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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Norwood-ish, Adelaide
    Age
    57
    Posts
    6,212

    Default How big a hammer do you need?

    Last weekend I was swinging my 16oz (450g) Sidchrome hickory handled ball pein hammer at a punch and suddenly had the head fly off in a ballistic arc on the back swing (handle broke inside the head). It was only 27 years old too (pause for a moment's silence).
    Sidchrome may honour their lifetime guarantee, but in the mean time I need to get another hammer. Looking at what is available, there are steel handles, fibreglass handles, graphite handles, wooden handles and other stranger mixtures. Common weights seem to be 12oz, 16oz, 24oz, 32oz (and probably others exist too).
    Hans anyone got any thoughts on what a good brand, weight and handle type is these days - I haven't bought one since I bought the kit with this one in it.
    16oz seemed alright for most applications, although a little light for precision "really laying into something". Would I be better with say a 12oz for marking out and a 24oz for thumping?

    Michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    1,009

    Default

    I gave up on wooden handles years. The head flew off on mine a few times. It could easily knock someone out especially at work where there are usually a few people around.

    I use fibreglass handles and havent had any issues with them yet. I use a 32 oz for pretty much everything at work, but a smaller one would probably be better for centre punching.

    If anyone has any tips for keeping a wooden handle on I wouldn't mind knowing!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Springfield NSW
    Age
    69
    Posts
    75

    Default

    I really hate to say this, but why not go over to the WOODTURNING forum and see if someone can make you a new hickory handle for your antique (?) hammer.

    Yeah, I know it could be traumatic, but the blokes over there are really OK- they may not know their brass from their elbow joint but I'm sure they could help
    ____________________________________________________________
    there are only 10 types of people in the world. Those that understand binary arithmetic and those that don't.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Roxby Downs Sth Aust
    Age
    45
    Posts
    205

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Com_VC View Post
    I gave up on wooden handles years. The head flew off on mine a few times. It could easily knock someone out especially at work where there are usually a few people around.

    I use fibreglass handles and havent had any issues with them yet. I use a 32 oz for pretty much everything at work, but a smaller one would probably be better for centre punching.

    If anyone has any tips for keeping a wooden handle on I wouldn't mind knowing!

    go wood, fiberglass has a good argument but wood feels better in the hand and you can shape it, if it comes lose hammer a wedge into it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth WA
    Age
    70
    Posts
    6,399

    Default

    Michael,

    I just slipped up to the shed to see what I have. My 16 oz ball pein is a hickory handled Blue Point. It's just a hammer. I have a nylon handled 24oz and a 12 oz leather handled Estwing. The 24 is great for heavy work.
    I have a couple of bitty Blue Points that I use with prick punches and the optical centre punch.

    My favourite is a 12 oz Cheney. It has an octagonal hickory handle that is slender and a pleasure to hold. The hammer is beautifully balanced. Cost me 5 bucks. Cheneys were the hammer when I was a kid. Held in the same regard as Disston Philadelphia saws. I had never laid eyes on a Cheney ball pein until I found mine.

    I had a Plumb fibreglass claw hammer. Nice to use until, as a result of misuse, you start picking fibreglass out of your skin.

    Go Hickory and American.

    BT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Norwood-ish, Adelaide
    Age
    57
    Posts
    6,212

    Default

    A new (replacement) handle would not be hard to find or fit, but at the moment I want to hear whether there is a better material out there.
    Like Bob with his Cheney, when I was a teenager a carpenter that I respected swore by his Estwing and I've since had a secret longing for one. They do make a ball pein with a forged steel handle...
    I agree that wood feels good to use but at the moment I'm concerned at how little time this handle lasted. I'm also thinking that a larger hammer for thumping and a smaller one for more precise tapping could be the go. I've seen ads for hammers with steel rod handles encased in rubber - billed as unbreakable. Could be good for handing out the odd bit of abuse.

    Michael

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Ballarat
    Age
    64
    Posts
    3,103

    Default

    Hi Michael,
    I have a 32 oz ball pein that has provided service under great duress since my apprenticeship. It still has the original wooden handle!
    If the handle is fitted correctly they last and last and give great shock absorption. The key is 'well fitted' though. Kind of another skill that is leaving us.
    Give me a wooden handle any day.
    But then you know what I'm like

    Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Southern Highlands NSW
    Posts
    1,785

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Com_VC View Post
    If anyone has any tips for keeping a wooden handle on I wouldn't mind knowing!
    I saw one that had 2 hardwood wedges across, and a metal wedge down the centre, that looked convincing.

    Jordan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Dural NSW
    Age
    80
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Wooden Handles etc

    Michael
    Im with those who like the wooden handles.
    Just checked my stock of ball pein hammers.
    I have a 4oz 8oz 16oz 24oz 32oz
    The first three are Australian Cyclone Forged hammers made in Wonthaggi Victoria the last 2 are USA & all still have the original wood handles.
    I have owned all since new & date back 50 yrs plus,... (more silence)
    Additional, one of my most useful hammers is a small homemade cross pein hardened hammer, of European design, about 4 oz.
    It was made to primarily serve as a peening hammer for lightly peening hardened & ground thin steel sections for straightening, as in precision try square blade, plane blade, straightening etc. Introduces a compressive stress to the component & stretches the metal, with very accurate results.
    I will attempt to get some photos.
    regards
    Bruce
    ps In my woodworking hammers I like "Brades" English made, Warrington style (Cross Pein type)
    These also have wooden handles.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Perth WA
    Age
    70
    Posts
    6,399

    Default

    This will last a few lifetimes. Estwing Ball Peen Hammer 16oz 18478 | eBay

    My 12oz leather handled Estwing was my go to hammer for twenty years. Then I found the Cheney.

    As for carpentry Michael, I, like the bloke you know, swear by my Estwing forged claw. In my mind the best claw hammer made.

    Bob

    edit .. Bruce . You are back!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Roxby Downs Sth Aust
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    45
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    205

    Default

    ever seen a blacksmith using a fibreglass handled hammer, must be a reason they only use wooden handles. when they break, linish the varnish off and use them for smoking fish or meat.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    TAMWORTH, AUSTRALIA.
    Age
    77
    Posts
    30

    Default

    G'day Michael, you might like to try this hammer!


    Moonys 31.JPG

  13. #13
    Ueee's Avatar
    Ueee is offline Blacksmith, Cabinetmaker, Machinist, Messmaker
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    38
    Posts
    4,515

    Default

    All my hammers have timber handles, except 2 estwing steel and leather jobies. I have broken several handles whilst forging, but i just get a new one and fit it. I have always been wary of fiberglass handles, i have seen the results of one that has splintered and i never want it to happen to me. I also don't know how heat proof the fiberglass is which is important for use in the forge.....
    The way Jordon described wedging the handle in is how i was taught, but the handle to head fit must be good first, no gaps etc....
    1915 17"x50" LeBlond heavy duty Lathe, 24" Queen city shaper, 1970's G Vernier FV.3.TO Universal Mill, 1958 Blohm HFS 6 surface grinder, 1942 Rivett 715 Lathe, 14"x40" Antrac Lathe, Startrite H225 Bandsaw, 1949 Hercus Camelback Drill press, 1947 Holbrook C10 Lathe.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Dural NSW
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    80
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    Default Returned

    Quote Originally Posted by Anorak Bob View Post
    This will last a few lifetimes. Estwing Ball Peen Hammer 16oz 18478 | eBay

    My 12oz leather handled Estwing was my go to hammer for twenty years. Then I found the Cheney.

    As for carpentry Michael, I, like the bloke you know, swear by my Estwing forged claw. In my mind the best claw hammer made.

    Bob

    edit .. Bruce . You are back!
    Bob
    Yes, returned from Caravan & Camping trip up to Queensland & Moreton Island off Brisbane.
    Have missed the Forum chatter.
    I will give you a phone call soon. Whats the best time, when you dont have a paint brush in hand?
    Regarding the Carpentry & claw hammer I would agree, the Estwing is the go.
    Claw hammers get a lot of leverage loads, & the Estwing design is suberb.
    regards
    Bruce

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    mid north coast NSW
    Posts
    92

    Default Hammer handles

    I use wooden handled hammers that I fit myself, using both bought and self made handles. There are a lots of handleless hammer heads at the markets that are looking for a new owner, with careful selection you will find some of them are very well made, probably quite old and can (with patience) be found in good order and well worth rehandling. BWT walk away from "marketeer" handled hammers, not only are you getting a cheap second or third grade handle, the marketeer knows nothing about fitting handles and I think cares even less and your paying more than double for all his effort!!
    Back to "modern" hammers with both fiberglass and wooden handles, you will find if you look closely that the head has been made with little or NO draught and is totally dependent on the glue to hold the head on the handle! Check out the draught in some of the old English made (ball pein) hammers, with a good handle and proper wedging they will last for years. I'm not against modern adhesives, some glued hammers may well be good enough for half my lifetime, but they can't be rehandled easily if at all! No doubt there will be a future (If not already?) law against self handled hammers in the work place!
    Graeme

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