Tool Box Buzz

Stiletto TRIMBONE Titanium Finish Hammer

Stiletto TRIMBONE Hammer

The titanium hammer vs. steel hammer debate has been going on at my job site for a few years now. The big questions are 1) whether titanium hammers are worth the cost, which is sometimes 4 times more than a steel hammer, and 2) whether they really prevent injuries.

I’m not here to sell you titanium hammers. But personally, I think Titanium was a great choice for me and my crew.

Titanium’s Benefit

Titanium’s primary ergonomic benefit is less recoil, with less fatigue being a secondary benefit. I’ve been using a Stiletto hammer since 2011 when I got my first Stiletto 10-Ounce Titanium finish hammer. I loved the “old school” axe-style Hickory handle. Not to mention it was “WICKED” light!

I later gave this hammer to one of my guys and picked up a poly-handle Stiletto finish hammer. Shortly after that, I threw out my old framing hammer and picked up a Stiletto TiBone framing hammer.

Regardless of which hammer I use, I’m now sold on titanium for my hammer of choice. As I get older, I continually look for products and tools that will make my work more efficient, easier, better quality, and hurt my body LESS!

Titanium Transfers Energy Efficiently

The major attraction to using a titanium hammer is less vibration and weight. Titanium has the same strength as steel with 45% less weight and exhibits much less vibration than steel. Some hammer manufacturers claim up to 10 times less vibration.

Titanium hammers are typically half the weight of steel hammers and can still deliver the same amount of power to the head of the nail. The reduction in weight equates to less fatigue over the course of a day, week, or year.

Hammer Swing Energy

Titanium hammers also allow you to obtain approximately 97% of your hammer swing energy going into the nail, compared to approximately 70% with a regular steel hammer. If you’re doing it right, this should result in more efficient nail driving.

Steel Is Better For “Knockdown” Power

When it comes to “knockdown power,” heavier hammers will always be more effective at pounding framing members or beams into place, or when moving a wall into position.

However, when it comes to demo work, I don’t buy the heavier hammer argument. The goal is to protect one’s body — when doing demo work, contractors should not swing hammers in any direction that your elbow is NOT designed to move.

There’s a difference between “nailing and wailing” a hammer. (Wailing = open elbow, baseball swing.) To protect your body, you should try to avoid “wailing,” and keep the arm and elbow moving in a more natural motion.

Reduced Recoil Shock | Vibration

Reduced recoil shock is another feature of titanium. I wish I had a titanium hammer in 1993 when I started swinging one. If I did, I bet I wouldn’t wake up every morning at 4 A.M. with a tingling pain in my first three fingers. Yes, I said every day at 4 A.M., and 800 mg of Motrin doesn’t make it go away either.

On average, Titanium dampens vibrations up to ten times better than high carbon steels, but this doesn’t consider that some steel hammers have optimized their design to offset this.

Today, higher-end steel hammers are designed around better-performing high-carbon steels and handles that further improve dampening performance. How much better a titanium hammer will dampen vibrations depends on several factors:

• Hammer head metallurgy
• Handle material
• Hammer design

Comparing Titanium to Steel  | Vibration Test

The true test to appreciate hammer vibration differences between titanium and steel hammers is to strike them simultaneously on a concrete floor. You must only do this once to feel the benefits of titanium. This test is what sold my guys to start carrying and using Stiletto hammers.

Less Weight

Titanium hammers are lighter, and I’ve been told that for every pound carried on your belt equates to a 20lb load of fatigue on your lower back at the end of an 8-hour day. Less weight means less fatigue at the end of the day.

Stiletto TRIMBONE Hammer

Ok, enough of the Titanium talk. Let’s talk about the new Stiletto TRIMBONE hammer. The TRIMBONE Titanium finish hammer comes in two configurations, curved or straight claw.

Stiletto TRIMBONE Hammer Specifications

• Handle material: Titanium and rubber over-mold
• Head material: Steel
• Handle: Curved
• Side nail puller
• Rubber grip
• Magnetic nail set
• 2 Mallet Caps
• Straight or Curved Claw Style
• MSRP $240

Magnetized Nail Groove

The Stiletto TRIMBONE hammer has a magnetized nail groove to help start nails that are overhead or just out of reach. Did you know that Stiletto invented this feature, as well as the side pull feature? Fact.

We find the nail-setting feature works well; it keeps a tight grip on the nail until impact and embeds the nail nicely.

TRIMBONE Straight Claw | Side Puller

The Stiletto TRIMBONE straight claw design is great for pulling nails without marring material, but it’s also nice for prying trim apart. The 180° side nail puller is a crew favorite and gives some awesome pulling leverage. This side nail puller fits nail sizes from 2D to 16D (1-inch to 3-1/2 inch).

Stiletto TRIMBONE Hammer | D-Face Head

The Stiletto TRIMBONE has a compact D-face design, allowing the hammer to fit in tight spaces.

Replaceable Colored Accessory Grips

It seems like everyone today wants to personalize their tools, so for you fancy-pants carpenters out there, Stiletto is now offering replaceable colored grips. The TRIMBONE hammer comes standard with a black handle. The replaceable grips are available in four different colors and are easy to install and remove via a screw at the bottom of the handle. The replaceable grips cost approximately $35.00 each and come in four colors:

• Yellow
• Olive green
• Blue
• Orange

Steel Caps | Rubber Mallet Accessory Caps

Replaceable steel faces can be purchased for $30.00 and non-marring mallet caps are now available.

The rubber mallet caps come in hard (White) and soft (Black), allowing users to alternate between hammer and mallet and strike without damage. The caps come in two to a kit and cost $25.00.

We recently used the caps to set and install tongue and groove ceiling boards and install PVC Cortex plugs. It worked great and allowed me to carry one hammer as a 2-in-1 tool.

Stiletto TRIMBONE Titanium Hammer | Cost

At $240 The Stiletto TRIMBONE hammer comes at a premium price and that may put them out of reach for some users. That price isn’t totally crazy considering this Pro-grade hammer is made in the U.S.A with premium titanium metal, has highly specialized features and is designed specifically for the finish carpenter.

Stiletto TRIMBONE 10oz Titanium Finish Hammer

Stiletto TRIMBONE Hammer | Final Thoughts

I think it’s fair to say that hammers are quickly evolving into far more sophisticated tools than their predecessors, and we get to benefit from those advances.

Titanium hammers offer excellent vibration dampening, and the lighter weight metal translates to easier swings with less fatigue and impact on the nerves and tendons in the arm. Less damage to the body is a good retirement plan!

After using this hammer for a while, I predict that you will see and feel a reduction in weight (it weighs 45% less than a standard steel hammer) and a reduction in harmful recoil shock vibrations. Using a titanium hammer makes sense, especially when I think of my own injuries, and guys that I know that are in what I call a “survival mode.” These are the guys that take Vicodin or Ibuprofen to keep pain and swelling down just enough to get through the day.

So, some advice from Uncle Rob…. give Titanium a try, protect your eyes and ears, and consider work pants with built-in kneepads. Your body will thank you 30 years later.

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