The Hammers

Hammers of Choice



The Hammerhead hammer is also known as a drilling hammer. It is a three pound sledgehammer and the cheapest of the steel head hammers shown. I use it for roughing stones and for aggressively driving chisels. This is my favorite hammer because of its utility and the balanced heft of it in my hand; it’s the quintessential work hammer. I call it Sissy Sledge because it’s such a lightweight compared to the Quarry Buster.

The Hammers

Sissy Sledge


This is probably the most versatile hammer in my tool bag. Called a bricklayer’s or mason’s hammer, it has a sharp blade at one end and a square striking head at the opposite. It only weighs 24 ounces, but it can pack a decent wallop. This is a brand new Vaughn, barely scuffed. Typically I have used Estwing hammers which have a through handle and cushioned grip. It doesn’t effect performance, but I think the Estwing is easier on the hands and wrists.

The Hammers



The longer handle and streamlined hammerhead give this three pounder a lot more wallop than Sissy Sledge. I generally swing this with both hands, with intent to harm. It’s been called a lot of things: mash, rock, and spalling hammer amongst them, though I don’t know if any of those are particularly accurate. Freshly re-handled, I like the streak of dark grain in the wood.

The Hammers

Pretty Persuasion


The Quarry Buster is a twelve pound sledge hammer featuring a huge chunk of carbide for a blade. You don’t swing this hammer, just drop it with purpose on a spot and it’ll do the rest. Made by Trow & Holden, it is especially effective at making oversized stones more manageable and making gravel.

The Hammers

The Quarry Buster


Also made by Trow & Holden, the Stinger has a carbide blade and point. You can swing this one all day long, as it only weighs two pounds. That lightweight feel does limit its utility. I have found it most useful when using Tennessee flagstone, an easily worked sandstone roughly two to three inches thick. On most other stone, it just lacks the punch. While I think the point is a good idea, I have found that I prefer the more precise aim of a chisel and my #3 sledge.

The Hammers

The Beak


The rubber mallet is surprisingly handy for hitting things that I don’t want to break. Most commonly I use to bed flagstones in sand. Despite being rubber, it can deliver a painful bite and produces wicked blood blisters.

The Hammers

The Whackamatizer


External links
Trow & Holden: Premier maker of stone tools in Barre, Vermont.
Estwing: Hammer makers. Annoying web site but great tools, including what you need for panning gold.