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Best finish hammer

BruceM16's picture

Hello all

I'm soon to be starting on all my finish work, installing a mile of base, door jams/casings, window jams/ casings, and so on and so on.

Most finish nails will be drivien in by my Senco finish nailer...but I know I'm going to be hand driving a bunch of nails, and I want to keep 'pecker tracks' to a minimum. My old 16 oz plumb is just plumb worn out.

Who makes a good 14 to 16 oz finish hammer?



(post #122809, reply #1 of 35)




(post #122809, reply #2 of 35)

(post #122809, reply #3 of 35)

You aught to get about a 1000 opinions on this one...

I had a plumb that I loved - had some sentimental value too.  Then I broke one of the claws :-(  Looked pretty similar to the bluegrass pic.  Wooden handle.

Now I use a fiberglass handle plumb.  If nothing else they are cheap and plentiful and I like the balance.  For me, a finishing hammer is not used for much more than tapping something in place, or setting a proud pneumatically driven nail. 

IMO hand driven nails just don't work too good for standard trim applications.  If you have "miles of trim" to install get a variety of nailers.  I have several.  The ones I use are: 15ga angle, 18ga pin, 18ga nc stapler.  The small ga ones are cheap.

I hate steel shank hammers. 


Edited 1/3/2005 8:56 am ET by DIRISHINME


(post #122809, reply #4 of 35)

My favorites are all Hart hammers. The Trimmer is I think a 16oz hammer but I'm not sure, and I think they're hard to get anymore. The coolest finish hammer I have is a Von Fange 'Cabinetmakers 16' that has a copper alloy head... haven't been made for about 15 years unfortunately.

(post #122809, reply #22 of 35)

you can still get the Hart hammer  at www.Hartville they have the 16oz trimmer  or the 21 oz  also plus lots of other good woodworkint tools

(post #122809, reply #25 of 35)

Jaybird------that's a pretty good place. I live about 25 minutes away from their store-----bought a lot of tools there.


(post #122809, reply #5 of 35)

I can't lay my hands on it right now, but I made one in HS shop class. It is a 7/8th square of MILD steel with a handle hole (racetrack oval. on a milling mach) and a taper to a warrington style claws.

Here is the deal..the soft steel grips he fin nails better, a wood handle of your choice and the blunt wedge end for the little bitty 3d fin nails w/o smacking yer thumb.

The no claws is no problem, I almost always use nippers to not scar the trim for the boo boos.

beleive me, it is sweet. BTW, I made it in '72.


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks

I'll just do it>  

(post #122809, reply #6 of 35)

And the reason you didn't need to harden the face is that you never hit very hard with it?

(post #122809, reply #7 of 35) does get a bit mushroomed after awhile, I just grind it away.


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks

I'll just do it>  

(post #122809, reply #10 of 35)

Here ya go Uncle is not a prtty shiney new fangled hammer..but it does the job well.

If and when the handle breaks (its old brash oak) I just make it shorter.


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks

I'll just do it>  

(post #122809, reply #11 of 35)

Is that picture titled "Hammer on Cathouse"?  :)

The kids in our shops made the same hammer, but with the other instructor ( I taught the lower grades).  You didn't heat treat it? 



(post #122809, reply #12 of 35)'s a cathouse. light was better ove by the, I didn't do anything to it..I was lazy in shop class. I actually FLUNKED woodshop...and have been a woodworker ever since..go figgure. I refused to make a predetermined project ( from a choice of 5) and made an "ART" statement instead..shellacd a really cool board witha knot thet looked like a..well let's say a females fur patch. Think Georgia O'Keefe..{G}

whammo! Instant F..


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks

I'll just do it>  

(post #122809, reply #8 of 35)

The "best" hammer is the one that feels best to you.  My favorite hammer is one I found in a wall several years ago.  It's a 16 oz, smooth faced claw hammer and I have no idea who made it.  After I replaced the handle (it was broken), the hammer just felt like an extension of my hand and arm.  My only problem with it is that the curvature of the claws makes it difficult to pull a nail near a corner. - lol

You avoid "pecker tracks" by leaving the nail a little proud and finishing with a nail set.

(post #122809, reply #9 of 35)

You avoid "pecker tracks" by leaving the nail a little proud and finishing with a nail set.

agree, In addition, I use a #1 and a #3... the #3 is great to drop head and have a substantial pocket of wood filler so it doesnt pop. It also wraps around the head of small finish nails so it doesnt shift and mar the wood.

(post #122809, reply #13 of 35)

I used to love my Hart hammers. The company went through some evolutions (or more accurately, de-evolutions), which I think Blodgett can explain much better than I. He turned me on to a Douglas, which is the same guy that started the Harts, operating under his own name. So the Hart line has gone to heck in a handbasket and the Douglas hammers are the line there now. And yes, I like them real well. More expensive than a plumb, but less than a stiletto. Smooth all around, flat on one side, puller on the other, reinforced shank. Magnetic starter (though I have yet to use that on a finish nail, for cryin out loud). But I agree with a couple of sentiments already expressed - the best brand is the one comfy in your hand, and the way to avoid mooning things is a nail set. You'll do that on enough of those gun nails anyway.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #122809, reply #14 of 35)

Thanks for the replies.

Point of clarification: by pecker tracks, I don't mean the mark let when one uses the hammer rather than a nail set to sink the nail head...but the mark left when one misses the nail althogether! Now, that NEVER happens with me, but my wife will be helping me, and I was hoping there might be a new-fangled 'smart' hammer out there that never deflects/misses and ALWAYS finds the sweet spot!

As to nail sets, I find they work better if I try not to keep them forever. Problem is, I can't bring myself to throw the 'flattened' or 'convexed' ones out, so I gind the heads to a sharp point, heat up and quench. Problem is, I've got a drawer full of em. Trying to think of another use.

RW. Where might I be able to find a Douglas? I'd like to actually handle it rather than buy on-line. Do any of the big or small boxes carry them?


(post #122809, reply #15 of 35)

Click on this link and follow the directions to find out who sells them in your area.  You won't find them in any of the boxes, I think-it's mostly pro suppliers.  I have the 18 oz finish hammer and I like it.  It's kinda heavy but I like the feel of it.


Most nights are crystal clear, but tonight it's like he's stuck between stations.

(post #122809, reply #16 of 35)

Thanks for the link.

DFI15S 15 oz. finish hammer looks interesting... thought the 18DFI18S was smallest they made.

Anybody seen or swung one?


Whatever you can do or dream you can,
Begin it
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.                             Goethe


Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end. 

(post #122809, reply #18 of 35)

You will love the Douglas finish hammer. The best feature about the Douglas is the "D" head design. It allows you to get into places a normal round head can't get into.

If your local hardware doesn't have them tell him to order them............

They're the bomb...........


"Rather be a hammer than a nail"


"Rather be a hammer than a nail" Bob

(post #122809, reply #17 of 35)

Pecker tracks? Did you mean mule prints? What the heck are you using to drive your nails in with? ( Don't answer that!) Pecker tracks were something that we worried about in high school on our car upholstery. Maybe you have your terms confused. I recommend the Estwing.

(post #122809, reply #19 of 35)


almost exactly 20 years ago I bought my favorite hammer---It was ,I believe a  kind of odd sized PLUMB. 18 oz., fiberglass handle, straight claw----and the most important part----a bell faced  hammer head. The striking surface is slightly convex wich greatly increases the size of the angle you can safely hit the nail from.

Every so often I think I am gonna treat myself to a new hammer. they all fail me ---compared to that old plumb. It took me a long time to realize the reason was ALL the new hammers I see have the striking face ground flat. I assume this is because it must be cheaper and easier to make a hammer with a flat face than with an elegant radius.

I see plumb has some cheapies on the market---$12 or so that look identical to the one I bought years ago----except the face is flat----won't work the same for me.

I am almost positive it was Plumb----but a little voice in the back of my head keeps wispering " cooper"---which is a brand I have never heard of---but keeps poping into my head.


(post #122809, reply #24 of 35)

>> but a little voice in the back of my head keeps wispering " cooper"--- <<

Cooper makes hand tools, including Lufkin tape measures.  They have a facility (plant?) in my (current) home town, Apex, NC . 

Then I did a web search and found out that Cooper is the parent company of Plumb (hammers), Crescent (wrenches), Wiss (snips), Nicholson (hand saws), etc.  


(post #122809, reply #26 of 35)

 Hey---I think I have BEEN to Apex NC.

East of Raleigh/Durham?

Drove by on my way to Ocracoke a couple of times.



(post #122809, reply #28 of 35)

5 mi or so south of Raleigh.  When someone asks where I live I usually say Raleigh since not many people have heard of Apex.



(post #122809, reply #29 of 35)

So that'sclose to Cary? I helped do a full blown access control/burg/fire system there a couple three years ago at an INS holding tank. Nice place.

Who Dares Wins.




(post #122809, reply #32 of 35)

Used to live in Cary.  Havn't been to the INS holding tank though... ;-)   I don't supose you would remember exactly where that is would ya?



(post #122809, reply #33 of 35)

It's down in a culdesack (sp?) DOwn the street from the John Deere head quarters. It's a low key deal no signs or anything. The intent was to use it as a short term holding tank after a sweep. Throw them in, process them then take em to Raleigh for the night. It's also an Ops center for agents. Cool azz arms room, that's where I learned to fortify rooms.

Who Dares Wins.




(post #122809, reply #34 of 35)

The question is how did Gunner get out!

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #122809, reply #35 of 35)

Shot his way out!!!! Obviously!!!  Those 10p ringshanks make a nasty "mark"!!!



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we are practically relatives.

My niece and her family live a place there called something like Fuquay Varina ? something like that. I was just down to see her new baby in July.

also---you have a BIG cross country meet down there in the fall my son goes to.


BTW----how come you folks don't do Barbeque properly down there? LOL