March 15, 2011

Hardcore Hammer - Review

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A while back we told you about an interesting new framing hammer going by the slightly ominous name of Hardcore Hammer. Made with a unique, dual-surfaced striking face, the tool is intended to last longer than the average hammer and, on a daily basis, operate in a superior fashion. We got to talking to the manufacturer and they were nice enough to ship us one to review. As soon as it arrived, we took it out of the box and began using it for the task that we use all of our framing hammers for: aggressive demolition...

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Actually, the project was a bit more involved than that, so for the past month, the Hardcore Hammer has been our chief weapon for the aforementioned demolition, some framing, some this and a lot of that. We used it to hit Vise-Grips that were locked around a stubborn nut, we used it to take down a chunk of a chimney, and we used it to prop open a window while we tossed debris out of the house. Just like any hammer, we used it for everything and then some.

But back to the specifics of the tool. The face of the Hardcore Hammer has a smooth outer ring and a waffle-faced inner part. The inner portion is hardened steel, so it's going to take quite a bit of effort over many, many years before you can even think about wearing it out. And the edges of the waffle face are protected by the outer ring. The fact that the outer ring is smooth also means that you can use a waffle-faced hammer for all of your framing needs, and then when you need to tap in a few finish nails, you can hit with the outer ring and there's no danger of leaving an unsightly waffle print.

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Also, according to the manufacturer, the recessed striking face has the benefit of being less damaging to a thumb or a finger when that mishap inevitably occurs. On this point, we're a little skeptical. A solid thumb strike from a framing hammer is going to unleash such a crushing amount of pain, anguish, and humiliation that we don't think a little less damage is going to amount to much. It's probably the difference between getting hit by a bus that's going 70 mph versus a bus that's going 60 mph. Is there a difference, sure...are you still hopping up and down at the job site screaming like a little girl? Yes.

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So we've been using the hammer and, honestly, it's very nice. We compared it to our old Estwing framing hammer (all of you framers are shaking your heads right now...metal handle...I know...I know...) and it pretty much wins out in all categories. We pounded on it pretty good and the outer ring is hardly showing any wear, but the waffle face looks brand new. There's no question that it was protected during the demolition phase of the game. We also had no idea how rounded the edges of our Estwing had become over the years.

It takes some practice, but after a day or so, we got really good at finding the sweet spot for hitting in finish nails with the outer ring. It's not a hammer that is meant for finish work and we wouldn't want to spend a week doing it, but from time to time, it does work well.

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The handle is hickory and has a good feel to it. The hammer head also has a top and bottom nail notches (with magnets), for the old tap and slam method of driving spikes.

A Hardcore Hammer is going to set you back almost $80, which is a lot of money. But when you think about it, it's a very precisely milled item, particularly with the inner striking surface. In addition to this, the makers of this tool are insisting that it be 100% made in the USA. We were at Home Depot the other day and out of all the hammers they had, we couldn't find a single hammer that can boast that. That said, it's not a bad price for a high-quality tool that you'll be using every day.

Also, at the moment, it looks like there is a limited time sale on the hammers which puts them just under $60, so if you're interested, now might be the time to hop on it.

At Hardcore Hammers

Read More in: All Reviews | Demolition Tools | Hand Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at March 15, 2011 6:12 AM

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