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  • new hammer

    I need to buy a new claw hammer.

    I had two similar hammers handed down from Dad but I buried him with one.
    The one Im currently using is a 32 oz 14" steel handle hammer. The 32 oz is overall weight and the 14" is overall length.

    It's got great balance.
    Any suggestions for brands?
    Last edited by Bernadette; 05-29-2023, 02:35 AM.

  • #2
    Re: new hammer

    I still have my Estwing I bought in 1975. I know it's mine the instant I pick it up because the handle is thinner than a new one from all the use over the years.
    They are well balanced and last well, and are available in different weights.

    P.S. That was a nice thing to do for your Dad.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.


    • #3
      Re: new hammer

      Bernadette, is there any place near you, that you could give the various 'replacement hammers' a trial swing - for sensing balance and weight ? ( I work at a 'big-box' store, and we have a literal wall of hammers - 10 feet or so ) I used to build houses with our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, but had some elbow surgery some 7 years ago and rarely pick one up now, so cannot offer a specific recommendation. I agree with Grant that placing the hammer with Dad was quite a nice thing to do

      Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "


      • #4
        Re: new hammer

        What is this hammer intended to hit? 32 oz is a BIG framing hammer. During my own relatively brief encounters with wood frame construction, I couldn't have handled even a 20 or 22 oz framing hammer all day. I now have a titanium framer (Stiletto brand) that is very comfortable and performs well.



        • #5
          Re: new hammer

          Having swung a hammer for decades as a professional carpenter, I'm pretty picky when it comes to hammers.
          I would buy one with a shock absorbing handle. Stay away from all-steel handles. Your arm will thank you.
          Being primarily a finish carpenter, I never needed anything more than the standard 16 oz. hammer. I always go with the straight claw instead of the curved one.
          When shopping, strike the hammer either on the floor or against another hammer and quickly put it to your ear and listen for a pinging noise. You do not want that. Having a pinging hammer go past your ear all day will drive you nuts!
          I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
          Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.


          • #6
            Re: new hammer

            I have a 28-oz Vaughn "California Framer". I have been happy with it, but in my heart I lust after these.

            Japanese framers are . . . different looking, but they work well. They also tend to have a groove in the top 9f the head with a magnet, so you can drop in a framing nail and set it one handed.

            Specialty hard-to-find tools, woodworking & hardware from the USA & around the world. A 4th generation family business since 1932.

            Dalluge framers are good, too.

            You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)


            • #7
              Re: new hammer

              steel handles are good for takin stuff apart
              wood is for puttin stuff together


              • #8
                Re: new hammer

                If you do have to buy sight unseen you should be aware, if you aren't already, that hammers are sold by head weight, not overall weight.


                My framing hammers have a head weight of 21 and 22 ounces but the overall weight on both is 31 ounces with a handle length of 16" and 18". A 32 ounce overall weight hammer with a 14" handle would feel really unbalanced to me but if it works for you I'm not one to argue. 90% of my hammer use is a 13.75" Estwing with a 16 ounce head weight. For a general duty, steel handled hammer that feels good and will last forever it's hard to beat Estwing.

                Before I transitioned to shop work I spent years doing additions and remodels. Steel hammers are invaluable for demo. After a couple of years I switched to a wood handle for framing because of wrist pain and it made a significant difference. I keep using my small Estwing for trim work because the hammer forces involved aren't as much as framing but I'd be just as happy with a nice wood handled hammer. Like every carpenter I have ever worked with I have a strong preference for straight or rip clawed hammers for all purposes.


                • #9
                  Re: new hammer

                  I prefere one piece forged Peddighaus. Good ballance and can withstand daily construction site work. I use a 20 ounce (weight of head) hammer for framing and siding and such. 16 ounces is more suitable for lighter work.
                  Amateur living on the western coast of Finland


                  • #10
                    Re: new hammer

                    great comments chaps. Thank you.

                    I would expect the head weight is less than the 32 oz as weighed for the entire hammer.
                    the hammer is all steel so I cant just weigh the head.

                    im so used to dad's hammers. Having used them for many many years I just wanted to replicate the same for the new one. I tend to have one on the workbench and one in/on the boat.

                    It would be preferable to buy one in person but im back off to work tomorrow for at least 3 months and wanted to get the hammer and a few other tools during my absence so I will be ready upon my return to start back building.
                    Hammers do seem pretty cheap overall these days so it's probable I will just buy a few before I find what I really like. Dad's hammers were way much better than my own and Ive never used anything but the one I described in the OP. it does such a lovely job with everything and the swing and weight is so nice.

                    thank you for the comments about placing a hammer with dad. I thought some may think im a bit silly and maybe I am but I thought it fitting at the time.
                    Last edited by Bernadette; 05-29-2023, 10:49 PM.


                    • #11
                      Re: new hammer

                      Depends on what you want it for Bern’ but for general use I’d stringily recommend a Stanley Fatmax Anti Vibe - best framing hammer I’ve owned (I own a lot of hammers and make a few as well - for blacksmithing). You really don’t need anything bigger than 24oz, especially if you might the using it all day. You might be able to swing the 32 comfortably for a while but a slightly too heavy hammer will likely end up giving you some tendonitis problems.

                      (PS - mine weighs in at @29oz all up)

                      Last edited by Larks; 05-29-2023, 10:15 PM.

                      “It’s impossible”, said pride.
                      “It’s risky”, said experience.
                      “It’s pointless”, said reason.
                      “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

                      LPBC Beneficiary

                      "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"


                      • #12
                        Re: new hammer

                        Like stiletto I had an estwing for many years. My tool trailer was stolen 6 years ago and all my ol’ favourites went with it.
                        I went straight out and bought a new estwing, this time with the moulded handle instead of the leather rings. In the age of nail guns it’s rare I swing a hammer all day anymore.
                        I think this new hammer of yours will always be tied to the memories of your dad. There must be something out there that will remind you of him every time you pick it up.
                        What was the size hammer that went with him if you don’t mind me asking? Since the one you have will have a bit of clout to it, maybe something a little lighter. I love the Japanese hammer above.
                        All the best,


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geftb
                          In the age of nail guns it’s rare I swing a hammer all day anymore.
                          In this age of nail guns, when I need to use the nail gun, I set to leave the nails proud, and then seat them with the framing hammer. Less likely to damage sheathing, and I'm not getting paid by the hour (and I think hand driven nails are more resistant to pull out, but that's just me.)
                          You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)


                          • #14
                            Re: new hammer

                            the one that went with dad is identical to the one I have remaining. it weighed in at the 32 oz all up.
                            I bought two hammers today from Bunnings. I went in just for a look but came out with an Estwing 20 oz which feels the same weight as what I already have (it weighed about 29 oz) and a lighter 16 oz Vaughan. I like the skinny handle on the Vaughan but the weight of the Estwing. I think I will be 'right' with these now!
                            I might try a timber handled hammer in due course.

                            I like buying tools!!!!
                            Last edited by Bernadette; 05-30-2023, 12:56 AM.


                            • #15
                              Re: new hammer

                              Reading this thread made me realize I'm still using the Estwing I bought during the first week of college in 1984. A good hammer is a fine thing.

                              If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
                              H.A. Calahan