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Few things in life are as satisfying to a red blooded male than hitting something bloody hard with a steel hammer. Usually a nail. I'll use the sexual allegory as an example of how ingrained in our DNA this is. They say our brain has three parts, Reptililan (instinct), Mammalian (tribal affiliation) and Human (Reason). The hammer is so Reptilian, it may as well have scales and be dripping saliva.
This isn't your average namby, pamby 16 ounce claw hammer. Oh, no. This baby has an additional 4 ounces of thumpitude. An increase of over 20%. It has a shock reduction grip for periods of protracted pounding. It is extremely well balanced. You can easily demonstrate this with a single finger placed two inches from the head.
While not ideal for fiddly tasks due to the length of the shaft (insert smutty joke here: ____________) it is best suited to outside tasks. A garage, fence or shed is ideal. You will need to be careful when driving screws as twenty ounces of forged steel on your thumb is not an experience you will want to repeat often.
If you are nailing two bits of wood together, you may want a third piece underneath that, as used properly, this hammer has the facility to go through both bits without slowing if you get carried away. This power can also be used to drive a screw part-way into a stiff housing, before letting the screwdriver take over.
A claw hammer also has the reverse side, intended for extracting nails, though it will also work for screws. One of the very first things I used this hammer for was to drive two nails into the shingle on the inside of my garage, a few inches apart. The new home for my new £25 hammer.
Part of its appeal is the way it looks. Functional, practical. It is the very definition of a claw hammer. There are no silly choices in terms of protrusions or holes on the bottom of the rubberised grip, the DIY equivalent of go-faster stripes. It is not the cheapest product around, but I get the distinct impression that this will last a large number of years. In fact, I could well believe it may outlive me. It has that kind of solidity.
I do a fair amount of DIY work around the home, and when my last claw hammer (an old metal hammer head on a wooden shaft) finally gave up, I decided to invest in a good quality one piece construction claw hammer. A friend had told me about these Estwing models and how good they were. So looking around, I managed to get this Estwing Curved Claw Hammer for just under £35 from Screwfix.
First things first - why do you need a claw hammer? A claw hammer does 2 things. Initially, it can hammer against things with the heavy blunt bit at the front, such as knocking nails in to a piece of wood or a wall. Secondly, it can pull nails etc out of things using the V shaped bit at the back (the claw), hence the name 'Claw Hammer'. The curved bit of the claw allows you to provide leverage to help you pull things out by pivoting the hammer around the head whilst pulling/pushing on the handle. Top tip - if you are pulling things out, put a piece of wood under the head to protect the surface you are pivoting against. This can also help to give a bit more leverage in some cases for particularly stubborn things.
So what is so special about this Estwing Curved Claw Hammer? Well for starters, it is a one piece construction. So the head and the shaft are made from one piece of high quality steel, meaning that is it very strong and tough. It has a 20oz head which is a good size for a decent hammer, overall weighing 859 grams. Measurements wise it is 35.6cm long by 12.7cm wide and 2.5cm thick.
Towards the bottom of the shaft of the hammer you have a liquid vinyl/rubber grip sleeve that has been bonded on to the shaft rather than the slip on sleeve that you often find with cheaper handles. This means that the grip will stay gripped to the shaft and not turn or rotate around the shaft as cheaper models do. Hence, you have more control over what you can do with the hammer.
But the key element of this hammer that stands it apart from all others is how it feels in your hand during use. It just seems to balance perfectly compared to other hammers that I have used. To try and explain, with other hammers you tend to get a big lumpy hammer head on a lightweight shaft. So it can become very tiring on your wrist and arm swinging the head back and forth to hammer something in, especially if you are doing a lot of construction work, which is something I use to find with my old hammer. Also, because of that weight difference between the head and the shaft, you tend to lose out on the accuracy when you strike something like a nail head, and hence, fingers and thumbs can get hit and bruised.
With this Estwing model, the shaft feels weightier and balances the head better, so it feels better balanced in your hand. So initially it not so tiring to bang things in. But more importantly, the combination of the bonded grip and the balanced head/shaft arrangement means that you have better control of the hammer, thereby giving you more accuracy in the strike, and hence, saving your fingers and thumbs from a battering. Personally, it is a joy to use, and I have found that the number of times I have battered my fingers etc has dramatically reduced since I started using this hammer.
In summary, whilst this may be a more costly hammer to purchase compared to other cheaper own brand models, you only have to use it a few times to appreciate how expertly designed and balanced this hammer is. And bearing in mind that you normally have a hammer for many years, the initial outlay in terms of cost will be very much appreciated over the years by your fingers and thumbs from the reduced battering that they would normally take. This really is the Rolls Royce of hammers and hence, comes with a full 5 star recommendation.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
When it comes to hammers I know nothing about them at all till mine broke. Yes I broke it. It came with a set of pink tools and the plastic handle came off the head and left me without a hammer. No I had no intention of going out and buying another one though because at the end of the day I only want to put a picture up here and there and I can use one of me shoes for that if need be. Then one day I was talking to my friends dad who was clearing out the boot of his car and I spotted this hammer and I told him about mine falling apart and that it was like a toy and he passed me this one to keep saying he had plenty already.
Estwing isn't a make I am aware of. After a little research I now know its an American company but I can't find any stockists for this hammer though it is available on line and your looking at paying about 30-35 pounds for this. Yes really I'm shocked a hammer can cost that much too!
This hammer though is fabulous. I'm not saying I'd personally pass the amount of cash this would cost me to buy but I can see why this is an expensive item.
The handle is light blue and in small yellow writing we are told that is is Estwing. It has raised bumps on the handle and airholes and has a rubberised, soft feeling to it. I can grip this with ease, its comfortable to hold and use and as it only weighs 20oz this doesn't kill me to lift it.
The knocking in bit (hammer head) is smooth, flat, shiny and silver and because its flat it gives a nail a good clean bash in. To the other side of the hammer head there is a claw of course for pulling nails or screws out or whatever you wish to with. It is wider to the end of it than the base which means we can virtually grab any size of nail out with ease.
This is a very well made, sturdy item and of course so you would expect it to be for the price it costs but the fact is this, this hammer will probably outlive me. Its light enough for me to able to use it without too much effort required and it does the jobs I need it to and I trust it. It may not be as girly as I like but it is a fantastic hammer!
I always used to think any hammer was as good as another and had been content using a cheap and cheerful budget claw hammer from B&Q for years before trying an Estwing. The difference in performance was staggering and I wouldn't consider buying anything else now.
Built in a classic style as oppose to the new weight forward types, which although nice just feel a bit odd to use in comparison, it has a polished metal head and shaft with a blue shock absorbing grip that is soft without being squishy and is easy to hold onto even when your hand have got a bit hot and sweaty.
The Estwing 20oz claw hammer is a great all rounder for general DIY, the range they produce includes models for nearly every occasion you'd consider using a hammer but this is the one that I use the vast majority of the time. Perfectly weighted to deliver maximum force to it's target and with a rubber grip to reduce vibration it is easy to belt in nail after nail without any discomfort. It cetainly can give a nail a fair old clout, I've never used anything else that can put a 4" nail into timber with just 3 hits.
For the average DIY user it is an expensive purchase when you consider other makes, but it's such a pleasure to use a tool that gets the job done so effectively I believe it is worth the extra money. This is a hammer that will last a lifetime and having broken several cheaper hammers over the years I have to say this one feels bulletproof in comparison.
Build quality is superb and I would recommend an Estwing to anyone.
"20oz (0.57kg) / Professional design with perfect balance for extra control and striking force / Polished head and claw make nail pulling easier / Features: Solid-Forged; Shock Reduction Grip; One-Piece Construction."