Powerstrike Framing Hammer - Review
The Powerstrike Framing Hammer is easily the strangest hammer I've ever seen. With it's exposed welds, its nuts and bolts vibe, and the hollow metal handle, there is nothing about it that says "normal operating procedure." They sent me a couple to check out and I've been pounding on them for at least a month now. They're great too, maybe not perfect, but really nice.
First, a bit more about the Powerstrike. It's an all-metal modular hammer meaning you can take the head off the handle and the striking face off the head. The design of the striking face is a real doozie. Behind the actual hitting surface is a spring plate, like a golf driver. This uses the energy of the swing in a more efficient manner and drives the nails with less effort and less arm vibration. The handle is made of hollow aluminum, which feels strange at first, but once you get used to it, it does noting but remove weight from the tool. It also makes for a durable handle, no broken hickory here. There's also a magnetic nail starter and a side puller. Both nice touches to the pro framer.
For pounding nails, the Powerstrike has a fantastic swing to it. It's like taking a few swipes with an aluminum baseball bat (which is sort of what it really is). It drives nails fast and with little effort. I showed it to a couple carpenter pals and they snickered when they first saw it, but once they started using the Powerstrike, their eyes lit up. They were blown away by the feel and power of the hammer.
Like I said above, the handle is made of hollow aluminum and even thought it looks like it's two parts (upper area and gripping area), it's not. The only difference between the two areas is the coating used. The upper half has what looks like a 2 part epoxy paint and the lower half has a very slightly textured feel to it (like the orange peel you'd get from a paint sprayer). It's not a ton of gripping power, so I plan on giving the handle a wrap with some grip tape (or maybe the hockey stick twist and wrap that Warlord has, although that's probably overkill). You could certainly get by with what's provided, but depending on the size of your hammer loop, you might want to add a little something extra.
If there was one feature I could change about the Powerstrike, it would be the shape of the claw end. I use my hammers like a line cook uses a set of tongs, which is to say "for everything." Pretty much the task I use them for the least is pounding nails. For the most part, I use them for pulling boards apart, knocking a wall in place, banging a stud into alignment or just plain old smashing something. For all of the demo, I like the claws to be thin and straight. The Powerstrike claws start out thick and quickly get thicker. You can see in the above picture more of what I'm talking about. I love how the claws on my Hardcore Hammer (right) are so straight and sharp. With those I can hatchet them right between two nailed studs and with one twist of the handle, I can pop them apart. Because the Powerstrike claws are so thick, it's tougher to do.
A Powerstrike is going to set you back about $150. This puts it almost up in the range of the titanium hammers from Stiletto and Daluge. The fact that it can be dismantled like a custom made pool cue, lends itself to easy maintenance and parts replacement in the event of wear and tear. This is a great hammer and even though it is bound to get you some funny looks on the jobsite, it should provide a very long life of pounding nails and breaking things.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at October 17, 2014 8:13 AM