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