For any professional carpenter or avid do it yourselfer, the basic framing hammer is an indispensable tool. From fastening headers to pulling nails to knocking that king stud perfectly plumb, it is hard to imagine a tool belt without one - and for good reason. Your hammer is one of the most often used, abused, and neglected tools used. And to top it off, it is one of the tools that can cause injuries to sneak up on you through repetitive stress.
Newer designs and materials have changed the way we think of hammers. Once, weight was king for professional framers. Many, if not most, would use a bulky 28 ounce framing hammer for the big work. They could drive nails faster, hit harder, and get the work done more quickly. However, that came at the expense of many forearms, elbows, and wrists. Additionally, after many blows, fatigue stress would set in and the wood or steel handles would often times eventually fail.
Seeing these issues, manufacturers have developed new lines of hammers, using advanced engineering and high end materials to significantly reduce stress on the human body, while maintaining or even improving productivity.
One such hammer is Stiletto's TiBone TB15MC.
The leader of the pack
Amazon Price: $259.99 $169.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 14, 2015)
About the Stiletto TB15MC
Stiletto's titanium framing hammer makes quick work of the biggest framing jobs, while reducing recoil shock ten fold. Additionally, its specially designed claw makes 180 degree nail removal a breeze. Its magnetic nail starter can be handy in certain situations, and the replaceable face means this will be a tool you can use for a lifetime. Despite its 15 ounce weight, this lightweight packs the same amount of punch as a 28 ounce steel hammer, so you won't be sacrificing any muscle, and you'll be saving your own muscles (and joints).
Are you buying the hype yet? No? OK. For many of us, its long been thought that the harder you wanted to drive a nail or spike, the heavier your hammer should be. While that is true, it is only one part of the equation. The energy used to drive that nail, kinetic energy, is calculated by taking the mass of the object (for our use, the weight of the hammer) and multiplying it by the velocity - SQUARED! That means that an increase in velocity will give you a much larger increase in energy than a proportional increase in mass. So, because a light weight hammer is easier to swing at a higher speed than a heavier one, you get more driving energy.
To put yet another check mark in titanium's box, consider the fact that the energy created by swinging the hammer is more efficiently transferred to the nail through a titanium head as opposed to a steel head. You can expect to see a 70% energy transfer out of a steel head. In other words, 3 out of every 10 swings might as well be misses. How much better is a titanium hammer? 97% efficiency. That is a huge difference that significantly effects the amount of time and effort that you need to expend.
At $260, I understand that the Stiletto may be out of many budgets. Luckily, there are other options. Stiletto's MuscleHead line still gets you the weight savings and energy transfer of the TiBone line, but at a reduced cost. Traditionalists will also love the hickory handle. Best part? It is less than half the price of the TiBone.
Next time you are looking at buying a framing hammer, take a long hard look at the new titanium offerings. There is more to the tools than marketing hype, and your increased production will prove it. Your elbows and wrists will thank you as well.