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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”

Neil Buchan-Grant said:

I used to drive nails for a living back when a hammer was nothing more than a lump of poorly fashioned metal with a splintery stick coming out of one end!

In those days all you needed were a keen eye and a steady hand to get the job done to a professional standard. Nowadays its all just 'young punks' with their fancy automatic nail guns which require no skill or judgement on the part of the user at all!

It makes me sick, I used to turn up at a job and find some little idiot (who happened to be the foreman's nephew!) packing the latest all-singing-dancing BOSTITCH N80CB-1 had done it for a third of the going rate! That's all very well, but what happens when his batter packs in? You just can't beat a good manual tool in the hands of an expert!

intrnst said:

Hey, Roger.
Check this out: http://bit.ly/HOgpPq
An odd diffraction behavior.

dumbasadoorknob said:

What happens to my nail when I use a crophammer; will it come out of the other end of the subject wood? Is it really closer when I hit it? Can I really stand farther away? Is a threepenny nail with a standard hammer better than a fivepenny nail with a crophammer? When will they make a hammer for four nails at once?

Should I wait before replacing my present standard hammer with a Japanese hammer that can nail in cuphooks?

TK said:

Chuck Westpale says the Cannon 1H Mark MCCLIV tops everything else in nails per second. Thom Hogun claims the Nailkon N 900 gives you a better hit rate, but I'm going with Westpale on this one.

HammerTime said:

What sort of hammer do you recommend for Glamour Hammering?

MikeL said:

@Nailguru2: I've tried the Grip Rite galvanized zinc coated sinkers, and they work with all my hammers and are the sharpest sinkers I've ever held, straight out of the box. They are so sharp I think I'm going to sell all my hammers and buy an Stiletto TB15SS titanium. I'm thinking of accepting a few assignments, do you think the TB15SS would be good enough? I don't have a good saw or tape, what accessories do you think would be valuable for an afternoon doghouse assignment?


Dave said:

This is a perfect parody of EXACTLY what happens in the camera forums!

Denise said:

Fabulous! Funniest thing I've read in ages!!! Thank you

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

HammerTime - Maxwell's Silver Hammer, of course.

Tom said:

"siodre says:
April 2, 2012 at 5:53 AM

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."

I'm waiting for the Mk iv as it will blow anything even thought of today. I know because I read about it on HammerRumors .com

mrod said:

The only time I have to work is at night after the kids go to bed and the night air amplifies the noise and wakes 'em up, which doesn't make anyone happy. A friend said an artificial light source and a couple noise difusers and maybe a shaping tool would cut the noise by almost 80%, and I could probably mask the remaining 20% Ps (Post strike) by wrapping the handle in a beach towel. So, do I need a matching brand for the light? I have an old flashlight and was thinking of duct taping it to the top of the hammer and seeing if that would work. Any thoughts?

Rob Andrew said:

This is the most awesome thing I've ever read in my life.

Tom said:

Bah...you young guys are all wimps. Back when I was a boy, we made our own hammers out of rocks & sticks!!

JDT said:

Oops. I made the mistake at posting this on a certain camera group on flickr. People are already getting fired up.

Paul said:

I used my hammer at a wedding and now I have a rash. Is this normal?

M6X40MM said:

Personally I've never been convinced of the quality of joints made with a nail and prefer to use the SCREW format.

Up until now I've been using a Manchester ScrewDriver for nails but with the switch to Screws I need a new tool as its no longer supported for use with Adobe Walls. Would the Stanley 1-56-001 Anti-Vibe Lump Hammer be suitable for Screw Format?

Secondary question - does anyone know if this comes in a left-hand version?

Mark said:

While this parody is great and funny as all get out, I use to make my living swinging a hammer in several trades (framing, roofing, and drywall). Then as now and almost universally across tools, the market supported at least three grades of each tool. Cheap for the beginner/amateur, mid-grade for the hard core hobbyist, and Best for the professional. My step dad could never understand why I would spend $30 for a framing hammer when he used a "perfectly good" hammer for $3. The fact that he bent 4 out of 5 nails totally escaped him. A good tool is REQUIRED when you are making a living at it, but as always the discussions will get out of hand.

Bob said:

Love it LOL you've really hit the nail on the head...


Kevin Purcell said:

salt asks: "Some times I wonder if we human beings have always been this crazy or if it was just a recent phenomenon courtesy of the “current generation”."

It's a result, I suspect, of remote communication and interaction between semi-anonymous strangers. So of course it isn't new!

The Victorians were at it in photography journals with barbed remarks being slung in their letters pages.

e.g. this May 1864 letter on curve-fronted cameras and confier photography ... it reads like a better written modern forum entry (from almost 150 years ago!).


I suspect it goes back to the origin of the post and letters exchanged by any enthusiasts published or kept by a society. But it probably blossomed with the Victorians.

For more info see this article where the above link originally appeared. The comments fill out some of the odd insults hurled (e.g. "you are a Tom Noddy").


Humbly yours, etc, etc
K. G. R. R. R. Purcell.

Seb said:

For any of you ignorants - you cannot use 4/3 inch nails on full frames.

Ron said:

Roger thanks for posting, You've given me some insight into make my images tack sharp, nailing more of my shots and getting a better handle on my images.

Sammy said:

Hey everybody! I'm an alternative hammerer. People in my group use frying pans, rocks, bricks, bottles are really tricky be careful. In fact, I once saw a guy on TV once who drove a nail with his bare hand... btw Hammeruser, what's the IQ on that Stiletto? And for Justgotmine, You're going to need MC's Graintex SH 1660 to PP those studs. Jesayin'

Stephen said:

I'm pretty sure I've been apart of the conversation that this is picking fun at... :)

Mark O'Brien said:

I read in Popular Carpentry that Herb Cobbler reviewed 10 different hammers, and found that the Sears Craftsman's $15 hammer was all you needed to be a professional.

Le Kilt said:

You might get 36 MP (metal pins) hammered per minute with the Stiletto TB15, but I work a lot in low light, and the SE 11” rock pick Mk III may only manage 22 MP per minute, but with it's glowing tip and softer finish it makes less noise and never fails to nail it in very low light conditions.

You may need to update its hardwear grip with the firmwear 1.3 rubberised grip which solves the notorious "fly off and hit the neighbour in the head" problem.

Chris said:

I found my way here from AndroidForums.com. The OP here is dead on about how fanboy threads (and threads in general) go. This is awesome.

BTW does that come in left handed. I get really peeved trying to find left handed hammers.:D

hammertime said:

In soviet russia, nail hammers you!

Pete said:

LOL, yeah its human behaviour unfortunately... and its just like this and on steroids in the dive community. Thanks for the wonderful parody.

Thanassi said:

LMFAO at this article and Le Klit


Brad B said:

I found that keeping your thumb clear of the hammer as it strikes the nail really helps cut down on Purple Fringing

Flat Finger said:

My IK-on has a removable lens at the FRONT, and a auto-locate & Nail-Following engine.
Even if i TRY to hit my finger now, it misses!

Wish i had this one long ago.

Ohh, almost forgot, the lenses are: one-time-use-only type's
so dont forget to order those to, they come in boxes of 1.000 pcs.

Jonathan Brady said:

Clark Kent drives nails with his fingers...

But seriously... HILARIOUS write-up!

Mike Hendren said:

You people are ALL wimps! They don't call me "ThumbNailer" for nothing - I push nails in with my thumb. It allows very precise depth placement of any kind of nail! :-)

@Roger This post is sheer genius … brilliant! You had me LOL all the way through!!!

pozophotography said:

Brilliant write-up! This is one of the best photography equipment essays I have read. While it may easily dismissed as a silly post on the surface, it is actually quite insightful and many of parody threads are dead on. Thanks for putting this together; I will share with my friends and colleagues.

MrJavelin said:

Enough about hammers, I already have a perfectly good kit with a framing hammer that I'm comfortable with and a finish hammer that I keep on my belt at all times just in case I need it.

Let's talk about lighting. I've been using cheap work lights from one of the box stores but one of the guys I know that does really high end work told me that he only uses multiple remote lamps on stands to minimize shadows and really seperate the nail from the wood. That's how he is able to get the most work done with the fewest wasted frames. What do you think? I've heard some of the newer work lights are really the bees knees.

born to hammer said:

I need your advice. I am not a professional Hammerer, but I have been hammering for years and have gotten really good. A neighbor of mine saw a sign that I posted on a tree about my missing cat. He told me that I did a great job of attaching the sign to the tree. He asked me how much would I charge to build him a a new house. How much do you think I should charge him to build his house? I will be doing this in my spare time and it should only take a year or two.

ps...I realize that I posted this in the professional hammerers forum. I am not trying to take your customers. My neighbor had no plans of hiring a pro. He said that his 6 year old niece has a brand new hammer and has volunteered to build the house for free in trade for being able to show the house to perspective customers.

BTW I am gonna be needing a tool belt too. What do you guys recommend? I don't want to spend too much. But, it needs to be nice with plenty of room for extra nails. I saw a nice one over on the "makeyourowntoolbelt" website. It was made from a old cloth apron. I liked it a lot and the price was right. Have any of you made your own? If so, please post a photo for us all to make fun of your cheap ass.


richard said:

I'm confused....is the smegma nails more for fir and not pine or hemlock......are they that specialized... If so, why use them if the grip rite can handle all types of wood?. PLEASE HELP

RussellInCincinnati said:

But where are the good hammers really manufactured? Everyone knows that Thailand is the best place to get your nails done.

chris said:

I started out with a tack hammer my dad would lend me whenever I had the odd need to hammer... No bells and whistles at all, but solidly made. Eventually I decided I should get serious about this hammering thing (I kinda enjoyed it) and get my own gear. I've upgraded my gear twice along the way, and would dearly love that new TB15SS, but wow, that price! Too rich for me right now... I wish they had come out with 2 upgrades---say, one with the ultra-light-weight handle, and maybe one with a traditional handle, for those of us who don't need that feather-weight feature.

I hammer more as a hobby or when the mood strikes me---not commercially or professionally---so I'm not getting paid to constantly change hammers. But friends and colleagues have told me I have a natural eye for a beautifully-hammered nail, and should consider going pro/commercial sometime.

So does anyone have any suggestions or resources for setting up an in-home hammering studio? What all do I need to consider? The self-marketing alone is totally daunting... Or perhaps should I try out the carpentry-fair show circuit first, get one of those little pop-up tents, and spend weekends driving to the shows, dislpaying a mix of 4x4's, 2x10's, and maybe a show-stopper 4'x8' plywood sheet, showing my nailing prowess, hoping someone will want my hammering? Then again, would I still enjoy hammering as much as I do know, if I had to "make it my job" all the time? I just don't know what to think about it all...!

Happy Hammering!
-CB "Drooling for the TB15SS"

Flintknapper said:

This is all sheer sillyness. If you'll remember, Hansel Adams once said:

"Knowing everything about hammering that I know today, I could have hammered all of my nails with a rock picked randomly from a stream".

Michel Sauret said:

so this is what we sound like to non-photographers...

I didn't realize I knew so little about nails and hammers... with all the information I know about camera gear, I could be building a shed instead

Powerkey said:

Just got one of those cheap Helga hammers from Amazon for $3. I LOVE this thing. It bends the nails in such interesting ways. Sometimes it gouges the wood and once, I even saw sparks! It was way kewl!

All my friends think the framing is great. I think I'm gonna open my own shop and make a boatload a cash!

dok said:

jeez! you nailed it ! btw, love the pop culture references :-)

gadgetgal488 said:

I only hammer nails at home as a hobby. I use a stilleto heel! it works just fine and when I'm done I can wear them for a night on the town.

Anita Bower said:

Wonderful satire! Had me laughing in public.

Carl C said:

it's eery because it sounds so true! ;-) I think mankind have always been like this. If anyone read Kurt Vonnegut's old novel "Player Piano" the ending is a bit like this (after man has destroyed the machines, man starts fixing them up and arguing about how to do it etc).

Nathan said:

You guys are wasting valuable time with all this spec talk. Just grab whatever you have and get out there and hammer!

Kerry Garrison said:

I just went out and bought a new hammer even though I have never used one before. Now I am going to quit my day job and be a professional carpenter in the next 30 days.

bumflux said:

I can't wait for your review of tool belts!

Ifihadahammer... said:

I'm a complete noob, but want to get into a hobby that will stay with me for a lifetime. Therefore, I need some advice. I need a starter kit (hammer and nails), but am on a tight budget of just £300. I'm wondering if it would be wiser to get in with a new entry level set-up, or would I be better off looking at buying a used mid-range model. I see in the classifieds that there is a "lightly used" Stiletto TB15 for sale (hammer only). After doing a bit of research on this model, I've discovered that it is 36 MP (metal pins) hammered per minute. Would this be overkill on a newcomer like me? The seller doesn't mention how many strikes the hammer has had, but I'm assuming that it's good for at least 250,000 or so over its lifetime. Would this be correct? Is there anything that I should look out for when buying used? I have read that neglected/badly stored hammers could have fungus growth on the handles or even the dreaded dust spots on the shaft!!! I definitely don't want one of those! Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I would appreciate any help.

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