Humor and sarcasm

Published March 30, 2012

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



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 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? 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 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.

Author: Roger Cicala

I’m Roger and I am the founder of Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.

Posted in Humor and sarcasm
  • 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.

  • Roger Cicala wrote: Maxwell @ 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 🙂

  • Christer M

    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?

  • 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!

  • K Crow

    Maxwell @ is brilliant, but you’re dating yourself.

  • Bifurcator

    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.


  • hihi

    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.

  • 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!

  • Roland S

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

  • Mickey Kosanovich

    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.

  • William K

    Fantastic! Well done!

  • Jim Austin

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

  • Andy K

    @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.

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

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

  • 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!

  • Will

    You nailed it!

  • bluto

    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.

  • PhotonPeen

    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?).

  • Andy

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

    Job done.

  • Miles Green

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

    …Ken Rockbuster… lol!

  • Whitefly Swater

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

  • Jim Colwell

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

  • siodre

    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.

  • MrPixelPeeper


  • Roland

    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.

  • Budi

    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.

  • Clay

    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.!!!

  • Joe

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

  • Marco

    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!

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