The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Bostitch AntiVibe pounds like a dream

new mini sledge hammer is awesome!

The second date Anna and I went on was a trip to the local flea market where we bought a cheap mini sledge hammer for 5 dollars about 7 years ago. It seemed like a good deal at the time, but we've since learned that cheap tools are often not cut out for serious homesteading work. In all fairness to the makers in China the hammer in question did recieve some improper use from a helper missing the post and hitting it with the handle, which most likely contributed to it breaking the other day.

Sometimes a pole driver makes hammering a T-post easier, which we might get in the future, but I've got used to using a mini-sledge.

I doubt if the handle will ever break on our new Stanley Bostitch Antivibe Hammer. It feels more balanced compared to holding the other mini sledge and pounds like a dream thanks to the fiberglass core in the handle.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You should re-handle the old one since it has sentimental value lol
Comment by Phil Wed Aug 31 17:31:41 2011
Yup, we'll definitely save the head. Maybe one slow winter day (ha!) we'll drill out the fiberglass and install a wooden handle.
Comment by anna Wed Aug 31 19:22:06 2011
I don't know how much metal working you do, but I have some heavy pipe and other assorted scrape metal in the shop that is destined to become a homemade fence post drive(someday). Thanks for the Bostich hammer review, I lost my Estwing mini maul and need to replace it. I will watch for the Bostich.
Comment by Justin Wed Aug 31 19:32:06 2011

Great idea Justin.

When I did use a post driver it felt kind of wimpy and I remember thinking a 5 or 10 pound hammer head welded to the top might make it harder to carry around and lift but would give that solid thump I think the original designers must have had.

I could see one being made from a big piece of pipe and some rebar bent and welded for a handle...but it might be easier to buy one at the store and modify it for extra heavy pounding.

Comment by mark Wed Aug 31 20:07:57 2011

It seemed like a good deal at the time

I first mis-read this as "it seemed like a good date at the time", and was very curious what had happened afterwards to make it seem like a bad date in retrospect! :^)

Comment by irilyth [] Wed Aug 31 20:54:56 2011

Not all fiberglass is created equally.

From the color and texture of the broken handle it looks like Bulk Moulding Compound ("BMC"). This has relatively short fibers that in general are not aligned. This should not be compared to "real" continuously reinforced fiberglass because it is much less strong and stiff. It can however be moulded relatively easily with injection moulding machines.

Good quality fiberglass (without added color) with continuous reinforcement should be translucent with a greenish tint. It should be able to withstand ≈4% of strain before breaking. I'd be willing to bet that a person using only his own strength would be unable to break a handle of a hammer made from such material!

Look at the fiberglass arms made for bows and crossbows to see what I mean.

Some time ago I made a fiberglass/epoxy demo piece to show the strength of fiberglass to customers. It is a plate about 1/4" thick, 2" wide and about 7" long with the fibers mostly running parallel to the long edge. I clamp the short end in a vise, and hit the free end with a hammer as hard as I can. What happens is that the fiberglass plate effortlessly absorbs the energy from the hammer impact and then returns it, sending the hammer back where it came from with almost the same speed! (that is why I tend to do the demo instead of having the customers try; don't want people catching a hammer with their face)

Comment by Roland_Smith Thu Sep 1 13:38:18 2011

Josh --- Maybe the fact that I forgot we got this mini sledge on our second date? Darn my bad memory! :-)

Roland --- That's very good information, and would explain why some homesteaders think fiberglass handles are awful and others think they're awesome. Can you tell the difference between good and bad fiberglass if it's been dyed?

Comment by anna Thu Sep 1 15:52:49 2011

You need to be knowledgable/experienced to recognize the different kinds of reinforced plastics. Personally I've been designing and fabricating reinforced plastics for 16 years now. If they are dyed or painted I'd have to pull them apart and/or study the naked material under a microscope to say how they're made.

But telling the difference between metal alloys can be equally difficult.

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Sep 2 13:04:50 2011
Drat! I was hoping there would be an easier answer. :-) I guess I'll just have to stick to figuring that we get what we pay for, and if the tool is too cheap, the handle probably won't stand up to wear and tear.
Comment by anna Fri Sep 2 20:50:34 2011

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