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epiphanist1248

One Hammer to Rule Them All?

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I've been using a 16oz. rubber mallet from Lowe's ever since I started working with leather, about two years ago now. I use it for everything: tooling, setting rivets and snaps, driving punches and chisels, you name it. It's the only hammer I've ever used for leather. It's starting to wear out and I've been thinking about replacing it.

Now, this hammer cost about $4 and has lasted me for years (I've only been using it for leather for 2 years, but I've probably had it for 5 or 6 now) and that's a strong argument in favor of getting another one just like it. But copper and tubular rivets, and some of the heavier snaps, take forever to set with the thing.

So I'm starting to wonder: Would a heavier hammer might be more suitable to the task? Also: would a rawhide or poly striking tool have less bounce, and would that make a difference? 

I'd rather not buy several expensive tools if I can avoid it, so is there One Hammer to Rule Them All out there? A leatherworker's Mjolnir that's just great, or even pretty good, overall for All The Jobs? (If it comes right down to it,  I'll buy two hammers, one for These Jobs and one for Those Jobs, but I'd rather avoid having to build a whole rack for a hammer collection, is what I'm getting at.)

Thanks in advance for answering what is probably a dumb question. 

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15 minutes ago, epiphanist1248 said:

But copper and tubular rivets, and some of the heavier snaps, take forever to set with the thing.

That's your argument for a second hammer though I'm not the one you should ask about what kind to get.

Rodney

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Do you know anybody who has a heavier hammer/mallet that you can borrow to test your theory? Gotta be some shade-tree mechanics around who have dead-blow poly mallets and the like. 

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A 16oz hammer should be plenty of weight for setting rivets, etc. Probably what you need is something not rubber. The attached photo shows three of my go-hammers. The middle one, the Garland No. 1 with rawhide faces, is my main hammer for any striking of metal - rivet sets, snap sets, stitching irons, smaller punches, etc. The one on the right is a weighted rawhide mallet of about the same weight, and could be used in place.

The hammer on the left is for peening copper rivets, for those times when I choose not to use a rivet set.

You should be able to pick up a Garland No. 1 or similar from Ebay for about $15

 

For larger punches, and other general woodworking projects I have a Garland No. 2 with rawhide faces that is the bee's knees.

PB130051.jpg

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Well, I use the number two mallet to chop mortises in heavy timbers for buildings with a 1-1/2” framing chisel so it is probably overkill for most leatherwork. I do use it for larger round punches, key fob punches and so on. 

The no. 4 is really a persuader. I generally only find use for mine while timber framing - knocking joints together, riving hardwood pins with the froe and so on. 

Don’t think I own a no. 3. 

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My suggestion 16oz Polly maul for tooling and a weighted rawhide mallet or Polly mallet for setting stamps/rivets/hole punches. 

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When I set copper rivets, I upset them first with a 24oz ball pein, then either finish them with the ball end or switch to a rivet set and a brass hammer. For moving metal around, you really need a sharp, percussive impact. I’d like to try a two-pound Garland with one face copper and the other rawhide. 

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I do an awful lot of my work with a $5 plastic dead-blow hammer that I got from Harbor Freight.  The make two different weights, if I recall correctly.   If I could only pick one hammer, it would be the one I'd choose. 

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@SouthernCross I've been afraid to use a dead-blow hammer because I was worried it wouldn't stand up well to hitting something small and narrow, like a hole punch or rivet setter. Has yours stood up pretty well? (And okay, at $5 I could consider it disposable, but I don't have time to run out to HF every week.)

@ChasCS Thanks!

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Just now, epiphanist1248 said:

@SouthernCross I've been afraid to use a dead-blow hammer because I was worried it wouldn't stand up well to hitting something small and narrow, like a hole punch or rivet setter. Has yours stood up pretty well? (And okay, at $5 I could consider it disposable, but I don't have time to run out to HF every week.)

@ChasCS Thanks!

Yessir, it's held up just fine.  I've beat on everything in my garage with it...hard! - truck ball joints, motorcycle, you name it.  It's probably 7 or 8 yrs old.

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13 minutes ago, epiphanist1248 said:

@SouthernCross I've been afraid to use a dead-blow hammer because I was worried it wouldn't stand up well to hitting something small and narrow, like a hole punch or rivet setter. Has yours stood up pretty well? (And okay, at $5 I could consider it disposable, but I don't have time to run out to HF every week.)

@ChasCS Thanks!

I know it's not a definitive answer to your question, but it gives us a pretty fair evaluation, of what others here are using.

 

I should post a pic of my own collection. I have 15 various hammers: also my 

3 different sizes of Garland water buffalo rawhide mallets. 

http://www.garlandmfg.com/mallets/rawhide.html

I French Saddlers hammer,

https://www.csosborneleathertools.com/product_detail.php?p_id=220

1 cobblers hammer and two mauls. Even a CS Osbourne leather crafters fitting hammer.

https://www.csosborneleathertools.com/product_detail.php?p_id=208

Yeah, they all have a place in my leather tool collection, with various or very specific uses.

Is there a definitive one? No, not at all... ;-)

Chas

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