Don’t Buy Our Hammer (But do Buy One)

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Sorry our lump hammer isn’t $5 and won’t wash your truck or cream your spinach.

And if you think that $85 or $90 is crazy for something made by hand in the United States in small batches, then I wish you Godspeed to Walmart.

So after you’re done telling the kids to get off your lawn, get on eBay and buy a used engineer’s hammer with a head that weighs 2-1/2 lbs. (or 1,000 grams for the metricated woodworker). Cut the handle down so it’s about 9” or so long below the head. Clean up the thing and re-wedge the head.

Then put it on your bench.

A metal hammer of this size will save your skin the next time an assembly freezes up during glue-up or won’t come apart. My lump hammer has rescued many workbenches, chairs and dovetailed joints from disaster because it can go almost anywhere and it always outpunches a wooden mallet.

Use it to set your holdfasts (and ignore the people who say you can’t hit metal with metal. Perhaps they’ve never driven a nail or worked on an anvil). Speaking of anvils, use the side of the lump hammer as a small anvil to set rivets or clench nails.

Then one day, when you’re feeling randy, try using it for mortising. Don’t swing it. Just drop it on your chisel handle. Set wedges with it. Swage hinges.

And because this isn’t a Ronco commercial, you can now use your imagination for some other bulleted items.

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You might be wondering: Why are we making a lump hammer if there are used ones (and cheesy new ones) available for less? For the same reason we make our own furniture when there are antiques and cheesy flat-pack furniture available for less.

And one more thing…. Nah, I’m gonna drink a beer.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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53 Responses to Don’t Buy Our Hammer (But do Buy One)

  1. g2isiteblog says:

    I’m gonna buy one just to say cudos for this awesome product pitch!

    Hero Chris!

  2. don2laughs says:

    Well said, Christopher! I’ve been using a cheepo from HD for many years. Yours looks better (nice enough to keep on my bench instead of on the floor like the cheepo) and I’m sure the heavy hammer concept would evolve in my tiny brain to be even more beneficial than you, so eloquently, conveyed….BUT I’ll have to wallow it around and keep it in mind ’til the cotton gets a little taller. Wish I still drank beer…..took my 30 year token/cake last Thursday…. but then I’d be writing more hot checks!! Love supporting your work…and probably will get the hammer later but need to justify the expense a bit.
    Thanks for ALL you do

  3. Richard Mahler says:

    … “For the same reason we make our own furniture when there are antiques and cheesy flat-pack furniture available for less.”

    So what is wrong with buying antiques that are in remarkable condition after 150, 200 or more years, and were made by hand by competent craftsmen in much the same manner as you do – though I have rarely bought any for less than new handmade furniture made today? 😀

    No arguments re: your lump hammer.

    • jenohdit says:

      It’s a fool’s errand to try to save money with a “vintage” or homebrew hammer rather than buying a production item.

      The protective case will need to be custom made for one of those and that’s when the cost really skyrockets.

      I sunk a fortune into silk velvet alone for my so-called “bargain” hammer case. Good thing it wasn’t my first french fit project or I would have had to order extra material.

  4. johncashman73 says:

    Why on Earth would anyone cream spinach? Or even eat spinach, for that matter. It’s not food. It’s what food eats.

    The flat sides of this hammer seal the deal for me. That’s a useful feature, and one I’ve never seen on another hammer. A handy mini anvil is nice. Clenching nails just got easier.

  5. gdblake00 says:

    What I can’t tell from the picture, does the handle have a swell at the bottom so you don’t have to grip the thing super tight to keep it from sliding out of sweaty hands when you swing it? That swell makes all the difference between a hammer you can use all day and one you hate to pick up.

  6. Tony Zaffuto says:

    My first (called it a small sledge, but it was a mechanic’s hammer of about 2lbs) was bought in the mid 70’s, Still have, though the handle was shortened to reset, and , though not fully machined, the sides were flat. My second was bought in the mid 90’s and is an Estwing, with an Estwing hammer style steel handle. The head was machined.

    Both have been used and used enough to warrant buying the Estwing (not Borg cheap when bought!). Never used for chisels, but just the ticket to knock apart reluctant stuff.

  7. Adam Godet says:

    When will they be available? I just went to site and didn’t see them listed…

  8. Dio! Your hammer looks so good…bet it’s a great hit. (Richard -did you really just say that?)

  9. Matthew Buntyn says:

    I was one of, “those people,” when it came to your hammer. Everytime you wrote an update I thought, “Best of luck, I’m not spending that on a hammer when the one I bought from HF does the same job.”
    All of that changed when I was there for Megan’s class in April. Even though I was “never going to buy one,” I asked to try it out. That was a mistake. I may not get in on the first run, but I will own one of those uppity, overpriced hammers.

    • Andrew Brant says:

      Same. I used one at the storefront and immediately bought a vintage one. No looking back now.

      For what it’s worth, I like having a well worn dingy one too. I use it to smash a piece of flat pack furniture down to size to fit in the garbage, for one. Most useful

  10. Part of me would feel bad beating on it. Looks too pretty to use as an anvil

  11. Richard says:

    I’ll let you know how I feel about your pretty hammer after I hit my thumb with it or drop it on my toe (I don’t wear steel toed shoes).

  12. Dave says:

    Dude! Stop hanging around fellow Anarchist’s right before you blog. That was the single worst product rollout in the history of mankind. Seriously… talk to people who care about you… daughters, wife, all of the authors that you publish, Rainy, Meghan, Tom, Will … Anyone who cares about you as a person or friend. I’ve never met you but I care about you enough to tell you to pull this blog and try again.

    • raney says:

      Oh, if I had a dime for everyone who called me to improve their sales pitch and develop personal restraint in their communications…

      I guess that’s why they call me ‘The Tony Robbins of Toolmakers’.

    • Joe says:

      I’m thinking they need to create an application process to determine if we are worthy enough to adopt/purchase such a fine tool. Also, to prove we will oil it and play with it.

  13. I’m really looking forward to these, but still, stay off my lawn.

  14. jarvilaluban says:

    Forget the hammer, I’m paying for the writing in this post. Then I’m buying a hammer.

  15. Eric R says:

    I made my own and I use it often.
    Thanks Chris

  16. Jim Littiken says:

    A good 2.5 lb bash hammer from a one of the high quality manufacturer runs about $90.00. So yours is not over priced at all. Now I have to get back yelling at those dam kids and shooting the dog crapping in my yard with a B.B. gun.

  17. Chris F says:

    The problem with doing a large proportion of your sales and marketing on the internet is that you can’t obey the sage advice of “never reading the comments”. 🙂

    I scoffed at the price when you first announced it…but then I’ve discovered the joy of premium hand saws and I’ve got a feeling that this hammer might fit in the same category. The joy of using it is around a lot longer than the pain of buying it lasts.

    I’ll be very interested in hearing some reviews when you release it. It certainly looks the goods.

    • tsstahl says:

      I’ll give you my opinion right now. In short, it is a hammer. Short nomenclature is BFH, which is a noticeable improvement over the basic common BFR. So much for the obvious.
      The black handle treatment looks tres cool, but I did not like the fit in my paw at the bottom. Choking up for more controlled blows is quite comfortable. The flat sides of the hammer really allow you to just know you are oriented correctly. The squarish nature of the head is very versatile in that every surface becomes a knocker (sorry for abusing the prototype, Chris/Raney).
      I don’t have experience with this tool with the untreated handle. I suspect that I will really like the handle because it looks exactly like the one on my right hand broad axe. The axe handle registers great and fills my paw the way I like. I’m sure I’ll get hands on at Amana, if not before then.

      I was not tempted to purchase the prototype. After reading about the new handle, I’m still on the fence regarding purchasing because I have a great hammer that has been at my side for nearly a decade. It has the squarish head, but not as heavy as the Crucible BFH. The only downside to my existing hammer is that it has a fiberglass handle. In high heat the rubber grip sweats and becomes slippery. I often say someday I’ll replace it with a wood handle. So, the question is does the expense and time of a handle outweigh the $90 convenience of a solved problem? Didn’t mean for this to be a lengthy post.

  18. denvergeorge says:

    Had never thought about using a lump hammer for mortising until I read one of your posts. Had to go out and buy an interim hammer until yours become available. After using a lump hammer for mortising I would never go back to a lighter hammer. A big lump hammer makes mortising just too easy. Can’t wait to try yours.

  19. Justin Leib says:

    For cripes sake, will you just sell the flipping thing already? How long must we wait??

  20. Marcus Davis says:

    I’m just here for the creamed spinach.

  21. Paul Londo says:

    Now mine’s not one of your fancy lump hammers, it’s actually a cross peen hammer of approx the same size that I use for a lot of things, including driving in wood or metal tent stakes for 18th century reenacting.

  22. davevaness says:

    When and where can I but one of these?

  23. Mark White says:

    In the last post about this hammer reference was made to England’s master craftsman Alan Peters now sadly departed and his lump hammer, I wonder if he would have paid for a hand made version of this hammer, he was renowned for his frugal nature, so no, if he was in America he would indeed probably go to Walmart.

  24. Quercus Robur says:

    Price seems right & fair, arguing about it is futile. I won’t be buying one because I already have a 3-pound beast, but what I can do is recommend wholeheartedly on getting a “persuasion hammer” as I like to tell to my kids. Nothing beats the feeling of, ahem, beating some nail/tenon/stake until it screams “I believe I can! I believe I can!”.

  25. Barry MacDonald says:

    I want to be the first one on Neanderthal Heaven to own a Crucible lump hammer. I am sure, everyone there will be very impressed and, have nothing but good things to say my purchase.

  26. One Big Marine says:

    I have one that has been handed down through the generations (I’m the fourth), it has been used and used.

  27. Lem says:

    Testify!

    …ahhhhhmeeeennnnnn

  28. Joe says:

    I will eventually get one. But, for some reason, I feel compelled to buy a flammable solvent cabinet first. Not sure why 🙂

  29. অস্থির যাযাবর says:

    Will you be shipping to Canada?

  30. SMJacks05 says:

    “ignore the people who say you can’t hit metal with metal”

    Haha, pretty sure you used to say that. In fact, I think you’re on video saying it.

  31. mcdara says:

    If I have my usual success with Sector making this weekend, I may be desperate for one of these right away. Any chance of picking one up?

  32. Paul Fowler says:

    my dads 3#er short flared handle is all l need!
    he used it 40 years driving lags into crossbars on telephone poles, 30/40ft up

  33. You have done a good job in promoting you hammer. Would buy one just on that note…

  34. MikeC says:

    This is possibly the nicest large thumb-finder ever made. This is definitely getting added to my Crucible Tool wish list, along with the hold fast & dividers.
    Just a question though is it a 2-1/2 lb hammer or a 1000 gram hammer? A metricated woodworker wants to know.

  35. Skokie Coyote says:

    I’ve bought the peerless holdfast (threw it in the dewy grass and bloomed a rusty beaut for good holding), the curves (Sino-Gallic fusion), and the improved divider (in a word, irresistable). Now I have to somehow rationalize buying this hammer which i have to admit might be worth having for its beauty alone. Surely the function has been exhaustively tested and embodied in this exquisite piece, by the coolest brooding toolmakers this side of the Pecos.
    Returning to Chicago from Indianapolis, I found myself driving through Covington, Indiana. Ah yes: I remembered reading that the shop is located in Covington. So I cruised around this sleepy little town looking for the shop, no luck….cuz the shop is in Covington, Kentucky, not Indiana. oops

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