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With the recent camera releases (or maybe Spring fever) I've been rather amazed watching various photography forums have major melt downs during the last few weeks. I said something about cameras and lenses just being tools, not life and death, and got immediately annihilated. They aren't just tools, I was told, they are the means to make a living for some people, and the passionate hobby of others. That got me thinking, though: I have friends who make their living as carpenters, and others for whom woodworking is a passionate hobby. I got to thinking how silly their forums would seem if they acted like we do:

So, here's a thread from Hammeruser.com



Thread Title: Nails for Stiletto TB15?

Hammeruser: I’ve saved up for months and just got my Stiletto TB15SS titanium hammer. At $220 they’re pricey but with the replaceable stainless steel face, ultra light weight handle, and excellent balance I can see myself using this for many years. I’ve had it 3 days now and it’s just wonderful. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good framing nail to use with this hammer?

Hammergeek: You say it’s wonderful but I don’t see any photos of nails you’ve driven. I think it’s just overpriced crap.

Hammerfiend: You know, Ken Rockbuster said the Stiletto is really overpriced and he wouldn’t have one. For $14 you can get a Tekton rubber mallet set. It’s not any good for driving nails, but it is great for body work on your car. That’s what Ken recommends.

MC: If you really were a professional, you’d be using a Graintex SH 1660 sledgehammer. It’s got a 36 inch handle and 20 lb head and can tear through walls in a heartbeat. Your Stiletto can't touch this.

Hammeruser: I do framing work and carpentry, so tearing through walls really doesn’t apply to my work.

M.C.: That’s because you have absolutely no skills. A good hammer user can drive nails with a 20 pound sledghammer with no problem. You’re one of those rich doctors, aren’t you, that thinks upgrading your hammer is going to make you a better carpenter?

Hammeruser: Here’s a picture of some framing I did with the hammer yesterday in about 2 hours. I really think it's going to make me more productive.

Hammertime: I blew up those pictures 200%, ran them through Photoshop and measured the arctan radius of the depth of the nailheads. It’s obvious that you were torquing the hammer from right to left when using it, which makes all of the framing you did inconsequenctial and of no use to anyone. A better hammer doesn’t make up for poor technique.

Banger: A real carpenter could have done that with rusty wire and a rock. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about the carpenter.

Hammerangel2: User, don’t pay any attention to M.C., he’s an absolute Graintex fanboy and has lost all perspective.

M.C.: How would you know what I am? I’ve made hundreds of dollars every year with my Graintex tearing down walls, which makes me a full-time professional. You amateurs make me sick.

Newhammerer: I’ve got an order in for mine through Amazon, but I’m concerned about getting a bad copy. How do I test the hammer when I first get it to make sure I have a good copy?

Thor: You guys are all wrong. I do all my work with an SE 11” rock pick. M. C., haven’t you watched Shawshank Redemtion? That guy hammered through a prison with an SE 11. Sure it took a few years, but anything you really love doing you’ll be doing for years. Just because something is newer, doesn’t make it better.

Hammeruser: Could anyone make some suggestions about good nails?

WhammerHammer: Why don’t you read the manual, do a Google search, and stop wasting our time with inane questions? Besides which, if you were a really good hammerer it wouldn’t matter what type of nails you used.

Whacker: H2O just released their latest Impact Index and the Stilleto rated 92.745, the highest impact per oblique force applied they’ve measured (except for jackhammers).

BigBanger: I don’t trust anything H20 measures, they’re numbers are all crap and don’t reflect real-world hammering. Besides, they down score everything to be equivalent to a 6 ounce jewelers hammer, which makes no sense. I prefer a 'hand's on' review. Maxwell's reviews over at SilverHammer.com really let you know how a hammer does in the real world.

Nailguru2: Hammeruser, while others will stick with the mainstream manufacturers, I’d take a real hard look at Grip Rite galvanized zinc coated sinkers. They’re a classic design, the sharpest nails made, and have amazing microcontact. Plus they’re hand assembled in Germany, not mass-produced in Taiwan.

Hammergeek: All I can say is after reading this thread I’ve cancelled my order for the Stilletto TB15. I’ll wait until the price drops. In the meantime I’m thinking about buying a used TB10 on the Buy and Sell forum.

Banger: Why don’t you rent one for a few days and see how you like it? Hammerrentals.com has them for $29 for 4 days. You could build a nice shed in that amount of time and really get a feel for how it works for you.

WhammerHammer: I agree with Hammergeek. The price is insane. I’ve started a petition to boycott Stilletto until they make their prices more reasonable. They think just because there’s a 4 month waiting list for their new hammers they can charge whatever they want. They’d sell twice as many if they just charged $25.

Euronailer: You guys think you’ve got it bad? Over here the Stilleto is 300 Euros and we’ve got 17% VAT. You guys in the U. S. need to stop complaining. I may fly over to the U. S. and pick one up, the money I save would pay for 1/162 of my air fare.

Justgotmine. I just finished using my brand new Stilleto. Here’s some shots of nails I’ve driven. Do you guys think I have a good copy of the hammer? The nails seem a little crooked to me, but that might just be technique.

Hammerguru: Justgotmine – looking at your images those are pretty long nails. Were you using good technique with a nail stabilizer? It also seems the hammer wasn't lined up square to the target. It’s impossible for us to help you if you don’t eliminate all the other variables. It could be the hammer, could be the nails, could be technique.

Nailed'em: Nailguru, you’re always over here spouting about 'microcontact' and the way the nails 'render'. That’s all BS put out by you Grip Right elitists. I can get 4 boxes of Smegma nails for what just one box of Grip Right costs and they work just fine.

Banger: I had to try 4 boxes of Smegma nails to get just one that was sharp.

Nailguru2: I’m not a Smegma fan by any means, but if you get soft nails you can send them back to the factory to be resharpened under warranty. I had them resharpen a box of mine and they were incredible!

Nailer: Did you guys see that Hammerrumors.com says that Big Blu hammers is coming out with an X-2 in time for Hammerkina? It’s going to have a synthetic rubber grip, fiberglass shock absorbing, and a semi-square rocker face. I’m holding off any new purchases till I see some nails driven with that baby.

Roger: In this case, it truly is the user, not the hammer: Hammertime

</Satire off>

Author's note: This little post got a lot more attention than I had expected. The most interesting thing to me is that it's now been reposted to forums involving gun collecting, coffee tasting, audiophiles, automobiles, computer programming, videography, racing bicycles, and (I should have known)  various tools. All of whom identified with it. So I guess I learned today that it isn't just photographers who act like we act. Apparently it's people.

And from the "OMG are we sick or what?" department, Amazon is now nearly sold out of Stilletto TB15SS. Seriously. You guys just had to try it out, didn't you? :-)

Finally, don't stop reading here. The reader's comments are much funnier than the blog post. As always, I thank everyone who took the time to post comments. Once again the reader's comments are better than the author's blog.


PS - for the several people who suggested nail guns should be included in the discussion, that wouldn't work because . . . .

. . . . wait for it . . .

this forum doesn't discuss point and shoots.

347 Responses to “Hammerforum.com”

Marco said:

I was gonna get a Stilleto TB15SS but the lens correction profile for Lightroom isn't out yet and if you are a cooper, the barrel distortion is off the charts!

Joe said:

Who needs a hammer these days? When I have to drive a nail I just pound it with my telephone.

Clay said:

I can't believe this article didn't mention that all of the mailorder NYC stores that sell hammers are going to be closed for Passover! We'll all have to wait until they re-open.!!!

Budi said:

Seriously funny. :)
You're one talented guy, at your trade, hobby and humor.

I found myself drawn to your website more and more, despite the fact that I don't rent or buy from you, yet. Very informative and entertaining.

Roland said:

I usually admire everyone who owns a gorgeous Teflon-coated frying pan that his steaks must be delicious.
Your article proves my point again, many thanks.

MrPixelPeeper said:


siodre said:

When's the Stilleto TB15SS Mk III coming out? I can't see buying one now if the Mk II is coming out next year and the Mk III is coming out two years later. It's practically obsolete already. I want a Mk III now.

Jim Colwell said:

Roger, you're spending way too much time on FM. You know us too well! Jim

Whitefly Swater said:

Do they do a left handed one? and is there a Lynda.com tutorial available yet?

Miles Green said:

*wipes tears*
That was hilarious!
You made my day, thanks!

...Ken Rockbuster... lol!

Andy said:

Going to save me hours, Every reply ready and waiting.
I'll just cut and paste the approiate line in my threads.

Job done.

PhotonPeen said:

So my question is, would the Stiletto TB15 really be worth the upgrade price? How much do you folks think I could get for a clean, low whacktivation TB14 (non-N)? I would join the Pry & Sell here. Don't want to mess with FleaBay or Claw's List. I'm only a part time pro, but my clients pay me for the hammer I use, not the nails I drive (although the car I drive does get me chicks; would the TB15 get me more chicks?).

bluto said:

I suspect this arises as guys are evaluated primarily by what they can do and the need to be competent in action carries across into hobbies as well. Also, it's very hard to separate the contribution of skill from tools (better tools almost always make it easier to achive better results though better tools are largely owned by people who also have more experience and skill in the field).

In photography this means that owners of entry level cameras and kit lenses are frequently posting either cat pictures or problem photos (out of focus, motion blur, poor exposure), while say full frame cameras and Zeiss lens owners have learned to select their best photos, post process them well, and are well exposed with few if any technical flaws. A new visitor is bound to attribute at least some of the difference to the tools, correctly or incorrectly; and following the near universal human desire to take a short cut, have a desire to own tools that made the obviously better photos.

Will said:

You nailed it!

Chris Wordsman said:

Ken Rockbuster! OMG I almost fell out of my chair laughing so hard!

I love the 2 hour framing job picture too! Roger, you are hilarious and this is my favorite post so far. "Here’s some shots of nails I’ve driven. Do you guys think I have a good copy of the hammer?" ROFL!

Joe Carulli said:

I have a friend who has a nice hammer and he'll do your house framing for free!

Mike Grace said:

Haha! I think it might be a while before I can stop laughing. Love it!

Andy K said:

@Roland - TEFLON? are you serious? Everybody know Tennessee-made cast iron is the absolute best. That is, if you are forced to compromise and use a pan. Over a bed of hardwood coals is the true way to do it.

Jim Austin said:

Roger~ Bloody funny, great read. You have a new fan here. !!

William K said:

Fantastic! Well done!

Mickey Kosanovich said:

I bought a $2,000 Ziss Super-Angle-On head to go with this hammer and I expect the results to be unbeatable by any mortal camera.

I'll post some pictures when I have completed testing. Maybe 2014.

Roland S said:

Gonna wait for the Stiletto TB15 2. Supposedly being release in sept. according to HammerRumors.com.

James Hendrix said:

What really pisses me off is all the damn MWC showing up at the construction sites and willing to hammer for free, How is a professional able to compete?

And don't even get me started on all the damn listings on Craigs List claiming they are PROFESSIONALS just because they can buy a cool hammer!

hihi said:

Look, guys. Clients don't care about what type of hammer you are using. As long as it is big and shiny and you know how to swing it, you'll be fine. Most of them will never put nearly enough stress on your joints to notice the difference anyways.

Bifurcator said:

You should use a Vaughn 27oz. with corrugated face for the example in place of the sledge. It's truer and would make the thread more funny/realistic.


K Crow said:

Maxwell @ SilverHammer.com is brilliant, but you're dating yourself.

Lori said:

If this blog post has helped you in any way, and if you haven't already done so, please consider donating $5 to help support Roger's growing family. This will allow him to keep these blog posts coming!

Christer M said:

Personally, I think the newer hammer models are ruining the craft. When it no longer requires any skill to frame a basic house, is there any real value in the final product?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

crowley@gordonmacquarrie.com wrote: Maxwell @ SilverHammer.com is brilliant, but you’re dating yourself.

I'm dated enough to not care about the date anymore. Assuming, of course, you meant 'dating myself' referring to my years, not my social life :-)

Steev said:

That is such a great post, made even greater by the fact I think most of those people go to my camera club and have pretty much the same discussion every week.

Joe said:

Wow.. that was hilarious... good job.. i can see all the forums now... lol

Wes Craft said:

This is hilarious. Thank you.

wellfedCanuck said:

I've only got an ancient crop-hammer, a Rebeletto 350D... I use it mainly to put up picture hooks but people tell me that I'm really good and I was actually paid once to hang something on a wall. I REALLY want a Stiletto TB15!!! Do you think that starving my kids for a while or missing a couple mortgage payments would be overkill in order to take my hobby to the next level?

Neil M said:

Well now you are all missing the point. As Ken Rockbuster himself has pointed out there is only one true hammer and that is the M3 (Malleus III) the great manual hammer of the 1950's made in Germany that uses REALnailsTM. Rumour has it that on 10th of May the latest in this long line of M hammers, the Malleus X (M10) is due to be announced. So I would hold off until the pre-production "first looks" are in. I simply know that once I have my M10 I will be instantly transformed into a master framer, it only my current hammer that is holding me back. Mind you rumour has it the Malleus XP will be in production soon after the Malleus X, you know the one that is identical to the X but has a shadow grey handle and, get this, without the logo on the front. Plus it will be much more expensive being a limited edition so it must be a better hammer mustn't it? Then there will be the Malleus XI in 18 months time - oh dear.

John said:

Hey guys, my new (Pencannik 8x10) Hammer now comes with a Spade. This is great. I used to have to carry my Hammer and my Spade but now its all in one. To top it off, the spade functionality comes with 24spades per second with 1080Spade WideSpade and has Surround Sound.

The purists will hate the fact that a Hammer can now Spade, but this industry had to do something to survive.

HammerDude said:

What about a grey market Stilleto TB15SS? Is the warranty valid in the US or will I have to send it to Bangladesh for warranty service? I'm just wondering because you can save a lot buying mail order grey market.

DocDJ said:

Wonderful "comments". While we all are interested in perfecting our skills, we do sometimes take our pet notions too seriously. In any field, the search for "the perfect tool" is never-ending and always frustrating.
Keep 'em coming.

Miki said:



I see what you did there...

Andrei said:

Who cares about the hammer model or carpenter skill anymore when micronail web sites can sell you nails already driven into every known wall and type of wood for $1 or less? Maybe only wedding and sports carpenters, I dunno...

backslash said:

Hahaha :-) You must have read the same forum :) I recognize some sentences :-)

William said:

It's all nonsens! I always use a living Hammershark for all purposes.
It just rams in all you want with his tail. Simply turn the shark en it removes nails and whatever you further want with his teeth.

Rubal said:

Read this somewhere --
A photographer is invited for dinner and is showing off his work to the host.
The host: (admiring a photograph) Wow buddy, what a photograph! You must have a really good camera.
In a while, dinner is served. The photographer exclaims, Wow! what delicious food, you must have a really good stove.

Nathan said:

I guess when everyone upgrades to the TB15, I can get a used TB14 off eBay, but who cares about the quality of the hammer if you don't have a good tool belt to carry it on??? and if you're a destination carpenter, then you have to worry about whether the tool belt will fit in the overhead storage...

Yves said:

Hilarius ! Great work and entertaining. I can feel you've been browsing forums and caught the spirit. All characters are represented, as in real life.
As a EuroNailer, I am positive about nails and hammers being cheaper in the States.
Has anyone put his metal-aged hammer aside and tried one of these ancient prehistoric wooden clubs and stone nails ? Shurely a collectors item ...

Yves said:

All I do is macro-hammering, and nothing does that better than the Stiletto TB14. The TB15 is just way too big and bulky and is perfect for my garden fence, not for thumbnails or thin needles. What's the use of having even a 1 square foot face plate to crush a fly ?
Besides, the TB15 has no underwater casing, and rusts in no time. How can years of experience in hammering be so obviouly wasted is beyond my understanding. It's time for the guys at Stiletto to wake up or die ...

Jack-of-all said:

Really guys, the tool doesn't matter. If you're good enough you can drive nails with just about anything. I've done just fine using a dime store hammer, a 20 Lb sledge, a crowbar, a Crecent wrench, a C-clamp, a railway spike, and an iron pipe filled w lead shot. OK, you can't use just anything- a 2x4 works fine for demo, but it just doesn't cut it for driving nails unless you bolt a bit of 1/4" steel to the face.

Mister Switzer said:

Hello from Switzerland,

the author ignores the fact that we guys in Switzerland make the best hammers, probably because they are a little more expensive.

But the original Swiss Army Hammer made by Hammorinox comes with a hammer head, a smaller second head, tweezers, toothpick, corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener, slotted/flat-head screwdriver(s), phillips-head screwdriver, nail file, scissors, saw (regular, wood), file, hook (parcel carrier, tightening aid for shoelaces, etc.), magnifying glass, ballpoint pen, fish scaler, hex wrench w/bits, pliers, keyring, USB flash drives, digital clock, digital altimeter, LED light, laser pointer, MP3 player, 4 mm hex screwdriver bit holder and bit case with 4 double-ended bits (8 ends). laser pointer, a 32 GB detachable flash drive, Bluetooth and a wide choice of weapons of mass distraction.

Before we started using them the alps were an elevated plain - we made the valleys to create a pleasant landscape for rich tourists, ruthless russian billionaires, tax refugees and exiled dictators.

Mike said:

Hammers are too blunt for my tastes. I like to rest a brick on top of the nail and allow gravity to slowly drive it through the wood. It produces a hole so silky smooth it has to be seen to be believed. A lot of the best carpenters are working this way.

But be warned: use a high quality brick. Some of the cheaper ones leech onto the nail head and leave behind a magenta color that is impossible to remove.

voipboada said:

Bonne soirée! Communication de décrire mon avoir un emploi est en réalité terminée , passez à retirer la mise en œuvre .

frelwa said:

I tried my Stiletto TB15SS on my cat, but the cat ducked, so the test was inconclusive.

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