Ramsberg

A poll regarding hammer handle preferences.

Your prefered hammer handle material.  

79 members have voted

  1. 1. Which handle material is the most comfortable for you to use?

    • Metal
      0
    • Fiberglass
      2
    • Wood
      77
  2. 2. Which handle material is the least comfortable for you to use?

    • Metal
      71
    • Fiberglass
      7
    • Wood
      1


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In light of the lack of significant published studies regarding the "healthiest" hammer handle material to use, maybe peoples preferences will shed some light on the subject.

Caleb Ramsby

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I think you'll find that the most desireable is a wooden handle.
- this has been discussed in the forums before.

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My grandfather made his living with a hand hammer; first as a farrier and general blacksmith then in later years as a carpenter - I helped him build houses during summers when I was a teenager. He always used hickory or osage for handles and shaved them down to a small oval cross-section near the head. He had very large hands but his hammers were almost dainty in comparison. The bottom of the handles also had a bell shape to allow an easier grip without clenching. He broke a lot of handles but kept several hammers of the same size in his work truck as spares then replace them after accumulating several. Maybe once every year or so, we would take a Saturday off work and make 30-40 at one time. These were rough cut with a jack plane then finished as necessary.

I posted all of this info just as another point of reference but I also have tried synthetic handles a couple of times and always return to wood, probably because that's simply how I learned to do it at a young age. I cannot stand a metal handle and will not use one for any reason - the only exception to this being Estwing rock hammers, which are great tools for that purpose.

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For metal work wood is the only material that I use. I suppose that fiberglass would be an acceptable substitute if it could be shaped to fit the hand easily and the availability cost were equal to wood. If you modify your hammer handles to fit,then wood is the material of choice. For me, wood is the clear choice for comfort because I make or modify all of my handles.

Steel handles are a non-starter for my metal working tools. Don't like the feel of them as they strike. Don't like the Rubber handles. I vote not comfortable.

I have often wondered how laminated bamboo handles would feel.

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No doubt wood for me. I recall the older men (in my youth) liking fiberglass for standard hammers ( farm ) and sledges, splitting mauls. I have no problems with this thinking, I just prefer wood. Always have, always will.

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I like wood handles because i'm old fashioned like that, and as stated above it's what i've always used. I voted metal handle as my second choice because the only other hammer i've had that's not wood had a metal handle with a rubber grip.

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Wood handles for my hammers, PECAN is my favorite, Hickory is the second choice. Any old stick for struck tools.

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Wood for me. I like a more straight line profile. I usually rasp down store brought hickory handles to a rectangular profile and ease the lines on the sander. You can leave it rough (grip) or finish smooth. Linseed oil and paint thinner mix for the raw wood .
finish.

Peter

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what is popular dose not mean its good for you. yes its true I do like fiberglass but the most important reason is a teaching tool for new smiths give them the tools that they can use right and protect there body its easier to learn a good habit than to have to relearn and correct a bad habit after injury.

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Certainly wood is the most comfortable, and practical material for all the hammers used in the Smithy, and for MOST other applications, ... however I do prefer a 24 oz. "Estwing" framing hammer for rough carpentry, and roofing.


.

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Wood also here. I have several reasons that I use it before other materials. The biggest is that I am able to keep hickory splits in the shop to fit any hammer I have so I save some money and I avoid a trip to Ace Hardware. It is also quite pleasing to the eye, especially as sweat and time enhance it.

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Besides my rock hammer the only metal handled hammer I have is one with a pipe handle that I lend out to drive tent stakes at camp-outs. it seems that for *me* metal handles would be for "rough usage" where you are far away from the shop or expect non-ept users.

I see hammers retrofitted with pipe handles frequently at the fleamarket here, they tend to be focused on landscapers and other folks using low grade labour. (My brother runs a landscaper business and has had employees break handles on purpose so they don't have to work...I've advised him not to use wooden handles for picks and axes for that reason) I wince every time I see an antique sledge ("cast steel") crudely welded to a chunk of pipe...

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For me this is obvious, and proven with use, just try using a metal handled hammer, i pounded some nails in with one a good number of months ago.. didn't take long for me to change hammers and wonder why the heck anyone would put a metal handle on one!!

wood on all my hammers!

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Francis; The people being polled here are not average users... they are semi-skilled to extremely skilled frequent hammer users. Their opinions are unlikely to be based on whimsical ideas. What is overwhelmingly popular among such users is EXTREMELY likely to be the best available option for them! If you disagree based upon your own experience so be it... but if you think that some tiny and controversial study proves them ALL wrong... well you better think twice!

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bigfootnampa it is from personal experiences I make my statement. In no way do I think any one is an average user. I see the skill level from the pictures people post. My opinion is by no means whimsical. there are many studies on the subject. I am not out to prove any one wrong just to present other options. So if you have an open mind what do have to loose try it.

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I use wood, usually reshaped hickory. I thin the neck area a good deal as a shock absorber, rebounder, and it even "whips" on the backswing.

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I would like to give a big thanks to all that have contributed to not only this poll, but also this thread.

Especially in the frankness of those who have posted on this thread.

Caleb Ramsby

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Francis I am glad to ear that you are making up your own mind! I have used fiberglass handles a bit. I like that they tend to be very rugged in rough usage... but I prefer wood for most purposes. I have managed to break a few of each. I have used them pretty hard, to do it, in most cases. My wooden handled hammers are now mostly custom made by myself and not very comparable to factory handles... but they are very lovely and perform well, grip easily, stay pretty solid, and look even better than they work!

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