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Vaughan RS17 480g Plain Face Stealth Rip Hammer
|Price:||£23.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details|
|You Save:||£14.49 (39%)|
- Nail holder for standard and duplex nails
- Forged from high carbon steel
- Side nail puller provides extra leverage for removing nails
- Excellent strength and durability
- Exclusive air cushioned slip-resistant grip; 345 mm handle length
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Vaughan 480 g plain face stealth straight claw rip hammer is forged from high carbon steel to offer excellent strength and durability. Its nail holder is capacble of holding both standard and duplex nails and the side nail puller provides extra leverage for removing nails. For comfort, the hammer has an exclusive air cushioned slip-resistant grip. 345 mm handle length.
1 x Stealth Rip Hammer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I had read the other reviews of this hammer and thought I'd give it a go. I'm sorry I did because it is the worst hammer I have ever owned, and that is a mouthful because I've owned a LOT of hammers over the years, and some of them were pretty crummy.
Fist of all it is heavy. It weighs in at over two pounds overall. According to my scale I weigh it at 38 ounces, almost 2.5 pounds. I know the stated 17 ounce weight is the head weight, not the total weight, but any way you slice it this is a heavy hammer on your belt. If you are looking for a lightweight framer, this one is surely not it.
The swing feel is biased toward the head. When you wield this hammer you feel it all in your wrist because the head is a pretty massive thing zipping about, and to control it you use a lot of grip and power from your wrist. It doesn't feel natural to me, not balanced and easy. More like "Holy crap, I just drove one lousy nail and my wrist is going to be sore for a week!"
Its handle is too small in circumference. It also lacks any sort of significant contour to make it easier to grip... as in a bulge at the butt end and/or one in the middle. The only way to keep a-hold on this thing while you are giving it a healthy swing is with a death grip. That monster-grip action will ruin your elbow before coffee break. A larger circumference handle with a bump or crook at the end means you can hold on with a more relaxed grip and not put so much strain on your wrist and elbow.... but this hammer lacks those features.
There is NO damping whatsoever when you deliver a solid strike, you feel it all the way up to your shoulder. That is more or less expected in any steel hammer and why many guys prefer wooden handled hammers when they are practical, myself included, so it isn't fair to make that a mark against this hammer so much as just point it out. Many steel hammers claim they have some damping scheme or other, but I have yet to try one that actually does. This one has none.
The head is advertized as the "largest striking surface of any hammer sold" and it is big. I don't need a head that big to hit a nail. I sort of shrugged this off when I was shopping, but in practical use the head seems HUGE. It doesn't get into tight spots... or even not-so-tight spots... and when you are holding a nail with your fingers to get it started, well let's just say its size is awkward and intimidating because when you bring that hammer head down to start the nail you loose all sight of your fingertips and the nail head. That sounds like an odd, nit-picky thing to say, but when you are using the hammer it is a weird feeling to say the least: It is like someone suddenly put their hands over your eyes the moment you were about to strike the nail. IMO, after giving it a try, there IS something wrong with the huge head: it isn't handy at all! Furthermore its size could be forgiven if the head had a big sweet spot, but it doesn't. If you are off a wee bit the hammer head will skate off and your buddies will be calling you Rosy for the rest of the day. Lastly there is no real side to this head. If you want to side-tap a nail in a tight spot, just forget about it.
The geometry of the head is really poor for pulling nails. It is very straight along the top surface from the top of the striking head to the claws. Sure a framer hammer has ripping claws which are usually fairly straight, but by making them nearly perfectly straight and even with the top of the striking head they rob you of leverage for pulling any nails. You see the fulcrum becomes the tip of the striking head, not near the point where the handle enters the head as it is for most hammers. That makes a long lever at the wrong end of the system and robs you of pulling power. A long lever (the handle) working via a small lever (middle of most regular hammer heads to claw) means more power. A long lever (handle) working through another long lever (tip of striking head on this hammer to claw) is less power.
While we are at it the slot in the claw is barely wide enough to fit an 8d nail. Forget about 10's or 12's. You simply won't get a decent grip on them because you can't get the nail into the slot.....but it doesn't matter because with the shape of the head I found myself very hard pressed to even pull some 8d's which were only half-driven into a bit of framing lumber. I had a bunch that I had used to tack up temporary blocks to hold a trim board in place while I worked the end joints... and no matter how I tried I couldn't get 'em out with this hammer! I felt really stupid, but I couldn't do it! I had a difficult time getting the nails to seat in the slot, and when I did I didn't have enough leverage to pull them. I had to go fetch my 18 inch wrecking bar, which not only made short work of pulling those 8d's and blocks off, it also worked better using the back side of it as a hammer to drive back the nails on the blocks where the nails stayed in the block. Pretty bad when the back of the crowbar has a better feel and balance for striking nails than the fancy new hammer!
The side head nail puller is a joke. I can't even get an 8d nail into it. I managed to get a (wooden)shingle nail into it, but barely. And if I sort of got an 8d in there, the shape of the slot caused the hammer to slip off the nail in an instant. I experimented with various ways of using it... none worked. The head always spit out the nail. Every single time. It is like the slot has a backwards ramp forged into it where the nail head seats that makes this happen every time. Also the depth of the slot (thickness of the tangs) is too great. If the nail isn't already sticking out a good ways you will never come close to getting it into the side-head slot.
Very bad things can happen when you yank hard on the end of a nail puller and it slips off a nail. Knuckles get busted and people and things can go flying. Framing carpenter types are generally not completely safety-railed in as they work.... so a framing hammer that slips off nails as you pull them is not only inconvenient, it is potentially dangerous.
Overall the workmanship and finish is far below par. The edges are poorly finished, the paint is lousy and uneven, and the rubber handle grip on mine is already starting to fail at the junction between the top of the rubber and the steel shaft. The nail starter slot chipped on the very first try, and the face of the striking surface shows signs of porosity and poor grain structure, like a bad casting. ( I really hope it isn't cast, as that would be a travesty... castings break. Hammers need to be forged.... but since I won't be using it I suppose it is a moot concern)
Overall this is a pretty sorry excuse for a hammer. No pro would use this thing for more than ten minutes because it simply doesn't do what it has to do. That's too bad because Vaughn is a brand known for some pretty good hammers. The only reason for 2 stars instead of 1 is because it is made in the USA... so cudo's for that. Too bad it isn't made better. In summary, skip this hammer, it is all but unusable.
I bought an Estwing E3-16S 16 oz straight claw steel hammer to replace this one. The Estwing is a no-nonsense get-it-done great little hammer. See my review of that one if you like. Also Estwing makes the same 16 oz straight claw hammer with a leather grip which is a nice touch, though I personally didn't spring for that upgrade since I will use this hammer only occasionally.
I couldn't be more satisfied with the company I purchased it from as well. Earlier that same day I bought some Klein ironworker pliers. The pliers were sent 2 day shipping and the hammer was sent ordinary shipping. Anyways I received the hammer a day sooner then the pliers. So needless to say 5 stars all the way.