On Cabinetmakers’ Hammers & Where to Buy Them

I’ll begin with the top-notch U.S.-made hammers that were introduced to the market in recent years. 

Kings County Cabinetmaker’s  Hammer
At the top of the list stands the Gramercy Tools “Kings County” hammer. This is a 9.5 oz tool that looks like the Victorian ancestor of both the French/German and the Warrington hammers (that I wrote about here). Graham Haydon tells me that in the U.K., it resembles the Exeter hammer. 

Created by Joel Moskowitz of Tools For Working Wood and based on some English specimens from the 19th century, this is a masterpiece of high-quality engineering embellished with the finest of details. At a price of $250, this is for sure the best and most expansive hammer I know of. Read more about Joel’s hammer in this post by Christopher Schwarz.

Lie-Nielsen Hammer
Thomas Lie-Nielsen also makes a beautiful hammer. It is a lightweight Warrington-pattern tool that is better suited for delicate work than for heavy nailing. While it is not currently in production,  Lie-Nielsen Toolworks anticipates resuming production soon. 

Warrington Hammers
There are many manufacturers and plenty of brand names that offer this hammer. 

Among the best are: Picard (Germany) and Footprint (U.K.). I believe that Stanley and Record stopped making the Warrington hammers. 

Picard seems to make the best Warringtons, and the most affordable place I’ve found for them in the U.S. is The Hammer Source. You can also shop for them at Lee Valley and Woodcraft, but they don’t maintain a steady supply of all sizes.

Robert Larson carries the 300 Gr (10.5 oz) German-made Warrington – I believe it is the Picard. 

eBay is another big source for Warringtons. Some U.K. suppliers on eBay offer compatible shipping fees for sending them across the pond. 

The French/German Jointer hammer.
Picard and Gedore (Germany), Facom  (France) and Stubai (Austria) manufacture them and export them to the U.S.. My favorites are Picard and Gedore. I’ve not had the chance to try a Facom. And I used to own a Stubai, but I found the handle to be too thin for my hand. But as I have written in the past, one can thicken and mould a thin handle to conform to his or her hand by wrapping hockey tape around it. (At the bottom of this entry you can watch a video clip showing how Rob Cosman uses the Hockey tape technique on a some tool handles.)

This is a partial list of vendors that carry some of the French/German hammers.

1. http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/searchprods.asp

2. http://www.diefenbacher.com/hammersmallets.htm

3. http://www.kctoolco.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=joiner%27s+hammer

4. Amazon carries the Stubai hammers too.

There are also a few Indian, Taiwanese  and Chinese manufacturers that make the Warringtons and the French/German hammers, but I have not owned or tried them so I can’t give you my opinion on them. 

To read more about hammers check out this Chris Schwarz post, “When All Your Problems Look like Hammers.”

 — Yoav Liberman

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.

4 thoughts on “On Cabinetmakers’ Hammers & Where to Buy Them

  1. Collin Robinson

    It looks like you have US retailer covered, but I wanted to mention a successful experience I had with Dieter Schmid’s online store. They stock Picard’s Warrington €18 and French style for €14. The rub is that shipping to the US starts at €30. They had quite a few other things I needed at good prices so all in all it made sense for me. It took about 15 calendar days to arrive via DHL and USPS. I am not at all affiliated with that business but wanted to mention a good source and give some idea of shipping times, since I had no idea when I ordered.

    1. Yoav LibermanYoav Liberman Post author

      I agree the Dieter Schmid’s, but also DICKTUM.com which is another German mega tool distributor, have a fantastic variety of woodworking tools. In some cases the prices in Germany are cheaper that the US. Shipping, as you mentioned, is more expensive but if you order enough items in a given order it might make sense to go that route. Dieter Schmid’s also carry a very nice line of hand plans called JUUMA, they are very much like the WoodRiver line by Woodcraft. The JUUMA low angle block plane is a copycat of the Lie Nielsen but it cost only $65.

  2. BLZeebub

    Ditto on the need for appropriate hammers. I lust for the Gramercy hammer but alas, I found two similar hammer heads rummaging through a flea market tool vendor’s “possibles” box. Their shapes unmistakable and both had for five dollars in total. A few minutes exposed to the whirring wire wheel and a dunk in some blueing solution and voila! The smallest now sports a handle shaped from a straight grained piece of cocobolo and the other a piece of spalted maple. So, for a few weekends of rummaging, a picky woodworker can make do quite well, if they are up for a search.

    1. Yoav LibermanYoav Liberman Post author

      Fantastic story and a great lesson to all of us. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”….

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