Friday, May 17, 2013

If I had a hammer

“I want my red hammer, Dad, and please put Mr. Flintstone on the computer.”

OK, why my 3-year-old has to indicate the “red hammer” is because, yes, he has multiple hammers -- made of plastic, of course. And why not? One must have multiple versions of such a tool that’s a cornerstone of any good tool box.

Hammers come in many types and sizes: the tack, ball-peen, sledge, framing and claw. Stone hammers date back to 2,600,000 B.C.

Today, the make or brand is just as important as the style, size and -- yes -- the color. I should mention that “Bob the Builder has a “red hammer.”

Now you have Estwing, Vaughan Mfg., , Hardcore Hammers, S-K Handtool , Snap-on Tools and Craftsman, just a few brands made in the U.S.A. The type of work you need to do will determine what kind of hammer to buy. Most utility or catch-all work can be done with the claw hammer. The claw hammer is the most commonly used hammer, and it's what I use most. I bought mine at a secondhand store and replaced the handle. Buying used tools is great because they are cheap and many times made in the U.S.A. because they're older -- and the money often goes to a good cause.

For rough carpentry or light to medium demo work a framing hammer is great, for big demo work, yes the sledge hammer is needed. The ball-peen is for shaping metal and the tack is for small projects.

The other thing to consider is the type of handle. You’ve got wood, fiberglass and metal with a rubber or leather grip. Yes, like coffee, too many choices.

Find one that feels comfortable in your hand and that is the right weight for you. A hammer is like a ball glove: You can’t buy one without putting it on or picking it up to see how it feels. And remember you can always add to the collection.

As for the red hammer, it’s a plastic claw or it might be a framing hammer, not sure, but it's made some good dents in our wood banister. We can’t seem to find it anywhere. (Hmmm.) As for Mr. Flintstone, I think he uses a stone hammer?