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Couple of expensive hammers


Was: If I knew then what I know know…

Some kind person replied to this thread: “I wouldn’t’ve bought all
those expensive hammers.”

So – if you could only buy a couple of expensive hammers today,
which ones would you buy? Or would you go ahead and buy a bunch of
hammers, but cheap ones?

Lorraine (who can only buy a couple of expensive hammers today)


It depends totally on what you’re doing, I think. The expensive ones
to my way of thinking aren’t the standard hammers like a chasing
hammer. They’re more specialized.

If I need something special I’ll usually try to make it out of an
old ball-peen hammer or an auto body hammer. But then I’ve got
blacksmith buddies with forges and some experience in forge work.

If you do decide to make your own hammers, polish the heck out of
the working faces.


If you do decide to make your own hammers, polish the heck out of
the working faces. 

Just what I’ve spent today doing, I found a couple of nice hammers
at a jumble sale, a bit rusty, but the faces were still in good
shape, so I figured at $5 for the pair it was worth the day spent
rehabilitating them. Still need to make some handles for them, but
that will keep til the morning.

One is a large panishing hammer (face is over 30mm in diameter) with
the peen being a domed over cone with the dome radius being ~6mm, the
other is a combination raising/sinking hammer with faces about 15mm
across. They are both a little heavier than what I usually use, but
they will find plenty of use over the coming years I expect. Oh yeah
although I can’t read the make, they both say made in Norway, so a
bit of rare find for Australia…

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.


If all I could buy was a couple of expensive hammers, I would buy
Fretz hammers.

Happy pounding,

The expensive ones to my way of thinking aren't the standard
hammers like a chasing hammer. They're more specialized. 

I’m a “plain ol’ goldsmith”, and the only hammer I ever use is a $10
12 oz. ball pein I bought 25 years ago at a hardware store. The face
is somewhat clean, but far from polished. No, actually I have a 20
oz. that I pull out for big banging. I have a chasing hammer down in
the bottom drawer somewhere… What that means is pretty much what
Rick says - you don’t need anything more unless you do, in which
case you’ll know it. Silversmiths (raisers), blacksmiths and others
of all kinds have need of specialized hammers. I have a bunch of
those I rarely use in the bottom of another drawer somewhere, with
the stakes. It’s up to the individual and the work, but most of us
here I would guess are largely just banging stuff where most any
good hammer will do. Again, this isn’t to start a firestorm about
how people like their certain hammer - for everyday, normal bench
work some of the hammers out there are more a way to separate you
from your money than to have any real greater value - some are real
pretty, that’s for sure. If you’re just flattening the ends of wire
and banging ring shanks, though…


My first hammers were inexpensive hardware store ball peens that I
polished the faces of. Over the years, I have gradually added to my
collection—most hammers being re-finished “finds”. I would suggest
that if you are interested in hammering, take a class on forging,
shell forming (synclastic and anticlastic forming), or raising, and
buy hammers similar to what the teacher recommends and has you use
in the class or workshop. That way, you’ll have hammers that you know
how to use, and you know what they are useful for, rather than
cool-looking, expensive hammers in a drawer. The more hammer working
you do, the more you’ll be able know what a hammer could be useful
for by looking at it.

Cynthia Eid


What a breath of fresh air. Clear, clean, honest answers. Flea
markets, garage sales, thrift stores, all and a bit of elbow grease.
The hammer I have and love is a $7.00 one I bought from kenneth
Singh in Tucson a few years ago. It does all I ask of it, texture,
upset, set bezels. I treasure it.



I’ve liked this thread to date. All of my hammers have been intended
for other purposes. My favorite to date is my “go to” Japanese style
hammer that I bought years ago for finish carpentry work. great
balance, the handle allows me to “choke” up when needed, and the
Japanese have an incredible ability with metal, in my opinion. Of the
two faces, I tend to rely on the slightly convex face as I can
"level" of the surface as I work if the blow does not land squarely.
Other wise, it’s a ball peen with three very minute little lines in
it, that I’ve left as is. When I look at the finished job, it strikes
me as sort of a “markers mark” that is not readily apparent, yet I
can see and “identify” my work. Just a little "self-satisfaction."
Some day though, I’d like to…

My first hammers were inexpensive hardware store ball peens that I
polished the faces of. Over the years, I have gradually added to
my collection- 

I once knew a master machinist - still know his son though I haven’t
seen him in years - who had a hammer collection. Not “a bunch of
hammers” but a real collection of 3-400 hammers from every walk of
life, on display in his house. I wish I could do more than just
report that I saw it, and show it to you all because it was really

Cynthia says it well, and others, too. The issue of hammers is not
difficult, really. It’s just a matter of what you want it to do. If
one is like most of us here, a hammer is largely for stamping and
general smashing of stuff. In that case almost any good hammer of a
good weight will do - there’s nothing wrong with getting a $100
swiss hammer, but it’s not going to hammer any better. If and when
you get into raising, planishing, swaging and all manner of other
things - farriers, clockmakers, ship builders, upholstery -where it
really matters what the hammer is about, then it becomes important.

I think the important point of this thread is the context of the
question - why have expensive hammers and are they any better? I
would say (again) that newbies can do just fine with about anything
for general work. If the hammer head has some certain shape or
quality that makes it ideal for some job, then that’s the best. If
it’s just a pretty version of a ball pein for a lot of money - well,
sure if you like it. It probably won’t do the job any better than a
generic ball pein, though.