LumberJocks

What is a California Framing Hammer?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by BentheViking posted 1037 days ago 8054 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1752 posts in 1197 days


1037 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: hammer hand tool

I know for most projects that people on this site are doing a framing hammer is a bit much, but I have recently seen these being advertised and was just wondering what exactly is the difference between this and other framing hammers? Advantages or disadvantages? Thanks!

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson


12 replies so far

View bubbyboy's profile

bubbyboy

137 posts in 1327 days


#1 posted 1037 days ago

Well the short answer is the major difference is the weight. The handles are made from Hickory, the claw is basically straight unlike a finish hammer but the head is made from titanium which makes the head swing like a 28oz hammer but only weighs about 16oz so you can swing it for much longer periods without your arm falling off, My hammer was actually made by Ruger the gun company they are pricey though coming in at around $100.00 bucks

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7439 posts in 2281 days


#2 posted 1037 days ago

The style precedes the hi-tech metals. They have a particular handle shape
and a straight claw. Originally I think they had a heavy head, but these
days they’ve been lightened. Lots of tract homes built in California during
housing booms led to specific tool usage, including the hammers, the
worm drive saws and dado saws for rafter cuts. The housing boom came
to an end but the influence of efficient California methods stuck around.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1752 posts in 1197 days


#3 posted 1037 days ago

So if i get this correctly…at one point they were adapted to be a quicker and more efficient hammer, but now are not favored due to the emergence of the metal hammers with the “tuning fork” handles such as the Stanley Anti-Vibes and the Estwings?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View moment's profile

moment

2118 posts in 1314 days


#4 posted 1037 days ago

Ben , did you haul the rocking gator with you to Westchester ? Hope you are enjoying your leisure time . Here is a Bay Area 4 in 1 hammer . Good for crab legs , oysters , mussels , and light carpentry : )

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1752 posts in 1197 days


#5 posted 1037 days ago

totally not the kind of hammer im interested in…and no i did not bring the gator to New York—it’d be too cold for it. haha. Actually it was for a friend who had a baby in New Orleans. The baby was born in Sept and I recently added a photo to the original post him riding the gator while my friend holds him.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1657 posts in 1555 days


#6 posted 1037 days ago

I believe that a framing hammer in Calif. is the right length end to end to use as a guide to space wall studs. So some rough carpenters there have told me.

-- In God We Trust

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1273 days


#7 posted 1035 days ago

That would put the overall length at 14 3/8” to 14 1/2” for 16” on center framing… nearly all of these hammers are in the 16” to 18” range for overall length.

Vaughn (around since 1869) was / is the originator of the combination of features as follows:

The Vaughan California FramerĀ® hammer combines the best features of two of our most popular tools into a rugged, heavy construction hammer. The smoothly swept claws were borrowed from the “999” rip hammer, and the striking face, hatchet eye and sturdy handle are a heritage of the Vaughan Rigbuilder’s Hatchet. The striking face is extra large to minimize the chance of missed strikes. The hatchet style handle, available straight or curved, is made from American hickory. To provide extra strength, the handle has a large cross section where it joins the fully polished head.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3421 posts in 2594 days


#8 posted 1035 days ago

It is a neander answer to the pneumatic framing nailer. They have a place in the arsenal though I don’t use one. Usually have a “waffle” face.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View maljr1980's profile

maljr1980

171 posts in 1090 days


#9 posted 1034 days ago

i think its marketing, so when you walk through lowes looking for a hammer you buy the one with the cool name. I myself use standard estwing hammers, although i would toss it in the trash if i found a Stilleto

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14726 posts in 2309 days


#10 posted 1034 days ago

I just googled the Vaughan California FramerĀ® hammer. It says it holds nails. Carpenters i worked around when I was an apprentice said one whack to start it and one to drive a 16d home. With nail holding capability, these should be single whackers ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Harry_Ch's profile

Harry_Ch

63 posts in 1309 days


#11 posted 1034 days ago

If you are going to be whacking a lot of nails all day long, it’s best to use a California hammer. A good one will have a bend towards the end of the handle like that of a hachet. The bend is easier on the wrist and it gives you more power than a straight handle hammer. The long straight claws gives you longer leverage to remove any “oops” nails, not that I did many myself(cough, cough, sputter).

-- Deeds not Words.

View Rust's profile

Rust

2 posts in 1107 days


#12 posted 1009 days ago

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.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase