* Prices may differ from that shown
A while back, when redecorating the house and doing up the garden, I bought several tools to help me out with what ever I was having to do at the time.
Then, when it came to doing jobs like laying carpet I had what I thought was the right tools for the job, being a sharp knife, a knee kicker, (which I borrowed from a friend), and a hammer to slam any tacks into the carpet that need to be there. But before doing the job, the same friend, the one who leant me the knee kicker, told me about something else that made such things as carpet laying and, which I tend to do over time, re-felting sheds, together with other jobs that usually need a hammer and tacks, a lot easier to do.
The tool he was talking about was in fact a type of stapler that not only meant I did not have to use Jeremy Clarkson's precision tool, (the hammer), but would actually mean that I could get the job done in less time than it would using the said Clarkson special.
A stapler? I hear you laugh. How on earth can a simple staple keep a carpet down, let alone roofing felt.
Well, it's not just any ordinary stapler, it's an M&S stapler... no, it's not, it's actually a Stanley stapler which goes under the correct name of the Stanley Hammer Tacker which, from the name alone, tells you that it is more than just a stapler that sits on the desk in the office, ready to be used to trap several pieces of paper together, or, when you're bored, fired at the person sitting closest to you so they end up with a hair full of small metal staples...( tee hee. Childish, but fun).
Anyway, I'll call it a stapler as it contains staple, but the staples that it does house are bigger and stronger than your normal staples. They are basically 'industrial' sized staple, being 8mm, 10mm and 12mm, that would probably obliterate a sheet of A4 if you tried to use it to staple your tax returns together.
* So what does this stapler/hammer tacker look like..?
When I first looked at it I thought that it resembled a hammer, albeit a rather fancy hammer that could possibly house some form or electrical head that made physical hamming a thing of the past.
What I mean by that is that it sort of has the hammer shape, almost. Having a handle on one end and a larger head on the other. And, at the end of the day, it is a hammer, sort of.
The entire unit is about 265mm long, about 55mm wide at the handle, about 115mm at the tacking end and about 30mm wide all along, weighing in at no more than 600 grams
It has a handle, which is long and covered in a soft feeling rubber material so that it is not only easy to grip but it is comfortable to hold when using it as a hammer type device, (which it is really).
On the front end there is the real workings, the part where the staples, or tacks, are housed and are forced out of the device with enough force to penetrate what ever you 'whack' with it, although there are certain materials that these staple won't touch, such as metal, brick, lead, iron, water coffee, lager, cheese and onion pasties... hang on? I'm drifting.
The front end is more boxed shape, having the stapler section on the lower part and, with this device, which makes it a little more useful than other hammer tackers, there is a rather nifty 'blade' area at the top, which takes your standard Stanley 'Blades'.
* Is it easy to load up..?
Yes, indeed. In fact it's as easy as loading up your normal office stapler. You just turn the tacker upside down, slide the staple cover over, slot in the new staple and let the staple cover flick back into place, with the spring of the cover gripping the staple and forcing them into position. Just like a normal stapler really, so if you're used a standard stapler then this one is a breeze.
It can fit many staples at once, too many to actually count, but it can handle two strips straight out of the box which give me lots of stapling power per fill up.
* What about using it..?
This is the easy part.
If you can use a hammer then you can use this, without a doubt. All you have to be able to do is whack it down onto what ever you want to staple down. That's it. You just let the combination of Isaac Newton's third law of relativity and the engineering know-how of Stanley do the rest of the work.
To make matters even better for you the handle is made of a lovely soft rubber material that feels nice and smooth in my hand, even when I 'whack' it down onto what ever surface I'm nailing something too. Plus, the fact that it weighs next to nothing, sort of, all add up to make using this quite a pleasant experience, in a hammer/stapler sort of manner.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
Here's another yes answer. Apart from the stapler there is also a rather clever blade that is securely housed in the top section of the tacker which, as if by magic, slides out of the stapler when it is turned upside down, allowing you to slice away at such things as roofing felt or carpets, or anything else that needs slicing.
Plus, so you know where the blade is going to pop out of there's a lovely little image of a Stanley blade so there's no confusion, or nasty accidents.
Changing the blade is a simply matter pressing a button, which lets the old blade out so you can push the new one in, clicking it into place securely.
* Is it safe..?
If you're a bit of an idiot then no, it's not safe and if I say someone like that using this then I would probably phone the police and have then take you away from your own safety.
But, if like the other 99.9% of the world, you know what you're doing with life then this is as safe as using a hammer and a knife. In fact, to be honest, it's probably safer than using a hammer as you don't have to put your 'none hammering' hand in the way when you hold the nail, which sometimes ends up with painful thumb swelling and a lot of bad language. With this tool that thumb whacking danger is eliminated as the nails are in the hammer, although the nails are really staples. But you know what I mean?
* My opinion...
When it comes to doing a 'hammer whacking-staple smacking' job with the speed of a thousand gazelles then this tool is with doubt the quickest thing on the market. It can staple the roof felt onto an 10 foot by 6 foot shed in a matter of minutes, rather than tens of minutes, or even hours if things go wrong. To make it even quicker is the fact that it can be used one handed, unlike using a normal hammer, which I know you can use one handed but you need your other hand to hold the nail don't you? So hammer a nail into something is really a two handed job. But with this tool you only need one hand, so you can use your other hand to either steady yourself whilst balancing precariously on top of a stack of wooden boxes, or just for holding you cup of tea as you hammer that roofing felt into place.
The handle is nice and long without being too long so that it becomes top heavy, or bottom heavy, which could result in missing your target. Then there's the fact that it can take a lot of staples, I'd say about more than a hundred but I haven't counted them as when I have tried my eyes have lost focus, filled with moisture, began to itch and I've almost passed out. So I gave up counting, but it looks more than a hundred, which is a lot of stapling in anyone's books, more than enough for a normal roofing or carpeting job.
It does make a bit of noise when you're using it, the same sort of noise as you'd expect from a hammer. Only there's no sound of metal on metal as the hammer hit's the nail on the head. It's more a thumping/clicking noise as the stapler hit's the staples home with a bit of a jerking action, but not an uncontrollable jerking action.
I particularly like the addition of the blade, which comes out of the top, which turns it to the bottom when you turn the tacker upside down, revealing half the blade so that you can go about slicing up things. It is similar to a normal Stanley knife with the blade being pushed out whilst the other half is held steady inside the unit itself.
* How much does this tacker cost..?
This one sells for about £35, or there-about, which may sound a lot of money for what is essentially a fancy hammer bred with a staple gun but if you are the type of person who will use such a device then it's well worth having in your tool box.
* Would I recommend..?
When it comes to laying carpet, re-felting a shed roof or even just attached thin cladding to a frame work then this tool will half the work load and time that you'd normally take when using a hammer and nails. So, if you do a lot of hammering of this type, or have some jobs planned in the near future, then this tool is well worth investing in as once used you'll no doubt find other jobs that this tool can do.
"Ideal for flooring, roofing, insulation and underlay / This unique hammer tacker including a retractable knife reduces downtime on the job / Holds 2 sticks of staples to reduce down time / Features: Anti-Jam Stapling Technology; Includes Retractable Utility Knife / Specifications: Uses 8, 10 and 12mm G-type staples."