer. You’re not looking for a top of the line framing hammer but instead a standard sixteen to twenty ounce rip hammer.

The first thing that should be considered is the handle. If you have a bad handle then the best head in the world isn’t going to make a difference. When people picture a hammer they envision the metal head and the wooden, most likely hickory, handle. This is for good reason. It’s been the typical hammer for centuries. But, we’re in the twenty-first century now and it is time to do away with the old school and bring in the new. The best handles nowadays are either going to be steel or fiberglass. The wooden handles, as shown in the short story above, tend to break rather easily. This leaves you with a broken handle and the pain of having to get a new handle and wedge it into the head. The fiberglass handles are much more resistant to wood from breaking but are still wedged into the head. In my opinion the best of the best is going to be steel. A steel handle is normally a one piece construction throughout. This removes all doubt of the head separating from the handle. The only downside of a steel handle is that the reverberations are more intense and may cause some discomfort in the user’s wrist or elbow. (There are shock absorbing handle covers that come with some hammers to offset this.) Most handles come in between sixteen to twenty inches. In an effort to lower the weight of the hammer some manufacturers have taken to lightening the weight of the head and extending the handle of the hammer. This extension allows for the same force as a shorter hammer but lowers the overall weight of the hammer.

The second thing to look for is the type of claw that you will be getting with your hammer. Most people recommend to get the standard straight claw also known as a rip claw. This is easiest when trying to extract nails or tacks or to even try to wedge into some boards. The curved claw is meant for more intricate work such as pulling small finish nails out of your work with little or no damage to the wood. For the average DIYer I would recommend the straight claw.

Thirdly, is the actual face of the hammer. If you look at framing hammers you will notice that most of them have a serrated or edged faces. This is done to make it easier to grip onto the nails when driving. This feature is mainly used by full time carpenters and is not a necessity for a do-it-yourselfer. The risk you run when using a milled or edged face is that you can leave impact marks on your finished product. This possibility alone scares off most novice carpenters.

Sticking with the face of the hammer there is another option that some hammers come with. That is the magnetic face. The purpose of this is to allow the nails to stick slightly so that when you begin driving the nail will not fall and roll away during a swing. This is a luxury feature and again is not needed for the do-it-yourselfer. But, if you want pay a little bit more the feature won’t hurt anything.

The last thing to consider when buying a hammer is the weight. You will see all different kinds of weights on Amazon.com when looking at rip hammers. (Example link of the Stanley 51-163.) The weight of the hammer is calculated by weighing the entire unit. (Not just the head but everything.) Most DIYs only really need a hammer between sixteen to twenty ounces. Anything larger than that may be cumbersome to use. The larger the hammer the more power you have but also the more damage you can cause. (To yourself or to your project.) You’ll notice that woodcrafters use some of the lightest hammers out there so that they can finish their work with the utmost care.

Good, Better, Best

Ok, ladies and gentlemen we have gone over what to look for in a hammer. Now it is time to dig into a few of the hammers that are out on the market today. What I like to do when looking at something to buy, especially a tool, is to take the Good, Better, Best approach. What is this you may ask? Well, in my opinion there are three types of consumers in this world. The first being the ones who only want to pay the bare minimum, the second is the middle of the road guy who can afford to spend a little bit more, and the third being the premium money is no object kind of guy. We all wish we could be that last guy but the truth is most of fall into the either the second or first category.

Now with the Good, Better, Best approach I do not like to recommend junk. Hence the name Good. I will recommend a good product that will last for some time but if you want a nicer product than we can move up to the better and if you want the premium then we move up to the best. In this article I am going to choose a rip hammer based off the model I discussed above. The question is what kind of consumer are you? (I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the bare minimum guy!)

Good

TEKTON 30124 Jacketed Fiberglass Rip Hammer

TEKTON 30124 Jacketed Fiberglass Rip Hammer, 20-OunceBuy Now!

Let’s start with the Good.  For the money it doesn’t really get better than this folks. If you are one of those guys who don’t want to spend a lot of money than this is your baby. The TEKTON offers quite a bit even at it’s lower cost.

Just like we talked about earlier in the article the TEKTON avoids the hickory handle and opts in for the more durable fiberglass. While the fiberglass is stronger than the wood we still don’t get to the level of a one piece construction hammer. The manufacturer of this hammer claims that the ‘head is permanently bonded to the handle,‘ but I am sure that most of you know that permanent doesn’t mean permanent . There is still a risk of this handle breaking or of the head becoming loose after repeated use. But, hey this is the budget hammer and not the top of the line.

With a fiberglass handle you have a more sturdy hammer but you also have higher impact vibrations when using. Over extended periods of use these impacts can cause injury to your wrist or elbow. In an effort to solve this dilemma TEKTON added a molded impact absorbing poly-jacket to the handle. While the impacts are obviously still there this jacket lessens them significantly and will allow for extended use with a much lower risk of injury. The jacket also comes with an anti-slip grip will work even in the sweatiest of circumstances.

The 30124 TEKTON comes in at just over 1.8 pounds and has a total length of thirteen inches. The head of the hammer is your basic generic head. There is nothing special about it but again we are at the cheapest price level. There is no milled or edged face on this one. There are no magnets in place to hold your nails up right. The one thing worth mentioning on the head of this hammer is the claw. The hammer that I suggested above is a straight claw that has sharpened chisel ends. This will allow you to wedge that claw in between a couple of tightly fitted boards and start prying away. An example picture from TEKTON’s website is shown below. I can almost hear the wood splitting…

Overall this is a great hammer for the guy on a budget. I scoured the internet looking for any kind of negative feedback on this thing and I honestly couldn’t find any. The worst that I could find was that in some instances the molded jacket comes slightly loose from the fiberglass handle. This caused some slippage when attempting to hammer. Besides that, there really isn’t anything negative about this product.

If we look at Amazon.com we can see that there are thirty plus reviews out there and they are all nearly five stars. I know I’ve said it before but you aren’t going to find anything better at this price range. If you were wondering why this hammer was so cheap you could probably guess why. It’s imported, from China. Now, before you cringe that actually doesn’t mean what it used to. Chinese products have been getting better and better over the years and again you get what you pay for.

If you are on the tight budget than this is your hammer. However, if you are looking for the next step up and an American made product then I suggest that you continue reading below.

Better

Estwing E20S 20 oz Straight Claw Hammer with Smooth Face & Leather Grip

Estwing E20S 20 oz Straight Claw Hammer with Smooth Face & Leather Grip

Buy Now!

Ok, folks it is onwards and upwards to the better hammers on the market. This next one I am really a fan of. It is made by the Estwing company. For those of you who are not familiar with them they started all the way back in 1923 and are quickly approaching the centennial mark. Their company was founded and is still located today in Rockford, Illinois. (About an hour west of Chicago.) They do their own manufacturing and their hammers are American made. Yes, you heard right these hammers are made by your neighbor.

One of the things Estwing is famous for is their solid steel construction. Just like in the introduction and with the first hammer the worst thing to happen during a job is your handle breaking or the head becoming unwedged. You have to stop everything your doing to fix or to get a new hammer. It is a pain in the ass. You don’t have that worry with this Estwing product. It is a one piece steel construction that will not break. Once they have finished smelting the hammer they go the extra mile and do a full polish of the metal before sending it to the consumer.

The total length of the hammer comes in at twelve and a half inches and with a total weigh just over one pound. The handle comes with a leather grip which is rather unusual. Most of the time you will see a rubber or nylon grip to reduce shock when hammering. While the leather is decorative and looks nice on the eyes it’s overall effectiveness on absorbing shock is less than the Nylon versions that I have seen. Another concern of mine was that the leather would be slippery when working on a job and would cause you to lose your grip. I read a few reviews and one of them stuck out to me, “The grip does start off slippery compared to your everyday hammer but it will “break-in” and not only look better, it starts to have a better grip.”  That reviewer claimed to have this Estwing product for over four years. So, maybe that is the trick. You just have to wear down the leather almost like a baseball glove. That being said there are still other reviewers out there who have claimed that the leather is just too slippery. In some instances people have claimed that it flew out of their hands during a swing.

The head on this hammer is not edged or milled but that is ok for your standard hammer. This head comes rounded and holds up over the years without any major quality issues. The head is not magnetized either. There are no bells and whistles here. The claw is your standard straight rip and won’t give you any trouble extracting nails or wedging between boards.

Overall this is a high quality hammer that is going to last you for decades. Yes, decades. Estwing has been doing this for over one-hundred years and I can assure you that they know what they are doing. In the off chance that your hammer does break they even offer a warranty on their steel hammers. More info can be found by clicking here and going to their official website.

The only thing negative on this hammer is the leather grip and even that is controversial. Some people love it and others hate it. It just depends if it is your style or not. Although it would be pretty neat to pass this hammer down in ten or fifteen years to your son. The leather would be perfect by then! If we take a look at Amazon.com we can see that there are nearly three-hundred reviews out there and nearly everyone is between four and five stars. All of the low star ones are complaining about that darned leather handle. No other complaints found.

If you’re looking for a rip hammer that is going to last you forever but not break the bank than this is the one for you. However, if you’re still left wanting more than by all means keep reading my friends.

Best

Fiskars IsoCore 20 oz General Use Hammer, 15.5 Inch

Fiskars IsoCore 20 oz General Use Hammer, 15.5 Inch

Buy Now!

This one was a toss up folks. I was torn between going the Estwing or the Fiskars for the best rip hammer on the market today. After some internal debate I decided to go with the Fiskars. Both of them are great hammers but the thing that sold me on the Fiskars is the handle. Remember that leather handle from before? While it looks nice hanging in your garage it doesn’t do much for shock absorption. The Fiskars comes with a patented Shock Control System that claims to reduce shock and vibration by up to four times. Along with the shock absorption system the handle also comes with a soft grip feature that sculpts to your hand, large and small dimples where you fingers rest to prevent blisters, and it is one piece construction so there is no risk of the head separating from your handle. But hey, don’t listen to me check out the YouTube video talking about this hammer’s shock absorption:

We have a one piece solid steel construction that is finished with a rust resistant coating ensuring that your hammer will last. We have an amazing shock absorbing handle that will help with any carpel tunnel or elbow issues you may have and will not cause you to lose your grip unlike the leather handle. We also have a magnetic nail starter as well. The first two hammers didn’t even have that. Could this thing get better? Yes. It also comes with a Full Lifetime Warranty.  So, in the off chance this thing does break you are insured. (Click here to visit their official website for more information.)

The hammer comes in at fifteen and a half inches long and weighs in at just shy of two pounds. The head of this hammer is rounded. There is no edging or serration like a framing hammer but again you probably won’t need that. If you are looking for a serrated edge or a more heavy duty hammer than I recommend you check out my article on the best framing hammers.

While Fiskars is not an American made product it is not a cheap import by any means. If you weren’t aware Fiskars is a Scandinavian owned company that was founded all the way back in the 1600s. Four-hundred years old. Four-hundred years of making tools. I couldn’t find rather or not if this tool was made in Scandinavia or if it was made here in the US or even in China. As far as Amazon.com the jury is still out on this. I usually like to use them as my barometer on rather a tool is of good quality or not. At the time that I am writing this there are only seven reviews of the product on file. That being said everyone of these reviews are rated five stars out of five. So, that is saying something.

With all of the benefits this hammer has to offer I can proudly say that this is one ToughAssTool and will make a great addition to your garage. The question you have to ask yourself now is are you a Good, Better, or Best guy?

Conclusion

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help in your buying decision!

Alec John Johnson

Owner.

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

I don’t know about you but I am sick and damn tired of my hammer breaking or even snapping in half. Maybe I’m too rough with my tools. Maybe I don’t know what I am doing but it seems that every time I get my hands on your everyday typical hammer I end up breaking the darned thing. With my last one I was trying to ding some dents out of my lawn mower’s blade. I had hit what was left of a tree I had cut down last year. (I forgot to remove the stump.) The hit caused the blade to bend in ways it never should have. I took the blade out and laid it flat on my work bench and attempted to hammer it straight again. After a few good hits I was starting to see progress. The blade was slowly beginning to return to it’s normal shape. It was after about the fifth or sixth hit that the head of the hammer separated from the wooden base and went flying into the garage wall. It all happened so fast that at first I didn’t even know what had happened. All I heard was the THUMP sound of the claw digging into my garage’s drywall.

I’m one of those guys who can’t stand spending money. In the past if I got a tool it was the cheapest one in the building. I’d walk into Orschelins and stare at the display of hammers looking for the cheapest priced one. The prospect of it falling apart on me in a few months didn’t occur to me. There was just something about saving that money upfront that appealed to me. Since I’m starting this site I am going to make it a mission to only buy nicer tools. I want things that last. I just got into my thirties now. The time for cheap shit is over. I need things that are going to last and last a good long time.

That brings me to my post. Forget the cheap piece of shit hammer with the wooden base. Let’s get this job done and done right. No more half-assing it. That my friends is why we will be looking at the various types of solid steel framing hammers. Yes, I know that these are meant for driving nails in but hey it can be used as a blunt instrument too to straighten out lawnmower blades… right…right? Don’t judge me.

So, before we dig into the actual pros and cons of each framing hammer out there let’s do an overall view of the benefits a framing hammer has to offer:

  • A solid steel framing hammer is by default much heavier than your average hammer. Your average hammer comes in at just over a pound. Your framing hammer comes in at over two pounds, sometimes even bigger than that. While an extra pound may not sound like that big of a difference it is important to note that you are doubling the weight of your hammer and the force of your strikes. More weight equals more force when you swing. Instead of hitting a nail five to six times you will only need to do a double tap to fasten it securely. You know that whole inertia thing that we learned in science class.
  • The framing hammer is going to last you a long time. Unlike your typical hammer with the metal top and the wooden base the framing hammer will not fall apart on you. To be honest there really isn’t a way for it to break. It’s one piece of solid steel. The worst thing that can happen is the grip may start to wear down over the years.
  • Along with the durability and extra weight the framing hammer also comes with a longer handle than your standard application. Framing hammers are typically around six inches longer than your standard. This longer handle makes it easier to use as well as providing more leverage against whatever you are driving in.
  • Framing hammers were designed for heavy duty use by trade carpenters or craftsmen. That being said it is a very valuable tool for the at home do-it-yourself-er. It can aid in building a bookshelf, finishing your basement, or even working on putting together your kid’s new playground. (Not a fun time… trust me.)
  • Lastly most framing hammers come with a serrated face that prevents the hammer from slipping off nails. Not having the frustration of slipping off the nail each and every time when working on a project is worth the extra money alone. An example of the serrated face can be seen in the below image. Some of these hammers even come with a magnetized head. So, not only do you have the serrated edged face but you also have magnets holding your nail in place. They couldn’t make this any easier for us folks.
Framing Hammer Serrated Face
Framing Hammer Serrated Face

Why use a Framing Hammer?

Well, just as the name says a framing hammer is used for just that, framing. What does that mean exactly? Well, the intention of this hammer is to be used when putting up the foundation of whatever you are building. Think of the guts of you house. The two-by-fours and four-by-sixes holding your house together. This is where a framing hammer is used.

You wouldn’t use a framing hammer to finish a product but you would use it to drive a bunch of nails on the frame of a new garage. In most cases you will see experienced carpenters carry at least a couple of hammers with them. They use their best judgement on what hammer to use on each situation.

For example, you wouldn’t use a framing hammer to nail in the new trim trim that you are installing in your living room. The force of the blow may cause the thin trim board to splinter and it also is worth mentioning that most framing hammers have a grooved head. If you hit the trim too hard with the grooved head you risk denting it and even imprinting the head’s markings onto the trim. It just wouldn’t look good.

Good, Better, Best

Alright, so we’ve got the introduction of the hammer out of the way and why you need one over your standard everyday hammer. What I like to do when looking at something to buy, especially a tool, is to take the Good, Better, Best approach. What is this you may ask? Well, in my opinion there are three types of consumers in this world. The first being the ones who only want to pay the bare minimum, the second is the middle of the road guy who can afford to spend a little bit more, and the third being the premium money is no object kind of guy. We all wish we could be that last guy but the truth is most of fall into the either the second or first category.

Now with the Good, Better, Best approach I do not like to recommend junk. Hence the name Good. I will recommend a good product that will last for some time but if you want a nicer product than we can move up to the better and if you want the premium then we move up to the best. In this article I am going to choose a framing hammer based off the model I discussed above. The question is what kind of consumer are you? (I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the bare minimum guy!)

Good

Stanley 51-402 FatMax 22-Ounce

Stanley 51-402 FatMax 22-Ounce

Buy Now!

Alright folks. So you want yourself a framing hammer but are a little intimidated by the price? Well, I’ve got just the one for you. Let’s take a look at the Stanley 51-402 FatMax Framing Hammer. Now, like most tools that you buy nowadays this hammer is imported. I am not sure from what country but it seems that imports are the norm these days. Don’t let that scare you though. Even though this product was imported from overseas it doesn’t mean that it is not a quality hammer.

Remember how I had mentioned earlier that most framing hammers were of a one piece construction? Well, unfortunately, this one is not. The handle of this hammer is made out of Hickory. The manufacturer states that the head and the handle were ‘forged and heat treated’ for increased durability but there is still that risk of the head coming flying off after years of use. But, that is the price that you pay for getting the Good and not the Better or Best.

This hammer comes in at 2.5 pounds which is more than double the weight of your standard hammer. As we discussed above this extra weight will give you additional force when driving those nails in. Also like before the head of this hammer is checkered to allow better gripping when driving your nails in and to make things even easier the head is magnetized to ensure that your nails are not getting away.

The specifications on this hammer are as follows:

  • Claw Style – Rip
  • Face Style – Checkered
  • Handle Type – Axe
  • Head Length – 6-1/8
  • Overall Length – 18-1/4

This product is made by the StanleyTools company and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. As with most warranties there is a slew of fine print which can be read from StanleyTools’ website by clicking here. Basically, their warranty states that as long as you are not using the hammer in ways that you shouldn’t than they will replace your product if it is defective. So, if you get it in the mail and the head is already jostling around then you can visit their website through the link I provided above and get yourself a new replacement product.

Overall, this hammer has great reviews across the web. Looking at Amazon.com on this product we can see that there are nearly two-hundred and fifty reviews on file. The average rating is 4.5/5.0. That’s a ninety percent approval rating, it is hard to get better than that. The only downsides of this product that I have seen are that, like I said before, the head was separating from the handle or that the head was not fitted tightly. But even if you do have problems with the hammer staying together you have their lifetime warranty to refer to. There have been a few grumblings of the magnetic head not working well or not working at all but these complaints have been very minimal and I do not believe that they are a legitimate problem.

If you are in the market for a framing hammer but looking to save some money than this is the product for you. However, if you are looking for a better product than by all means keep on reading my friend.

Better

Estwing E3-22S 22 Ounce

Estwing E3-22S 22 Ounce Framing Hammer

Buy Now!

Now we’re getting there folks. We’re not quite a Tough-Ass quality yet but we are getting closer. If you are one of those middle of the road guys than the Estwing E3-22S Framing Hammer is the one for you. Remember how I was talking about most framing hammers being of one piece construction? Well this guy is it. The Estwing E3 is a one piece solid steel construction. This thing is not going to break no matter what you do to it. If there is one purpose to my site than this it. I want to suggest tools that are going sit on your shelf for decades. Durability is key here.

Another important note to mention on this hammer is that it is manufactured by the Estwing company. What does that mean? Well my friends the Estwing company is an American company that has been around since 1923. They are located in Rockford, Illinois and still manufacture hammers their today. No imports here. This the real deal, American made. Their official website can be found by clicking here.

While this is a one piece hammer of solid steel it wouldn’t make sense to have the handle without a cover. I can’t imagine trying to swing a steel handled hammer. It just wouldn’t be comfortable. So, what Estwing did was create a Nylon based handle and molded it right onto the steel base. This Nylon handle is unique to the Estwing company. Along with being durable the cover has a shock absorption system that minimizes the pressure of impacts with each swing. So, even though you are swinging a heavier hammer you will actually feel less impact. Lastly, the Nylon grips with your hand and makes it easier to hold on during swings even when your hands are sweating like crazy during a shingle job. A picture of the Nylon grip is below:

Nylon Grip on Estwing Hamme
Nylon Grip on Estwing Hamme

Like most framing hammers this one comes in at just over two pounds. One thing to mention is that unlike the first hammer we looked at there is NOT a magnetic head on this Estwing hammer. The head on this hammer is not checkered or serrated either. So, while you may have the one piece construction you are lacking the benefits of the edged head and the magnets. So, it’s really up to you what you think is more important.

If you buy this hammer it will come in looking brand new. The lacquer on the outside of the steel will shine and shimmer in the sunlight. No seriously, it will actually shimmer in the sunlight. The hammer has a polished silver look to it. I mention this because the only negative thing I can find on this hammer is that after seeing repeated use the silver lacquer on the outside of the hammer begins to chip and peel away. While this may look like the hammer is falling apart on you it is really not. This is jut the lacquer coming off. The actual steel construction is still there and as solid as ever. An example picture of the lacquer chipping away can be seen below.

Lacquer Coming off on Estwing Framing Hammer

 

 

 

For about the double the price of the first hammer that I recommended you get this one of a kind Estwing solid steel framing hammer. When comparing the two hammers the Estwing definitely comes out on top even without the edged head or magnets. The question you have to ask yourself is it worth paying more money. In my opinion I would say it is as this hammer will NOT break you. If you are interested in purchasing then please click here to go to Amazon.com. However, if you are one of those best of the best guys than I would recommend you check out the next hammer in this article.

Best

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer

Buy Now!

No article on this website is complete without the mention of a Tough-Ass Tool and this hammer is a prime example. The Stiletto TB15MC TiBone hammer is the best of the best. You cannot find a better hammer in my opinion. This baby is made of titanium. Yes, you heard right freaking titanium. While this is only a fifteen ounce hammer the manufacturer, and many other customers, state that it drives like a twenty-eight ounce one.

This thing comes in at two pounds which is right around the other two hammers that we looked at. The difference here is titanium is much lighter than steel. What does that mean? It means that this hammer is much denser than the steel hammer that we looked at earlier. In other words that means it is more durable and resistant to breaking.

Remember that nylon grip that I was talking about? You know, the one that reduced shock when driving nails in? Well, the Stiletto doesn’t have a nylon grip… it doesn’t need one. The titanium make of this hammer automatically reduces recoil and impact by over ten times when comparing it to steel. A reviewer from Amazon even stated that, “A little expensive but worth it, especially if your dealing with carpal tunnel like I am.” There is a still a cover on this handle but it is made of standard rubber that grips to your hand.

The handle has an axe style grip to it that slightly curves which makes driving that much easier. Just like the first hammer that we reviewed the Stiletto has a magnetized head along with a milled or edged face. To top it off this edged face is replaceable. So, after years of use you find that the edging has chipped or smoothed away all you have to do is buy a replacement from Stiletto’s website. (The link is here to their company website.)

Other hammers come with a lifetime warranty. Now, I’m not sure how big of a deal this really is. I mean who is going to keep their paperwork for decades down the road until your tool eventually breaks? I’m not that organized. The Stiletto comes with a one year warranty that ensures the hammer is free of any defects or manufacturing errors. If you receive your hammer and find that it is damaged then all you have to do is visit Stiletto’s website and view their return policy. The link to their return section can be found by clicking here.

Another thing worth mentioning on this hammer is the nail side puller. Stiletto claims that they have a new patented puller that will ease out 16P nails out with one one-hundred and eighty degree motion. I was a little skeptical so I checked some of the reviews looking for any mention of the nail puller. One buyer stated that, “I can’t say enough good things about the side nail puller!”  

There are only two downsides to this hammer that I can find. The first is obvious, and that is the price. This is not a cheap hammer. But, as I stated above we are in the Best category right now. I am going to recommend the best framing hammer out there that I can find and this ladies and gentlemen is it. I mean just look at how they ship their product. (Picture below.) I’m sure if you bought some cheapo hammer on Amazon it would not come to you like that.

Stiletto TB15MC TiBone Packaging

The second downside to this hammer is the length of the handle. Now, some people may see this as a benefit but others complain about it. Honestly, from what I can see and from what I have read it has the typical standard length of any framing hammer. The handle comes in at a length of 17 1/2 inches. So, yes it is long but as I have said earlier the longer the handle the more force you are going to have. It may very well be that the reason it can drive like a twenty-eight ounce hammer is due to the length of the handle.

When looking on online there are nothing but positive reviews. I struggled to find anything negative about this thing. If we look on Amazon.com we can see that this hammer over one-hundred reviews and almost all of them at four or five stars. (Overall rating of 4.5/5.0) If you are looking for a Tough-Ass Tool than this my friends is it. I highly HIGHLY recommend getting this and adding it to your tool belt.

Conclusion

In conclusion we looked at the Good, Better, and Best of the framing hammer world. The question you ask yourself is what are you going to purchase?

Thanks for reading folks and I hope that I was able to impact your buying decision!

Alec John Johnson

Tough-Ass Tools.com