For more information on chisel hammers, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
OK. Heard recently of a woodworking guru describing plastic headed hammers disparagingly and then describe another heavy duty brass mallet as the way to go. Not really true. Reality is, again, it’s seldom an either or, but more likely many or around three or four anyway. Balanced views and balanced hammers and mallets is everything.
My mate Nick uses a cast iron head stuffed with dense raw hid hammer, perfect for heavy work such as timber framing and such. He really likes his and so do I, but it’s not really for driving his chisels so much as dispatching the joints.
I have several wooden mallets I’ve made and used through the decade that I wouldn’t change for anything that are just great, I have seen silly little brass-headed chisel hammers some engineer thought we needed with short shafts that are imbalanced and cute. I hate cute. I posted in the past on my Thorex hammer and then found I couldn’t find them in the USA until a few weeks ago. What the secrecy was I don’t know. I found this hammer. It’s wonderful in the hand and gets the job done without an ounce of excess weight. I love it. Now that doesn’t mean it replaces all other mallets, but for under twenty bucks it gets new woodworkers started with something solid and without compromise. Other mallet types can come later. The name on the hammer is Vaughan and the place of origin at first glance is Illinois, but the hammer is actually made in the UK. This one is also made by Thorex, UK and aside from the wooden shaft it’s the same as the one I use. Mine is Nylon shafted and has nylon interchangeable heads. These heads tended to slip so I roughened the faces and they work perfectly well, but these yellow heads made for the US models are wonderful in that they don’t slip. A slip of white paper on the wooden shaft says made in England.
It’s becoming more difficult than ever to find out exactly where things are made and that’s all part of the shame we bear for deception. This is a good chisel hammer that will last well and deliver the goods. Great tool!
Oh, and remember that these Thorex hammers are available in different sizes and weights and a wide range of head types so you can pick heavier or lighter weight models to suit your personal preference and soft to hard heads to. With these yellow head; I beat one on a concrete step has hard as I could two or three times and could not break one Very important.