Reply by Rust

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Posted on What is a California Framing Hammer?

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2 posts in 2443 days

#1 posted 11-24-2011 05:00 AM

Firstly lets back up! Following WWII house construction changed from Balloon type framing to platform. Platform framing required larger 16 penny nails and starting in the 50’s cement coated nails started to be used for greater holding power however, they required a heavier hammer size head to drive them. Starting out on the West Coast carpenters began to use riggers hatchets and then later cannibalized them welding rip claws from hammers to them. This started the Californian framing hammer! As platform framing was done on the flat longer handled hammers made sense and they could be a lot heavier without causing fatigue. Typically a riggers hatchet weighed in around 28 oz. The post that mentions the 16” handle is getting confused with what sometimes are referred to as the Texas Special – a trim hammer that allows the carpenter to use the length of the handle to determine nail placement on clap board etc.

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