Metalworking Tools

War Lady

If I had a hammer... more body/metal-working tools:

My starter Martin set has grown along with the addition of a few Snap-on hammers. A few conclusions at this point (albeit based on limited use and my limited experience):

Martin hammers, dollies, spoons, etc. are the best bang for the buck. The finish is good and overall quality seems outstanding. The hammers are balanced and don’t seem too heavy in hand. I’ve been banging quite a few welds with mine and the hammer surfaces seem to stand up well to planishing E70S-6 MIG wire beads all day. Martin has good selection of dollies and even a really nice caulking iron. And it looks like Martin is beginning to manufacture a few tools for Snap-on (see below).

I really like the hammers made by Snap-on. I have the BF608B (low crown – short curved peen, BF618B (high crown - wide nose peen) and the fiberglass handled BF632B. The small diameter offset head on the BF632 actually seems useful for getting into tighter spots. Maybe it’s all in my head (branding, etc.) but these hammers balance really well, seem the perfect weight and are very controllable. Note that there seem to be some manufacturing changes going on. For instance, if you order Snap-on’s Light Dinging spoon (December, 2010) they send you a Martin Light Dinging spoon with a BluePoint stamp that says made in USA, not the older Snap-on spoon listed in the catalog (see image below). Not sure if the other Snap-on dollies/spoons have also changed their manufacturing roots - I hope they don’t change the hammers.

Snap-on BF608B

If I could only have one hammer it would be the Snap-on BF608. The Martin tools are really good. I’ve gone a little cold on Picard after the experience with my pick hammer – probably not a fair evaluation/attitude being it’s the only one I’ve had my hands on. Everything’s “Made-in-USA” at this point with the exception of my one German Picard. All of these tools could have a little additional finish-work done to “personalize” them to user preference. Some individuals will even reshape and modifly the hickory handles.

Plug weld tool set

 

 

Martin surfacing spoon — 1024

A brute of a spoon with lots of weight to swing. More crown on the surface of the spoon than the lighter version. Shown next to the Martin1036 light dinging spoon. They should probably be cleaned up to personal preference, but all the Martin tools I've seen have a nice finish to them.

Martin slappers

 

 

Picard Long Low spot Pick Hammer — 252/27

My foray into German body hammers. Ordered on line and a bit disappointed in the result. It almost seems as if Picard has changed the forging pattern to some degree, note the stamping no longer on the pick and the subtle changes to the head shape (the numbers are correct). I”ve no other Picard to compare it to at this point but it seems a little heavy — it is a long pick. Also got a few splinters in my hand right away from the Hickory handle, not what I expected from a $50 hammer. Very solid, just the overall finish seems questionable — even the Hickory stamp is off-center.

Picard body hammer

 

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