We have wanted to make a great cabinetmaker's hammer for a long time. Traditionally, hammers are named for the region where they first evolved. Our hammers are a new design, but owe a debt to the past. In keeping with tradition we are calling our first hammer a "Kings County" pattern hammer, after the name given by the English in 1683 to Brooklyn, New York. It's the home of Gramercy Tools and the place where our hammers are made.
Our hammers are machined from tool steel and then differentially hardened. This means that the face and peen are hardened so that nails won't scratch and deform them, but the area around the handle (called the eye) is tough so that the hammer won't crack.
The face of the hammer is polished by hand with a slight crown so that you can drive a nail home without denting the work, or leaving marks around the nail.
The narrow cross-peen at the back of the hammer is used to start tiny nails that are held between the fingers. It's also good for seating nails in tight corners. The shape of the peen is distinctive and important. It's noticeably curved from left to right to help get a square hit on the brad, but we also grind in a slight 1 degree flat to catch the nail head and prevent glancing.
The eye of the hammer head is shaped like an hourglass, which ensures a strong fit for the handle. Two different wedges are used to complete the assembly. First, a poplar wedge is driven into the eye to lock the handle in place. Next, an English style "H" pattern iron wedge is set in the eye perpendicular to the poplar wedge. This locks the first wedge and spreads the handle further to fill up the eye.
The hickory handles have a traditional octagonal cross-section which makes them easy to hold and register in your hand. The look is thin and graceful, but these handles are deceptively strong. The narrow waist is designed to give just the right amount of flexibility which dampens some of the shock of hammering. The result is a hammer that is less fatiguing to use, and, using a modern term, more ergonomic for your hand.
The decorative, Victorian-inspired "file work" are details that were only seen on the best hammers. Why the decorations? Every tool should not only be a joy to use, but a joy to look at. Each time you pick up one of these hammers we want you to be reminded of the long tradition of the craft of woodworking, and be inspired, we hope, to do your best work.
Kings County hammers are available in two sizes. The larger 9oz. size is perfect for general cabinetmaking and joinery. The smaller, 4oz hammer is brilliant for smaller work, model making, and is an excellent plane adjusting hammer. It also makes an exquisite gift.
The hammers are respectively about 11 3/4" and 11 1/2" overall in length. Each hammer comes packed in its own cloth bag.
With the singular exception of the English made wedge, the hammer, the cloth bag, even the corrosion inhibiting paper are all Made in the USA
"I put both hammers through their paces driving a bunch of wire and cut nails into dry and hard yellow pine. I found both hammers to be well-balanced and responsive. The domed faces are absolute perfection. And the decorative filework on the heads is over the top and gorgeous." - Popular Woodworking Chris Schwarz's Blog 1/1/2012 -