I remember my Dad telling a story of when he was a young apprentice carpenter and was taught one of life's valuable lessons. He was busy nailing something together and, as was his habit, was choked up quite a bit on the hammer as this seemed to provide more control of his swing. His boss calmly walked over, grabbed the hammer out of his hand and proceeded to cut the handle in half. Lesson learned.
Had it been a metal-handled tool instead of wood this demonstration would have been more difficult to accomplish but, either way, the point would have made. Fortunately it WAS a wooden handle and was soon replaced, rendering the hammer usable once again. This taught the young carpenter to learn the proper method of holding a framing hammer, which in turn improved his technique, power and speed.
A well-made tool may seem fairly expensive when compared to a low-cost imitation but the difference in use and function is significant. Those who make their living using hand tools will gladly pay the extra to have something that actually works and works well. Good tools should last a lifetime and the best ones will be guaranteed to do just that.
It's nice to know the best hammers are still American made, although the market is flooded with cheap imitations that are produced in volume from all points East (read: China). Estwing Hammers are a sterling example of a quality-made tool. They have made innovations in the technology responsible for producing what may be said to be the most ergonomic hammers available. Their patented, shock resistant grip takes the pain and drudgery out of an often monotonous and painfully repetitive task.
Another top-quality manufacturer producing the best of the best is Stiletto. Stiletto Hammers are 45% lighter than typical tools of the same size and yet, even with this weight difference they still provide an equal striking force. And, because they're constructed of titanium, they produce 10 times less recoil shock than a normal hammer.
Recoil shock is a major concern for those who make a living swinging a hammer and a ninety percent reduction is a pretty big deal. Common complaints from those who use a hammer on a regular basis are tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. These problems are automatically eliminated with the use of an extremely lightweight, shock-absorbing tool.
I like the saying, "Good things is not cheap and cheap things is not good." With hand tools, cheap is not only worse … it's useless. Need a good hammer? Now you know where to go!