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Choseing a hammer!

by Beginningwoodworker
posted 07-27-2012 10:25 PM


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75 replies

75 replies so far

View jack1's profile

jack1

1953 posts in 2776 days


#1 posted 07-27-2012 10:33 PM

Go with the Estwing. I’ve had mine for 17+years still works well. I also have the hand axe that looks the same that I’ve had for 25 years and is still very sharp.
My son is a contractor and said to avoid the titaniums. They actually can hurt you because they don’t absorb the shock. He also said the Vaughn was good but he also likes the Estwing.

Jack

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#2 posted 07-27-2012 10:45 PM

I have a titanium hammer but it aint no good!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 940 days


#3 posted 07-27-2012 10:47 PM

Estwing hammers are the best…. They will last you a LIFETIME!.

-- My terrible signature...

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1833 days


#4 posted 07-27-2012 10:48 PM

I’ve had both and either is a good hammer. I currently use a 20oz Douglas that I think is the best hammer I’ve ever had in my 40 plus years as a carpenter. But they are not cheep $60 plus. If I’m not swinging this I use a 16oz Estwing with a blue handle or for fine work my 13oz Blugrass. I started out as a young man swinging a 16oz hollow steel handled True Temper, broke a lot of those.

You’ll go through many hammers in your life so enjoy each one as your craftsmanship improves.
corrected to an estwing because Sawkerf made me realize I messed up

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1817 days


#5 posted 07-27-2012 10:59 PM

Hammer choices are really subjective, and it’s all about what you prefer and are most comfortable with. My “go-to” hammer is a 16 oz Vaughn (I actuallt have two of them) with a wood handle. I have several others ranging from a 22 oz waffle faced framing hammer (Eastwing) down to an 8 oz claw hammer that I’ve had since Moby Dick was a minnow. For overall comfort, I grab one of the Vaughn’s every time.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#6 posted 07-27-2012 11:02 PM

I use nail guns for 90% of my nailing so I rather have a 16oz.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View bhog's profile

bhog

2177 posts in 1439 days


#7 posted 07-27-2012 11:45 PM

I switched from estwing to plumb.Much more comfy to me.I used estwing for yrs and my bro in law helped me on a few jobs 2 yrs ago and was sold after using his a couple times. Driving 7d up to 60d ringers you will feel a difference.They also wont spontaneously fly out of your hand as much either.Seem much more balanced.I paid a hole 24 bucks for mine.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1110 days


#8 posted 07-27-2012 11:55 PM

Stilleto titanium.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7488 posts in 1432 days


#9 posted 07-28-2012 01:34 AM

For one thing, with Uncle Arthur working on my hands, I can not hold an Estwing handle. Well I could for about one good swing, and then yell “Heads up!” because it will go flying out of my hand. I also prefer WOOD handles. For a long time, I have been using a couple 24oz rip claws. Nice long WOOD handles. Not much “shock” comes out of the handles.

Try this, if you will: Go into the store, and start picking up each type of hammer they have. Use the same swing that you’ll be using on the job. What you are looking for is control of the hammer. Can you control the swing? Hurt the hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder? Does the handle FIT you hand, and is it comfortable to hold? What might work for my hand, won’t work for your’s. Any other questions?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2750 posts in 1100 days


#10 posted 07-28-2012 02:42 AM

If you are going to be using it a lot, wood handles are the most comfortable. Of course they won’t last as long as a solid steel handle which are indestructible but wood handles can be easily customized to your grip and of course can be easily replaced when wear out.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5289 posts in 1325 days


#11 posted 07-28-2012 03:00 AM

http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=01%2E515%2E1&dept

Has anyone used and or like this style of hammer? I think the balance of the hammer and striking capabilities
would be interesting.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1325 days


#12 posted 07-28-2012 03:33 AM

I have a couple of cheap claw hammers for grunt work and a 10 oz warrington hammer that gets the most use, though I’m not happy with the fit or finish. This will be my next one.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View terry603's profile

terry603

319 posts in 1662 days


#13 posted 07-28-2012 07:08 PM

i have the estwing blue handle. i would reccommend the 20 ounce ,the 16 ounce estwing does not handle as well

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View joebloe's profile

joebloe

157 posts in 1043 days


#14 posted 07-28-2012 08:03 PM

I agree with terry603,the Estwing with blue handle ,20 oz.is a good all around hammer.that is all i used in my framing days.I had one of the Estwing with the leather rings on the handle,it looked good ,but the rivits in the end of the handle worked loose and the leather started moving back and forth and wasn’t very comfortable to use.It went back to the store and they replaced it with the blue handle hammer.I won’t buy any other hammer,than Estwing.

View jack1's profile

jack1

1953 posts in 2776 days


#15 posted 07-28-2012 09:50 PM

Sounds like you need to have more than one. I also like a good wood handle. I have an old “Plumb” that I use sometimes.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#16 posted 07-28-2012 10:34 PM

What about curve vs stright claw?

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View mtenterprises's profile

mtenterprises

837 posts in 1442 days


#17 posted 07-29-2012 02:50 PM

I have several different brands a couple Estwings both are good, a couple Stanleys, love my Plumb though. The old advertisments said they were designed to fall straight thus the name Plumb.
8-) claws are useless ball peen is better, sets the nail below the surface 8-)
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1833 days


#18 posted 07-29-2012 04:01 PM

Beginningwoodworker~ Now your just wanting to start trouble.

There are good reasons for either, straight or curved claw. I use a straight claw hammer for most of my work. The straight claws let me dig in when I’m prying or trying to get a nail started out. As for more refined work my hammers have curved claws.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#19 posted 07-29-2012 05:47 PM

I am not trying to start trouble, I am just wondering!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1833 days


#20 posted 07-29-2012 05:50 PM

Just funnin

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#21 posted 07-29-2012 05:53 PM

Ok! :)

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7488 posts in 1432 days


#22 posted 07-29-2012 06:15 PM

I would just walk into the nearest Sears store, go to the tools section, look at the hammers. Try them out. last time I broke a handle from Sears Craftsman, they gave me a new handle…Free. They also have the Estwings, and the Vaughns.

A straight claw is called a RIPPING claw because that is it’s job. Not much of a nail puller, though. I used to use mine to cut the metal banding the lumber came wrapped with. One or two good swings did the trick.


A Curved Claw will give you a lot better leverage as a nail puller.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View jack1's profile

jack1

1953 posts in 2776 days


#23 posted 07-29-2012 06:21 PM

Sounds like it’s “hammer time”!

have fun

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1833 days


#24 posted 07-29-2012 08:00 PM

One should never pull out a nail levering the handle first, that will always risk breaking the handle. You should engage the nail in the claw as deeply as possible and rotate the head bending the nail side ways. This removes most of the stress, hold the wood has, on the nail alowing the advantage of the handles leverage to then pull it out. If the nail is more difficult to remove a cat’s paw can be used for starters or even a specialty nail puller.

Fine Home Building Nail pulling Info

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1939 days


#25 posted 07-29-2012 08:11 PM

I have a cheap 20 dollar 20 oz hammer, works great never a problem.
As for the claw….well I’ve never bent a nail in my life so I’ve never had
to use that part of the hammer.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View JAGWAH's profile

JAGWAH

929 posts in 1833 days


#26 posted 07-29-2012 08:16 PM

Ha ha ha ha, never bent a nail, you make me laugh. You must use yours for a door stop. 8)

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112898 posts in 2326 days


#27 posted 07-29-2012 08:21 PM

I have used blue handled Estwing’s for years in different sizes and with waffle and smooth face.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View lwllms's profile

lwllms

548 posts in 2030 days


#28 posted 07-29-2012 08:28 PM

I spent a lot of years swinging a hammer. The Vaughn 99 is the best hammer I ever used and I used most of them. Make sure and get a wood handle if you value your shoulder, elbow and wrist. The Vaughn is better balanced than any others I’ve used. I used the 20 oz. for framing and, in the hand, it’s more like most 16 oz. hammers but drives with more authority than other heavier hammers. The 16 oz is the best finish hammer ever made. You do want the ripping claw for lifting or pulling material or breaking bands on bundled material. If you pull a nail with one push the hammer sideways, you get more leverage and won’t damage you handle.

View rejo55's profile

rejo55

175 posts in 991 days


#29 posted 07-29-2012 08:49 PM

Since I have been old enough to pick up a hammer in my Granddad’s shop, my go-to hammer has always been a long wooden handled 13 oz Plumb. While we were building our landscape timber house that little feller just wouldn’t cut the mustard driving those 6 inch ring-shank pole barn nails. I thought that a four pound engineer’s hammer (like a small sledge) would work, but that thang got heavy real quick. I then bought a 20 ounce Vaughn and it didn’t last a week until the face was slick and I bent more nails than I drove. I dumped it and got me an Estwing with the steel handle. About one day with that thing and my teeth were loose, it jarred so much. Finally I went to Sears ( who I do not like) and bought a 23 ounce California Framer (wood handled). I fell in love with the heft, balance, weight and everything about it. It drove most of the nails in our house, and Lordy, there wuz a bunch of ‘em.
So there is my two cent’s worth. For heavy work I don’t think you can beat the Craftsman California Framer. For every-day work, the long-handled 13oz Plumb. For driving a 12 or 16d nail, grab it at the end of the handle. For lighter work, choke up on the handle.
Have a good’un
Joe

-- rejo55, East Texas

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1939 days


#30 posted 07-29-2012 08:55 PM

Pretty harsh there JAGWAH, but it made me laugh!!! Okay so maybe I bent one nail…..
But I kept hammering until you couldn’t see it anymore:)

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View mtenterprises's profile

mtenterprises

837 posts in 1442 days


#31 posted 07-30-2012 03:10 AM

As you can see from rejo55’s post ”I then bought a 20 ounce Vaughn and it didn’t last a week until the face was slick and I bent more nails than I drove.” I was going to mention in my previous post that hammers have to be sharpened once in a while but I figured you guys would laugh. But all you have to do is rough up the face lightly with any type of grinder or belt sander and you are good to go.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1110 days


#32 posted 07-30-2012 08:43 PM

Check out the Stiletto Titanium.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#33 posted 07-31-2012 01:56 AM

I have a Stiletto Titanium!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7488 posts in 1432 days


#34 posted 08-02-2012 03:19 AM

I THINK I have a few, just hanging around…

Got a few others, but these are for the shop.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

486 posts in 1814 days


#35 posted 08-02-2012 08:02 PM

I prefer Plumb hammers. Curved claw 16 oz wooden Plumb is my all around weapon of choice for most non framing tasks. Then up to a 22 oz straight claw wood or glass. Don’t bother with the 12 oz Plumb carpenters hammer. Too light and balanced wrong. Use a Warrington on a Japanese model like shown above. I’ve used Estwing drywall hammers but do not like the steel shaft etc for woodwork. Still use an old Plumb roofing hammer/hatchet. We call it the “meat ax”. Just smack your thumb or finger with it once and you’ll know why. Just my opinions and I know I’m right…for me.

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

486 posts in 1814 days


#36 posted 08-02-2012 08:07 PM

Bandit571. Did you get into my tool chest and get my Plumb framer and black taped ball pein hammer? I also had a “tinners” hammer with black tape like yours too. Your shop looks like where all my old hammers went when they moved out on me! You must not abuse them like I did. LOL

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7488 posts in 1432 days


#37 posted 08-02-2012 08:14 PM

I add black tape for a grip. Tinner’s hammer is my go-to hammer for small nails, and even plane adjusting. #2oz ball is a Buckeye. The two frammers are both on their second handles. Concrete form work tends to be a little rough on them. The one facing out is a 16oz rip claw. MIGHT be a Plumb. It has a eight-sided handle. I do have a couple 16oz curved claws, for around the house. The handle showing in the toolbox is a Vaughn 24 oz ball pean, used to be in the toolbox of an Army 2-1/2 ton truck. One day an inspection showed there was too many hammers, so one had to disappear. I wonder where it went???

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View joebloe's profile

joebloe

157 posts in 1043 days


#38 posted 08-05-2012 05:12 AM

That’s where that $200.00 hammer went.lol

View rcs47's profile

rcs47

182 posts in 1878 days


#39 posted 08-10-2012 05:07 AM

BWW,

I don’t know if you’ve pulled the trigger yet, but I wanted to pass along the advice my Dad gave me for choosing a hammer. He was using one to build custom cabinets when he opened his shop in 1947, only changing to pneumatic nailers in the ‘70s.

His advice, find a flat surface. Place the hammer face flat on the surface, then your fingers should just slide under the end of the hammer handle. In other words, the handle should be leaning down. It should not be out straight, parallel to the surface. If you think about driving a nail, it involves the elbow and wrist. You don’t just move the hammer up and down without swinging the hammer in an arc.

You will find a lot of hammers with handles that are up. Good name hammers too. You just need to keep checking. I checked >50 Estwings before I found the one I have now.

Once you drive a nail with a handle like I describe compared to the others, you will never go back. Ever wonder why you keep bending nails?

Good luck.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View BTK's profile

BTK

7 posts in 896 days


#40 posted 08-10-2012 01:38 PM

For me, wood handle only, dampens the shock better. I favorite has been an EastwIng chosen because it just felt right.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2981 posts in 1992 days


#41 posted 08-12-2012 04:08 PM

I use both; a 20oz Vaughn framer and a 16 oz Estwing rip claw. They are both made in the U.S. of A.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#42 posted 08-13-2012 12:13 AM

I really like the Estwing 16oz Curved Claw Hammer.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Scsmith42's profile

Scsmith42

125 posts in 1426 days


#43 posted 08-13-2012 01:26 AM

CJ – I’m curious as to why you don’t like your titanium hammer? I’ve worn out two of them, and every person that has ever worked on my farm, once they have used the titanium hammer it is the one that they will pick up first (me too).

-- Scott, North Carolina, www.quartersawnoak.com

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#44 posted 08-13-2012 01:34 AM

It dont seem not enough power.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View mark4345's profile

mark4345

55 posts in 1172 days


#45 posted 08-13-2012 01:42 AM

doesnt have enough power? then i say you arent swinging it right. i have a stiletto 14 oz titanium framing hammer with the axe handle 3 hits and a 16d nail is in.

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 940 days


#46 posted 08-13-2012 01:49 AM

Beginningwoodworker, The best Bang for your buck is the Stanley Fatmax xtreme hammer…
I have one, Its comfortable, and its really good.
And, its in your budget… Maybe its not in the US, but here in canada, HD offers it with a free Cats Paw.
The adverage price for it is $29.99….
I paid $20 and with the free cats paw.

-- My terrible signature...

View Infernal2's profile

Infernal2

104 posts in 946 days


#47 posted 08-13-2012 02:53 AM

My favorite hammer has always been an old Craftsman 20oz but the particular style and design they made in this hammer, they no longer make. For everyday, around the shop, last you for bloody ever I can’t say enough about a simple Estwing 16oz. However, if you do ANY framing, I’d skip the Estwing and go with the big Vaughn, preferably without a smooth face.

If you have the money however, I’ll be the odd duck out and say to pick up the Dead On Steel. Its more reasonably priced than their big Framer and despite the weird look of it and the skull fetish, its an excellent hammer.

View Josh's profile

Josh

119 posts in 2687 days


#48 posted 08-13-2012 03:18 AM

I would pick the plumb. I always go with the wooden handle over the metal. When I first started framing we hand pounded everything. Estwings were banned on our job sites. To much ting ting ting. Not to mention the old timers talked about the vibration and what it would do to your elbow.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#49 posted 08-13-2012 01:11 PM

I do general carpentry from framing, roofing, to trim carpentry. So a 16 oz wooden handle would be a good choice. But I use nail guns now.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2422 days


#50 posted 03-01-2013 05:08 PM

Thanks guys I pick up the Vaughan 99 16 oz rip claw hammer, it has some power to drive some nails including 16 penny nails, I need to clean the finish off the hammer head.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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