My minimalist tools – another hammer

Warrington hammer

Hammers are important tools in the furniture makers arsenal but we don’t really need large ones and less so claw hammers.

I have owned this hammer since a boy. I bought a 16oz Stanley claw hammer at the same time. That was in the days when there was only one maker and all claw hammers had wooden shafts, two steel wedges and all claw hammers looked the same. No waffle heads, ergonomic plastic grips and ripping-claws. At least that was so here in the UK.

This cross peen hammer is known in England as a Warrington hammer. The are sold according to weight starting with 6oz and increasing in 2oz increments to around 14oz. I find the best sizes are 10oz and 12oz and I have to say that the UK Stanley has always been the best in my book.

Stanley made the best ones

My Stanley has a nicely shaped ash handle and the first thing that I do with wooden shafts is scrape off the varnish and recoat with three or four coats of boiled linseed oil over three or four days. I apply a fresh coat every few years after that and then it will look like this after 48 years of use.

I think the main reason I like this hammer type is the balance. It sits well in the hand and swings well with the arm. The 10 oz is a perfect weight for driving pins (finish nails US) and also for setting saws with a nail set. I use it for tapping joints together and taking them apart.

Driving smalll nails and panel pins

To set small nails reverse the hammer, hold the nail between finger and thumb and strike the nail head between the fingers with the cross peen aspect of the head.

 

 

 

Once it’s started, turn the hammer around and strike in the normal manner.

 

 

 

 

I have a 12oz made by Brades that I also like. It was used by a blacksmith an has that blacksmith’s look. It’s 2 oz extra weight is handy for driving larger nails and of course larger joints if necessary,

6 comments on “My minimalist tools – another hammer

  1. Why use the back end for starting the brad I don’t really understand? You can hit it much easier with the main bell head. Why waste time switching the hammer around? New to cabinetry so just trying to understand. Thanks!

  2. If you were starting the nail with the broad base of the hammer, you would need to grasp the nail beneath the head, which is can be difficult if the nail is short or if you have big old fat fingers. The cross peen slides between your thumb and fore finger to start the nail as is shown in the drawings above.

    If you don’t have this style of hammer you might have to grasp short nails with a pair of needlenose pliers to start them.

  3. Dear Paul,

    Thank you again for all. Is there a blog / video some where in your stuff that shows how to make/fit a new handle? I bought an old Stanley Warmington from the UK but saddly, the hammer had a rough Life… Just under the head of the hammer, the wood has been striked many times (broken fibers): now the head is moving dangerously and I lack precision. Extremely sad cause it is definitely one of my faborite hammer. I wish you Could show us also how to proper fit the head on the handle (wedging the head?). Merry Christmas Paul, to you and your extended family!

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