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View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Choosing a framing hammer!

by Beginningwoodworker
posted 08-25-2009 11:35 PM


43 replies so far

View degoose's profile

degoose

7051 posts in 2100 days


#1 posted 08-25-2009 11:41 PM

Always remember to buy the best tool you can. It will save you lots of drama later.

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2272 days


#2 posted 08-25-2009 11:48 PM

If you have ever used a California Framer you would use nothing else! A great configuration of a hammer, has more control than any other that I have used and with the handle being a very close clone to an axe handle it is very strong…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 2016 days


#3 posted 08-25-2009 11:50 PM

Having gone the way of the pnuematics (I have and love the Hitachi HR90AE), I haven’t had to use a manual framing hammer in a while. The best ones that I recall where the Daluge or the Vaughns….I like and still have the Daluge even though it is a bit more pricey compared to the Vaughns….Both Daluge and Vaughns have a nice line of Titaniums…and you can get handles in wood, metal or fibreglass….either one of these makers were well made and balanced….Remember though that it is your swing that makes the hammer work…not the other way around…an expensive hammer will not replace good eye and good coordination…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112828 posts in 2323 days


#4 posted 08-26-2009 12:04 AM

I’m with Reggiek
I use nail guns. In my opinion I would get a decent hammer(not spendy) and save the big bucks for air tools

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Roz's profile

Roz

1661 posts in 2532 days


#5 posted 08-26-2009 12:16 AM

I say a framing hammer is like a side arm or underware. You have to choose one that fits you. I recommend handling and looking at everyone you can find to see what feels best and which you can best control. For example, I like a 28oz with a long hickory handle and a magnetic nail notch in the top of the hammer. Enjoy checking them out. Remember brand doesn’t matter, quality does.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Sailor's profile

Sailor

534 posts in 2011 days


#6 posted 08-26-2009 12:19 AM

Vaughn wooden handle, about a 23 ounce or 28 if your in good shape. I swing one all day working in a truss plant a couple of days a week. The heavier the less swings it takes to drive a nail or move a board, but it can wear you out if you are not used to it.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! http://woodworkingtrip.blogspot.com/ Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SailingAndSuch

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2419 days


#7 posted 08-26-2009 12:20 AM

I’ve agree Jim, but you still need a Hammer :)

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 2032 days


#8 posted 08-26-2009 12:21 AM

Go for it. I have that hammer and it is absolutely awesome. I don’t do much framing but I would not trade it for anything now that I have used it. I also have a Senco framing gun, but last project I hand nailed because it was actually fun——I know, I’m nuts! I guess it’s like using hand planes when you own a jointer and planer—huh?
I also have the trim version. By the way, my lovely, wonderful, giving, caring, did I say awesome, wife gave them to me for Christmas 3 or 4 years ago.

That said, everyone else made a lot of sense too!

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View BigMP's profile

BigMP

24 posts in 2647 days


#9 posted 08-26-2009 12:29 AM

Ah my friend… A good question. A hammer is a carpenters best friend. I myself have a Stiletto 14oz framer with the straight hickory handle. I’ve used quite a few different hammers over the years including the Daluge hammer, which I like, but it just doesn’t compare to the Stiletto. I would definitely recommend it with its only one downfall being that the waffling seems to flatten out quicker than other hammers; however, it hasn’t affected the performance so that I have noticed. I think it would be hard to go back to the conventional steel hammers after using mine. My hands and arms appreciate it. If I were you I would get the Stiletto because no matter what or how many pneumatics you use, you are always going to need a good hammer.
Hope it helps.

View Roper's profile

Roper

1363 posts in 2459 days


#10 posted 08-26-2009 12:38 AM

i rock the 28 oz. estwing all day, this hammer is great and it will not break your wallet like a stiletto. just think about this, how mad are you going to be when that expensive stiletto falls off a two story roof.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust- www.roperwoodturning.com

View kosta's profile

kosta

946 posts in 2100 days


#11 posted 08-26-2009 01:02 AM

they are tooooooooooooooooo expensive if your going to use a hammer that much use a nail gun

-- kosta Virginia Beach, VA http://www.kostasworkshop.blogspot.com/

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3581 posts in 2706 days


#12 posted 08-26-2009 01:16 AM

I can’t even imagine spending that much for a hammer. If I buy a framer, it will be an Estwing. Sometime reason has to prevail.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2992 days


#13 posted 08-26-2009 01:21 AM

I agree with Roper, except back in my framing days we used a 32 oz. Estwings. 1 hit to set, one swing to drive the nail home, thats a 16 sinker. Makes for fast framing. Yes they were expensive but I haven’t framed in about 20 years and that hammer is as good as new. We used them for trim too. Once you wore off the waffle, or as we called them, the meat tenderizer. Nice hammer, really.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Eric in central Florida's profile

Eric in central Florida

3672 posts in 2321 days


#14 posted 08-26-2009 04:57 AM

Can’t help you much Charles.
I’ve had my old hammer so long I can’t even remember where I got it, but I wouldn’t trade it for any new one.
I’m with Jim & rekkiek. Get a good but not pricey hammer & save up for a nice air powered nailer.

And Happy Birthday early!

-- All glory comes from daring to begin.

View BigMP's profile

BigMP

24 posts in 2647 days


#15 posted 08-26-2009 10:23 AM

I think if were to ask framers in general, the heaviest hammer they carry is a 22oz. Since the Stiletto has a higher energy transfer, you can have a lighter hammer and save your arm. And the claws on the stiletto are the best I’ve ever used. Just some more thoughts.

View john's profile

john

2319 posts in 3127 days


#16 posted 08-26-2009 11:06 AM

Like BigMP said most framers use a 22 oz hammer more then anything . If your using it everyday heavier is not better unless you want rubber arms in 20 years . Nails guns are the best way to go if your a framer, carpenter and only use a hammer when needed . Repetative hammering will definitely cause chronic pain , permanent nerve damage over time .

-- John in Belgrave (Website) http://www.extremebirdhouse.com , http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=112698715866

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

2966 posts in 2248 days


#17 posted 08-26-2009 12:10 PM

24 oz. Estwing here. I never “hammered” for a living, but I’ve been well-pleased with it for 20+ years! Actually, I’ve used it more for de-struction rather than con-struction, tearing apart pallets, interior demolition, and the like. It works like a Champ!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View patron's profile

patron

13165 posts in 2087 days


#18 posted 08-26-2009 01:13 PM

i have had and still own many framers and regular hammers .
here in new mexico , every single wooden or fiberglass tool that i have seen ,
hammers , axes , sledges ,mauls , have come loose !
something to do with the climate/heat/cold changes .
now i use estwing .
one piece metal , they never loosen !
a flaring grip , keeps the handle in your hand when it is sweaty,
the longer reach means you don’t have to bend over so much ,
which is good for the back !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2992 days


#19 posted 08-26-2009 01:57 PM

Amen Patron, thank you David. Two swings of a hammer does not wear out or give you rubber arm.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View john's profile

john

2319 posts in 3127 days


#20 posted 08-26-2009 02:15 PM

When your nailing down the floor of a house or roof for hours at a time you will get a rubber arm whether you like it or not ! Especially after 20 years of framing.

-- John in Belgrave (Website) http://www.extremebirdhouse.com , http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=112698715866

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2419 days


#21 posted 08-26-2009 02:54 PM

Thanks guys for comments.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View jack1's profile

jack1

1952 posts in 2773 days


#22 posted 08-26-2009 03:59 PM

Bad choice. They absorb very little when you are pounding away a lot. My son is a builder and most all of his framers have stopped using them.

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

View Timbot's profile

Timbot

25 posts in 1987 days


#23 posted 08-27-2009 05:20 AM

The best hammers, in my opinion, are made by Estwing. They are generally one piece of machined stainless steel, and their handles are shaped into a tuning fork, which kills all vibration. This is then wrapped in the most comfortable handle I’ve ever used. Every hammer I own is Estwing, ranging from ball peins to my monster drilling hammer. Their framing hammers and claw hammers are both amazing, and come a a wide variety of weights. As far as availability, most of the big box stores sell them, but for specific weights, you may need to look online. I’d take a look at www.mscdirect.com. They’re an industrial supply company, and I’ve bought a majority of my general purpose hand tools from them. I would avoid buying their weight forward line, however, since the workmanship put into that line is less than what I’ve come to expect from them. Good luck!

-- Timbot, So Cal

View jockmike2's profile

jockmike2

10635 posts in 2992 days


#24 posted 08-27-2009 02:04 PM

We’re talking framing not nailing down a deck. Use a compressor and staples to nail down a deck along with liquid nails. I’m just talking about framing stud walls. A 32 oz estwing can’t be beat. 2 swings is all it takes. I’m not talking about nailing over your head either. Jeese don’t you own more than one Hammer?. LOL. Estwings absorb a lot of the vibration. And they are easy to hang onto.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Whitewolf's profile

Whitewolf

9 posts in 1880 days


#25 posted 11-12-2011 05:29 AM

It doesn’t matter how many nail guns you own or use, you still need (and if you are like me, want) a good framing hammer. I have a 22oz Estwing with the wooden (hickory) handle, and I like it but I find that during the winter months when the weather is colder the heavy weight is hard on my arm. I need to either wear a brace, or get a lighter hammer! DeWalt has a wooden handle hammer that is a bit lighter that I like. I tried a co-workers Stilleto (the rock and roll brand of hammer) and didn’t like it because it was so light I had to swing it a lot more to drive the nail.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#26 posted 11-12-2011 06:45 AM

You are getting really good advisement from these fine folks.

I would get an Estwing 20 – 24 oz. (depending on your size, strength, and what feels good to you), then save the rest of the money towards a framing gun.

Nothing wrong with the Stiletto, but the nails you drive will not be impressed with anything other than your aim and the weight/force you apply to it.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View derosa's profile

derosa

1557 posts in 1581 days


#27 posted 11-12-2011 07:03 AM

I will second the hitachi nail gun, I like mine. I’ve never framed with a hammer, always a nail gun. From pounding away on roofs for days at a time I always liked anything with a decent weight and a wood handle. One tap to set and one to drive. At the end of the day my fingers wouldn’t be stuck around the handle and my knuckles also wouldn’t be swollen. I’ve also never had to replace a handle or had a grip slide and the wood does fine when my hands are sweaty. Just my .02

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View devann's profile

devann

1735 posts in 1438 days


#28 posted 11-12-2011 07:33 AM

My favorite framing hammer has been a 28oz. rig a for the last 25 years or so. I like it because of the balance, with 12/16d sinkers you can swat ‘em in with a single blow. The head is 1 1/2” in diameter and the blade is 3 1/2” long. A perfect gauge for a framer, seeing as how you’re dealing with a 2×4 most of the time.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1281 posts in 2482 days


#29 posted 11-12-2011 09:12 AM

Many years ago I used a 32 oz framing hammer. It was a breeze to use. Could sink a 16d nail in one wack all day long. I later purchased some framing guns but still kept the big hammer by my side. A pneumatic is more practical for lots of nailing. I’d recommend you get a good hammer and pneumatic. They are both needed. One other pneumatic I would suggest is the palm nailers. One of the larger and one of the smaller ones. They are great for getting into tight spots and the smaller one is perfect for joist nails. You will never set a joist nail by hand again after using a palm nailer.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1385 days


#30 posted 11-12-2011 10:58 AM

fyi, Estwings come from 20 to 30 oz, but the 22 is the most popular and has been for years. Of the 15 framing combinations they offer, the 22 0z. takes up 8 of them…

Milled Face E3-20SM 20 oz / 560 g 13.5” / 343 mm
Milled Face E3-22CMR 22 oz / 616 g 13.5” / 343 mm
Smooth Face E3-22CR 22 oz / 616 g 13.5” / 343 mm
Milled Face E3-22CM 22 oz / 616 g 16” / 406 mm
Smooth Face E3-22C 22 oz / 616 g 16” / 406 mm
Milled Face E3-22SMR 22 oz / 616 g 13.5” / 343 mm
Smooth Face E3-22SR 22 oz / 616 g 13.5” / 343 mm
Milled Face E3-22SM 22 oz / 616 g 16” / 406 mm
Smooth Face E3-22S 22 oz / 616 g 16” / 406 mm
Milled Face E3-24SM 24 oz / 672 g 16” / 406 mm
Smooth Face E3-24S 24 oz / 672 g 16” / 406 mm
Milled Face E3-28SM 28 oz / 784 g 16” / 406 mm
Smooth Face E3-28S 28 oz / 784 g 16” / 406 mm
Milled Face E3-30SM 30 oz / 840 g 16” / 406 mm
Smooth Face E3-30S 30 oz / 840 g 16” / 406 mm

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Beeguy's profile

Beeguy

178 posts in 2382 days


#31 posted 11-12-2011 11:22 AM

The first tool I ever owned (at age 8) was a hammer from Sears. The handle has long since broken but I still have the head for nostalgic reasons. I also have a Craftsman all steel framing hammer that my father bought back in the mid 60’s. I challange anyone to drive 5 nails with this hammer without bending at least one. We have joked about this tool for over 40 years.

I have found that a 20 oz good, but not over expensive, tool is the way to go. Sadly since I bought my pneumatic nailers my hammer spends more time in the toolbelt than my hand. But I would not give those nailers up and to echo many others here: Get a good, reasonably priced hammer and put the rest of the money towards a nailer.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3203 posts in 1421 days


#32 posted 11-13-2011 02:11 AM

22 OZ Estwing with a 16” handle and a milled face. I use the pneumatic gun as much as possible but the hammer comes in handy often.

View William's profile

William

9266 posts in 1588 days


#33 posted 11-13-2011 02:16 AM

I was on a framing crew as a very young man for a little less than a year. All I ever used was an Eastwing 22oz. When it was stolen off the back of my truck on an out-of-town job, I went and bought a new 22oz. Eastwing. When my son started framing, I bought him as a gift, a 22oz. Eastwing.
You may have already guessed my choice for a framing hammer, but as someone else said, each person has a right “fit” for a framing hammer. Once you find that “fit”, you’ll never use anything else.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1546 days


#34 posted 11-13-2011 02:18 AM

Lots of people get hammered on their birth day. What makes you so special?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3179 posts in 1233 days


#35 posted 11-13-2011 03:13 AM

This thread is over two years old, LOL. But my personal favorite is my Vaughn 28 oz. fiberglass. It’s so much easier on me than swinging the 28 oz. Estwing I’ve had for years.
Each person has to find the one they are most comfortable with, kind of like a pair of boots.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1216 days


#36 posted 11-13-2011 08:21 AM

Still have the 22 oz smooth face Bluegrass I bought right after High School. It has swatted a lot of nails,had a few handles. I remember the head cost $3.25! and the handle was $1.00. Such a deal!
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View Whitewolf's profile

Whitewolf

9 posts in 1880 days


#37 posted 11-13-2011 08:47 PM

Everyone who says, “find the hammer that fits YOU!” is right. Getting a good hammer for you is a personal choice. All I would say is, remember, you don’t always hold the hammer at the end of the handle, so find one that you can hold farther up to the head. My son has a metal Dead On and I hate it, poor balance and you can’t hold it in many places on the handle. However, maybe younger guys like it. he does.

View klassenl's profile

klassenl

118 posts in 1405 days


#38 posted 11-13-2011 11:04 PM

Yikes. All of this discussion on a hammer? Just go to your local hardware store, and pick up a bunch of hammers and see which one you like. It’s not rocket science.

I am guessing that the OP is not a carpenter by trade (by virtue of the fact that this question is even being asked, never mind the fact it’s being asked here) so any Stanley or Eastwing will do.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3203 posts in 1421 days


#39 posted 11-13-2011 11:57 PM

Klassenl, this might not be rocket science but today it is medical science. They have made so many ergonomically made hammers that isn’t like when you probably selected your hammer. There was a 20 oz hammer with a red hickory handle back in the day. then there was a leather handles Estwing and then there was 2 then 4 then more. Today it is a menagerie.

View klassenl's profile

klassenl

118 posts in 1405 days


#40 posted 11-14-2011 02:30 AM

Grandpa: You are very correct when you say there is a lot of science in hammers. There is a lot of science in the construction industry as a whole. For the most part it has been very good for us that make our living working with our hands. But unless you swing a hammer for a living, by this I mean swinging a hammer all day, any quality made hammer will do.

For work (electrician) I have a fairly inexpensive Stanley 20 oz fibreglass handle. I’m guessing there are some days where I swing it more than some carpenters. Seems to work just fine. In my shop I have a 18 oz HD special, and it gets the job done just fine as well.

-- When questioned about using glue on a garbage bin I responded, "Wood working is about good technique and lots of glue........I have the glue part down."

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3203 posts in 1421 days


#41 posted 11-14-2011 03:46 AM

I didn’t mean to imply that any was better than another but for even a man that has just hired on with a construction framing crew there is a big choice available an a lot of research and testing should go into the selection. way back up the thread i said 22 oz Estwing and meant I had one and in the past have used it good bit. Is it the best. well for me, I like it. Hammers have become almost as high tech as rockets in the last few years. I open a tool magazine and there is another new framing hammer.

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

724 posts in 1589 days


#42 posted 11-14-2011 04:21 AM

I open a tool magazine and there is another new framing hammer

^And less and less actual hammering done on the job. My hammer was/is the Estwing 22oz smooth. A friend of mine had me looking for Estwing ringers for him. I did, but only because we didn’t work together. On the jobs I worked on, a hammer that thought it was a tuning fork would “disappear” pretty quick. -Jack

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1216 days


#43 posted 11-14-2011 04:22 PM

I might also like to add that for all the different hammers out there there are about as many different styles of swinging. Sounds simple,yes? Actually it is not,it’s sorta like strokin a pool que. Everybody does it a little different. My point is if you swing a hammer for very long you get to know the characteristic of your swing. Knowing that, IF you still use a wood handle and IF you know how to properly “set” a hammer head adjusting the hammer head to your swing is no big deal.
Just thought I mention.
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

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