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rock finder

Thoughts on fiberglass handled estwings, and/or their cross-peen blacksmith hammer?

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rock finder

Hi all! Two sort-of unrelated questions, but I figured I would combine them into one post so I don't spam the forum with newb questions! I was wondering if anyone had any luck with Estwing's "sure strike" drilling hammer? I'm trying to determine if there are any reasons to go with the fiberglass handle (other than the price!).
https://www.estwing.com/collections/sure-strike/products/drilling-hammer-fiberglass
 


I was also looking at their cross peened "blacksmith hammer", and it seemed like it might be valuable as an all-purpose hammer in certain circumstances. I've seen this type of hammer mentioned on a fossil hunter site or two, but when I searched the forum I couldn't find any mentions so I figured I'd ask for everyones' thoughts/experiences with them :)
https://www.estwing.com/products/blacksmiths-hammer-fiberglass


I currently only have some nail hammers and a cheap chisel, so I'm doing my research toward my first real hammer purchase(s). Thanks in advance! 

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Kane

The first one would be what many of us call a crack hammer, and can be very useful. The second one is my go-to hand sledge; I find the bevel-edge very helpful in splitting massive blocs of limestone where a chisel/hammer combo would not be as optimal, but where I want to exploit a small crack (or split the block in two where there is no bedding plane apparent). The flat side is just overall useful for the ol' smashy-smashy where needed.

 

The fiberglass handle will make hammering all day a bit easier on the body. That being said, I tend to have to replace the blacksmith hammer once every 1-2 years as the head gets a bit loose after a season of extensive use. 

 

Of course, it very much depends on the type of material you'll be working with. Those two hammers are fine for bigger blocs, but for splitting smaller pieces it is recommended to have the "finesse" hammers on hand such as a brick layer hammer with the sharp chisel end, and possibly a geologic hammer. Using one of those bigger hammers on smaller material is a recipe for turning rock and fossil into shards and powder! :D 

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Bob Saunders

while Estwing is known for quality, I'm surprised to read made in Taiwan. Are you planning to crack open geodes? I would rather have the Blacksmiths hammer, as the point of a drilling hammer double head is you can just pick it up quick and "wham". Where as like a claw hammer you may have to turn it around. The weight you need may depend on use of it, and if in the field how much weight you want to carry with all of your gear to the collecting site. Fiberglass may hold up better in wet conditions. Over time I found most all of mine used like at flea markets or garage sales. 

 For those in the know, I am looking at the YETI brand 5 gallon  load out buckets, around $35. Worth the cost V's used paint pails that eventually can dry out and crack? 

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caldigger

had the very hammer in your first pic. Somewhere along the line I must have buried it in the dust and rubble while digging. 

I went back a few months later with a metal detector and unfortunately  could not locate it so I am sure someone was digging out a pit and got a nice prize.

It was very comfortable to use and I will be replacing it with another of the same.

Plus I use it for underwater gold extraction and the non wooden handle holds up to those conditions 1000× better.

However, the type of fossil digging we do is somewhat different than spitting shale and a chisel end would be useless, but priceless if that is what you are doing.

Like others have mentioned, the masons/ bricklayer hammer would probably be ideal for splitting.  Be sure to get one with a bit of umph. 22 or 24oz.

If you get one too lightweight it will just tend to bounce off the rock and exhaust you working at splitting the shale all day.

 

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rock finder
2 hours ago, Phevo said:

Personally I would suggest starting with this:

 

https://www.estwing.com/collections/bricklayer/products/bricklayer-or-masons-hammer

 

You will always be able to use it, and when you decide to start working bigger chunks or do some quarrying/breaking concretions you can get a blacksmith hammer

That's definitely on the list too. I'm guessing I'll need one 'finesse' type hammer like that, and then one (for now, just starting out!) heavy hitter for breaking larger rocks into more manageable/transportable chunks. 

I'm still pondering whether to go with the one you posted or one with a pointed end. 
 https://www.estwing.com/collections/geological/products/lightweight-rock-pick

I'm trying to read up on both types to see which is better as a first 'rock hammer' for my needs :)

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Kane
5 minutes ago, rock finder said:


I'm still pondering whether to go with the one you posted or one with a pointed end. 
 https://www.estwing.com/collections/geological/products/lightweight-rock-pick

I'm trying to read up on both types to see which is better as a first 'rock hammer' for my needs :)

Some people are divided over the utility of the classic geologic hammer, but it serves a variety of other purposes. The pick end can function as a mini-lever in a pinch, a way of loosening up clay, and even a kind of means to climb up a slope (a little like a rock-climbing tool). 

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Phevo
5 hours ago, rock finder said:

That's definitely on the list too. I'm guessing I'll need one 'finesse' type hammer like that, and then one (for now, just starting out!) heavy hitter for breaking larger rocks into more manageable/transportable chunks. 

I'm still pondering whether to go with the one you posted or one with a pointed end. 
 https://www.estwing.com/collections/geological/products/lightweight-rock-pick

I'm trying to read up on both types to see which is better as a first 'rock hammer' for my needs :)

 

I started with a geologic hammer and chisel myself, but went over to the Brick hammer as it means one less item to carry and I nearly never used the point end on the geologic hammer anyway. 

 

In the end it depends on personal preference, and you will probably end up getting both at one point or another :whistle:

 

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grandpa

Hello Rockfinder and welcome to TFF

 

I'm not sure it really matters what hammer you buy first.  If you stay with the hobby for very long, you will find that all are useful in various situations and you will end up with a collection of each and choose from the collection depending on the location you are hunting that day.  From my experience and usage in Central Texas, I find that the most utilitarian tool is the pointed end geologist hammer.  Next would probably be a 2 - 3 lb hand sledge, depending on your size and strength as much as the material you're working with.  (I'm fairly large in size and used to have good upper body strength, so I've always gone the 3 lb steel handle route for strength and durability.)  I also haul along a long handle shovel, a full size 16 lb sledge and a 6 ft steel pry-bar (homemade) when I travel to new sites, not knowing what I might need.  Gad tools and pry-bars and a variety of chisels and a selection of all the above hammers will all become part of your tool kit as you progress in the hobby.

 

But for a 1st tool, depending on the area you're hunting, I will offer up this bit of (useful?) information.  I had all my tools in my P/U in the cab.  Someone shattered the window and stole ALL of my tools.  The first thing I bought (the next day) to replace all of my tools was the 22 oz Estwing geological pick hammer.  It is my go-to, can't-live-without tool for hunting in Central Texas, or anywhere else I've hunted thruout the US.  I would think such would be the case in Ohio as well.

 

Hope this helps.:fingerscrossed:

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grandpa
On 11/25/2019 at 4:42 AM, Bob Saunders said:

For those in the know, I am looking at the YETI brand 5 gallon  load out buckets, around $35. Worth the cost V's used paint pails that eventually can dry out and crack? 

 

And now for @Bob Saunders regarding 5 gal buckets.  Why would anyone buy a 5 gal bucket, much, much less a Yeti 5 gal bucket for $35??  I think of 5 gal buckets as "disposable" items.  Therefore, I look for places like burger joints and delis that get pickles, BBQ sauce, etc. in 5 gal buckets and then toss the empty buckets.  When I find such a place I ask them if I can recycle the buckets for them.  Some say I can have all they get for free, others are more capitalistic in their approach and are willing to let their (prior) "trash" items go for $1 - $1.50 apiece once they learn that someone values them.  Either way, I get all the 5 gal buckets I want for way, way less than $35.  I also collect rocks (agate, pet. wood, etc.)  and store these long-term in plastic 5 gal buckets.  As long as I keep them out of direct sun-light, they are fine for 5 yrs+.  When it comes time to replace them, I do as I described above and replace them for little-to-no cost.  I like replacing them for it gives me a chance to go through the contents again and (re-)discover their treasures.  (Remember, I'm old and some of these findings date back many years.  Some of them, I've forgotten I have so I get the thrill of finding them again.)  This plan works fine for my needs.

 

Hope this helps answer your concern.:thumbsu:

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erose

Fiberglass will shatter if you hit rock with it. That is a hammer for shop work not field work. Just my humble two cents worth....

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caldigger

Those "fiberglass" handles on that sledge aren't like traditional fiberglass you might be imagining. 

They are more like a hard plastic that can take shock and injury.  I can't tell you how many times the head has missed the chisel and the handle took the full blow. 

Not the slightest bit of damage to the handle at all, minus a few small scrapes.

I would trust them far beyond a wooden one.

 

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rock finder
On 11/26/2019 at 1:43 PM, grandpa said:

Hello Rockfinder and welcome to TFF

 

I'm not sure it really matters what hammer you buy first.  If you stay with the hobby for very long, you will find that all are useful in various situations and you will end up with a collection of each and choose from the collection depending on the location you are hunting that day.  From my experience and usage in Central Texas, I find that the most utilitarian tool is the pointed end geologist hammer.  Next would probably be a 2 - 3 lb hand sledge, depending on your size and strength as much as the material you're working with.  (I'm fairly large in size and used to have good upper body strength, so I've always gone the 3 lb steel handle route for strength and durability.)  I also haul along a long handle shovel, a full size 16 lb sledge and a 6 ft steel pry-bar (homemade) when I travel to new sites, not knowing what I might need.  Gad tools and pry-bars and a variety of chisels and a selection of all the above hammers will all become part of your tool kit as you progress in the hobby.

 

But for a 1st tool, depending on the area you're hunting, I will offer up this bit of (useful?) information.  I had all my tools in my P/U in the cab.  Someone shattered the window and stole ALL of my tools.  The first thing I bought (the next day) to replace all of my tools was the 22 oz Estwing geological pick hammer.  It is my go-to, can't-live-without tool for hunting in Central Texas, or anywhere else I've hunted thruout the US.  I would think such would be the case in Ohio as well.

 

Hope this helps.:fingerscrossed:

Thanks @grandpa ! Definitely food for thought :)


 
@erose and @caldigger thanks for your thoughts, that's part of the inner dialogue i've been having. 

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Mike from North Queensland

For the small hammers.

Fibre glass handles absorbs some of the shock / jarring when using so long term are better for your body especially when you have arthritis or are prone to it.

Have seen the result of some one using a metal handle and hit his hand with it, not good but they do double up nicely as an axe for splitting timber.

 

Mike

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T. nepaeolicus

Personally I prefer the Estwing Bricklayers Hammer, it allows for more accuracy. It also is cheaper than the fiberglass handled ones.

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T. nepaeolicus

I also prefer a fiberglass handle crack hammer. A paleo pick is useful when extracting fossils. Both Estwing brand of course!

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