Thorex Hammer by Thor UK Retroshaping

For more information on chisel hammers, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

I have recommended these hammers as chisel and assembly hammers and i doubt that you will find finer models anywhere. I also use them for my wooden planes, to adjust and set the the irons as we do by tapping the heel, nose and iron to lighten up or deepen the cut. One thing does irritate about the hammer in its unchanged form and that it the fact the shaft tapers ever so slightly toward the end f the handle. At first this is not noticeable, but after a day or so you realize you are gripping harder than necessary because of the taper.


I reshaped my hammer shaft to a slight hollow. You must be careful not to taper too much and make the shaft diameter to small, but making this small adjustment transforms the hammer to pure joy. Two coats of boiled linseed oil and you are done.

The polypropylene head, the white one, is indestructible. It gives a very positive strike and of course the centre of percussion is as  direct as can be as long as you can strike within the 38mm diameter head, which most people can. I still like my wooden mallet and nothing will replace that, but these hammers are near perfect. I have two types, one with a wooden shaft and one with a polypropylene shaft which I like equally and is a slightly heavier even though the head is the same weight.

The name of the company making them is Thor. Buying them online from Amazon is about £10. The code number for this Thor model, which is heavy enough for woodworking is 712 – 38mm. I think that is an excellent price for a lifetime hammer. You can also buy a range of screw-in replacement hammer heads that screw in to the steel head and have different hardnesses for different tasks. remember this is a panel beating hammer used for body work on cars.


  1. Paul you are right this is an excellent hammer. I bought one per your recommendation and it is a joy to use. i haven’t done anything with the handle yet and so far it feels comfortable in my hand. Maybe I am use to the “plastic handle ” with the rubber grip as I have used “Plump” Hammers all my life and still have my 1st claw hammer which is over 40 years old.


    1. I took the plastic grip off of my Thorex and then shaped the polypropylene handle with a spokeshave to suit my hand. I then used a coarse rasp to crosshatch the handle for grip and it’s been that way ever since.

  2. Hi Paul,

    I already knew about linseed oil for wood. But can you please explain, why it should be boiled before using it? Or should it be boiling when used?

    Thanks a lot in advance for answering my stupid questions and best regards!


    1. Uwe,

      Boiled Linseed Oil (sometimes abbreviated to blo) is linseed oil that has been heated and had chemicals added to it to make it dry faster. It’s sold as a finished product, not something you cook up on your own. I’ve never found anything except Boiled Linseed Oil in the hardware and lumber yards around my house. Paul’s not suggesting that you boil raw linseed oil.

      When working with oils like linseed oil you need to be VERY careful about spontaneous combustion. This stuff really will burst into flames when oily rags are left lying around. Rags and brushes need to be washed out and dried flat when you’re through using them as a safety precaution.

      This is not true for machine oils like 3 in 1 oil. If you search this site you’ll find several good posts on the use of linseed oil and safe handling rules.

    2. Boiled linseed oil is the processed oil you buy as a finished product. It’s treated and g
      Has additives added called driers that help it to dry, otherwise it takes a few days to dry.

  3. Hi John, hi Paul,

    thanks a lot to both of you. I only knew natural linseed oil without any additives. And of coures, I knew that a rag with linseed oil could start burning on relatively low temperatures. That was part of the reason for my question. Now its clear to me and I start looking for these products.

    Again, thanks to both of you an best regards!


  4. Hi Paul,

    On the subject of re-shaping handles, I was hoping that you would consider a video or detailed article about shaping and fitting axe/hatchet handles. I’ve been refurbishing axes/hatchets and the handles have been giving me trouble.

    Thanks Elvin

  5. Paul I am from the US and have trouble finding that thor hammer. Do you have any sources here in the US…..Thanks Rick

    1. There are several suppliers but The Hammer Source stocks a wide range with accessories. I suggest trying Amazon too. People tell me that’s where they got theirs from.

  6. Hi Paul and thanks for your recommandation.

    Did you take the 712R :

    or maybe the 712N ?

    Are they bouncing off the chisel when you strike them ?

    Looking at the picture at the begining of the page, I would say it’s the 712R but if you could check that for me that would be brilliant.

    I was thinking of maybe taking a dead blow hammer (rebound free), what’s your input on that ?

    Model: 22E 22 oz / 616 g Face diameter: 41 mm

    or maybe this one:

    Model: 23S 23 oz / 644 g Face diameter: 38 mm

    Many thanks again.


    1. I have both plus I also have a completely nylon 712 that comes with a black rubberised cover on the shaft which I removed. There is a blog on it somewhere in my archives.
      I don’t like dead blow hammers as I can no feedback from the hammer in use. I don’t own one. If you use the search button on my blog and just put in hammer or Thorex it comes up with info very accurately. All of the hammers give very direct blow and little bounce. V similar to a wooden mallet.

  7. Dear Paul, It’s so funny finding your comments on line; takes me back 45 years and across the world to London where I was working building theatre scenery and oddments of furniture. Reading your thoughts on the THOR persuaded me to get one and try it, and I’m delighted with it for driving chisels and general bench work. I find it can give me both delicate control and heavier persuasion too when required – and without undue effort. I too immediately scraped off the factory handle finish and reached for the BLO. I found the the handle was a little too long for me, and took an inch or so off – I find this helps me with control of the chisel. Have not used any other mallet since I got it a year ago. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Paul and team.
    Why don’t you have an Amazon referall link for tools like this that you recommend. The referall revenue could definitely help you defer the costs of maintaining the website and developing videos. BTW, I just purchased the hammer and most (nearly all) of the customer reviews mention Paul’s reccomenatio.

    Thanks and keep up the frat work

    1. We take no sponsorship or support from businesses. It keeps us honest and clean! Our income comes from our physically working whether that’s making videos to preserve and serve my craft or from making the things we make to teach and train others.

  9. HI Paul, do you ever use the “soft grey” PVC striking face or just the white nylon striking face? I am trying decide whether to get one with 2 white faces or one grey + 1 white face – I see that you own both configurations. I am leaning toward Thor, wooden handle with 2 whites faces, model 12-712N [ref. ]

    For replacement faces, would you go for white (£2.45) or yellow=extra hard (£2) – you seemed to like the yellow faced ones sold in the USA? Or perhaps one of each! 😀

    BTW Are you in Oxfordshire now? I think I might benefit from a “jump starter” course if you offer one!

    1. I know this question was addressed to Paul but if I can put in my two pence worth – Paul and his team might be a bit busy with the move!

      I recently bought the hammer with one soft grey face and one harder white nylon face. I’ve mostly been using the white nylon face for striking the chisels and the softer grey face for assembling joints to avoid leaving impact marks on the surface of the wood. I have seen Paul using the white nylon face for assembly in some of his videos. Maybe it depends on the wood your using – the white nylon will leave a mark on softwoods like pine but probably not harder woods.

      As Paul said, the white face seems indestructible. The grey rubber will probably wear with time and quicker with a few careless blows on the edge of the face! But I find having the option of the softer surface very useful.

      If you are buying replacement faces make sure they fit your model of hammer. I purchased an orange face at the same time as I ordered the hammer from Amazon but it didn’t fit. The Thor Hammer website is probably the best place to find the correct replacements as per hammer model.

  10. Can anybody tell me what wood the handles are made from? I don’t have much experience of wood identification. I have mostly been working with pine and some other local woods which I don’t even know the English names for.

    I know Ash and Hickory are commonly used for axe handles so probably also for other striking tools. Comparing the grain structure to pictures on the internet I’d guess it’s Ash, which would also make sense geographically.

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