The Clawhammer a Useful Prepper and Homesteading Tool

by Thomas T. Tinker

About 50 to 70 A.D. a Roman tradesman cast an iron hammer head with a cleft in one end. All the better to pound the iron nails he used … or to pull them out for re-use. This tool lays in an Italian Museum today. It took 30,000+ years of tool design to get to that point…. But I digress.

When our tradesman stuck a handle in the Hammer head, we had our first Claw Hammer. You in the pack can find a different definition for the ‘tool’ in every form of dictionary… I rather like the one in my University of Toledo, American Heritage edition. “A tool used to exert an IMPULSIVE FORCE.” c lose.

Curved – Straight – Rip – Geo/paleo – Framing – English … made of Chi-com pot metal or Titanium. For as little as $2.49 at the dollar store, or a nice “Stiletto, T-Bone Titanium & Steel 38oz.” for $219.99.. then there is the “Douglas Framing hammer”.. art on a hickory handle .. you can collect these multi-taskers right along with guns and ammo, Freeze-dried pintos .. or barter booze. Buuuuu..t Naw.. Prepping funds could be used better than another pile of iron.

Me… well, I like my Glocks..(there .. is .. a connection here) I like to keep the list small. I own 5 hammers (that I can find). 1 Estwing claw, 1 Klein electricians, 1 shorty dollar store(in the hardware drawer), 1 tiny tiny ball/tack and my CQB 28 oz. 16 inch Estwing milled face E2-28SM Framing hammer.

It is my go to ‘hammer’. My paver laying, root chopping, gardening troweling, stair building, asphalt patching, plaster hacking, rust remover, wood splitting, open carry out in the night when somethin went bump, is that the pizza man?, deck maint, de-icing, potato digger….. Mine has not looked that clean and dink free since…. Ah… the 80s. I for some reason have given it a name … Pork Chop. I suppose ya could hunt pigs with it too … right? .. but I own different tools for that…. Another article later.

We have other preps along this line such as our 26” campers axe, our hand axe. I will have an all steel ‘dry-wall’ axe by this June.

Now I ask you gringos and gringettes… after seeing a re-run of what ever that zombie series is…. I noticed a fella humping around a nice 28oz. 16” Estwing.. would you say Hollywood has indorsed it’s … other uses? I was so proud I wiped down and re-polished the face of Pork Chop the very next trip to the basement. I also put the claw to the belt sander and put an ever so slight ‘edge’ on em.
Now be honest with yourselves… how many of us cannot pass ‘our’ favorite tool/hammer without just picking it up and twirling it our hand .. not a question really, you know you do it.

Is there not a place in every spot we would leave a flash light? Would this ‘tool’ have a place in the trunk of the car… with our GHBs? In the spirit of conversation and self-examination….. what other uses does the tool have? I could, we could, learn something here….. try not to be … redundent humm could ya.

Thank you for your time. Thank you MD. As always, any comments, questions, suggestions or odd death threats are welcome and I will make every effort to post back.


  1. I never thought much about hammer until I really started using them. Dad had one type, the standard type. Then I started helping a carpenter with some work next door and used a longer framing hammer; what a difference.

    If you are unfamiliar with hand tools, won’t just right this off. Try one, you may be very pleasantly surprised.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      JP … I have my Estwing drywall hammer now! It lives in the drivers door boot in the pickup. I bought my DW a 22oz. Estwing ‘framer’ for the car cause she just could not Do an ASP.

  2. We killed more varmints in the chicken coop with a hammer then any other way. Just hung a framing hammer on the wall by the door and if it was in the coop causing a commotion, it wasn’t getting out.

  3. I know, I know- Z Nation

  4. Babycatcher says:

    Triple T, I absolutely love the way you write! I never thought about the lowly claw hammer, and never gave it a thought. But you have opened my eyes. Hammers can put eyes out or seriously put a dent in clackers. I love it. If you can’t fire a gun, carry a hammer! I agree w WV Mike, on the critters that aren’t supposed to be there. Git’er done!

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Babycatcher .. I took an ‘Impact Weapons’ course at TDI a few years ago. Kobuton, Expanding baton (ASP), Cane (combat cane ;o) were given to each student. We learned the first phrase of three moves with the ASP and it was very.. very.. very clear that the second and third moves were Killing blows. On guard.. begin an over head swing and drop the arm and strike the left knee just above the joint.. follow through and back hand strike to the right side of the neck.. follow through overhand strike to the crown of the head. I would say the same opening phrase with a 22 or 28 oz. framing hammer would only require the first two moves.

      • ^^^yep, probably same regardless post cert training required in LE/mil world- but def agreed

        • Thomas The Tinker says:

          I had an instructor state that he had never.. had a failure to comply once he extended his ASP and went to on guard. What would it do for local control if every cop on a riot line had a 28oz framing hammer clanking and swinging on their hip… or thumping on their shield??

          • OhioPrepper says:


            every cop on a riot line had a 28oz framing hammer

            I suspect there would be viral videos and some snowflake media personality yelling about police brutality.

  5. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    Roofing hammers make a pretty decent camping tool. I have several size hammers, but a mid sized 10 oz. Vaughan is my favorite unless large nails are to be driven.

  6. Thomas The Tinker says:

    Yaknow I’ve done some unplanned camping with no ‘tools’ but the hammer. Did what ever I applied it to … including cutting up the ground clutter for the fire.

    • j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

      Yup, I use the roofing hammer to smash up branches for light tinder, works like a charm because small wood fiber is now exposed to flame.

  7. Always Forward says:

    Great article. I want the one your wife has. Off to shop. Thanks!

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Now be a good steward and polish the head.. put a fair edge on the claws.. lite machine oil.. lite.. Give it a name!

      • OhioPrepper says:


        Give it a name!

        Not a bad idea; but keep in mind that Mjolnir is already taken unless you’re trying to be historical.

        • Thomas The Tinker says:

          Na! unt Yah. At hann mylidi mega lj’sta sva’ Stort sem hann vildi! hvat sem Fyrirvaeni! Du bis’t Thor!

  8. Absolutely, love my old claw hammers, from the framing type through the curvy old dudes. Love em, always carry one! (In my vehicle)

  9. OhioPrepper says:

    I have numerous hammers from 16 and 20 oz claw framing hammers, to numerous Ball-Peen of several sizes along with numerous mallets of different weights and materials. There are also of course, the hatchets, single and double bit axes, and the trusty old maul. That maul kept us warm during most of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I get sore now just thinking about it.
    Historically the hammer was probably one of the oldest weapons as an evolution from the club; but, somehow your perspective on it was one that hadn’t occurred to me as a great prepping tool in numerous types and sizes.
    I also hadn’t thought of the non edged martial arts weapons like the ones you mention

    Kobuton, Expanding baton (ASP), Cane

    To which I will add the Bo and the Han Bo and my favorite, the NunChaKu.
    The nice thing about all of these stick based weapons, is that once you are proficient, a pencil or pen, a broomstick, or even a rolled up newspaper or magazine can be brought to bear.
    Once again a simple article with a different perspective has gotten long dormant synapses to start working again.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Yepper OP.. the nice thing about anything you can lay your hands on. I don’t carry a kobuton. I do have a Sears / Craftsman 1/4″ box / open end wrench that will make you take a knee when applied … just hangs there on the key ring… harmless… innocent.. utilitarian.. speechless. I don’t need one.. yet.. but I enjoy the company of my TDI issued barn and stock cane. Sanded smoooooth at the crook. Cut back to catch the neck and keep it. Cut to fit my stride. Rounded … every so much at the butt.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Absolutely. Standard tools of any sort are innocuous and great when used as defensive tools, since most people don’t give them a second look. In fact, most non blade martial arts tools like the NunChaKu and Tonfa were originally farm implements in a society where blades were treated as firearms are often treated today.
        As for the cane, I like you can deploy it for defense; but, hope I never really need one just to defend against falling, LOL.

        • Sadly thanks to grade V spondolysthesis and extensive nerve damage a cane is my always companion in vehicle, though i refuse to use my old man tags except when my lady is hollering at me too…but, solid oak and waiting on an irish cane of blackthorne…

  10. Goatlover says:

    A man once made the mistake of coming up behind my Daddy to attack him while Daddy was working on our pool pump. For some reason, Daddy was using a claw hammer that day,—I was a little kid and don’t remember what he was using it for—but I do remember how quickly Daddy spun the that hammer around and used the claw side to defend himself. That man ended up in the hospital with deep puncture wounds to his head! Daddy was fine, with just a single strike to his arm with the hose that man was swinging. Daddy got a new nickname that day, The Hammer Man!

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Goatlover… I would love to have still had that hammer. A family Icon. A connection.

      • I saw this thing on tv that some 1 percenter motor scum types carry a hammer at almost all times cause they are not considered a weapon by law enforcement like a large knife would be.

        • OhioPrepper says:

          That reminds me of a story I heard years ago about a “crazy” guy who rode daily on the New York subway who sat in the corner mumbling to himself and tapping his hand with a claw hammer. Someone complained, and when he was approached and questioned by the police, they determined he was as sane as anyone; but, had determined that tapping his hand with a hammer while mumbling to himself kept everyone away from him, including the thugs. That was a smart man who realized that perception is everything and bullies only like unaware victims.

        • Hey hey, some of my closest friends are (1%rs)


  11. Chloe in Maine says:

    Over the years, I have taken a liking to Estwings… I have a 32oz and 22oz framer… 16oz claw and a 32oz axe w/ 26″ handle… then there is the 8oz dollar store hammer good for the small stuff. I’ve always thought it would be good to have a hammer in the pack when out in the woods but always thought about the weight issue and figured I’d use the back side of the axe (if I brought it along… depending on what the camping trip was).
    I did come across this little item, took a gamble on it for $6.
    It’s not the strongest of metal… had to put edges on each part.Used it a few times… works ok…
    Through it all, I love my Estwings… 30 years and still intact… only $1 per ounce.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      I have one of those somewhere and it’s better than nothing; but, keeping the axe blade sharp is tough, at least on mine due to the cheap steel.
      However, for the price it’s not a bad tool to have around in the pile.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Chloe: I have my Estwing drywall hammer now. I smoothed out the blade on the belt sander and polished it on my ‘KenOnion’ tool… If I drive, it goes along.

      • Thomas The Tinker says:

        Chloe… I sent my Daughter down to the gulf with one of those. Older .. wooded handle. She used it well and brought it back beat to H – – l. I refinished it for her and she still has it.

  12. Worked construction and fabrication, have many diff flavor’s of hammer’s. From newer wonder hammer’s to dad’s 1940’s era stacked leather handled estwing that he apprenticed with after WWII. Estwing tools are about as fail safe as you can get, absolutely fantastic!

  13. Ronald Beal says:

    My first employer reminded me:
    “There is a better way to do it, find it! ”
    Start fresh: A new ‘claw’ hammer of your choosing; a new pair of leather work-farm- gloves that fit and have a wrist band that will tighten. Try on the gloves- if they fit, good. Place the hammer in the gloved hand, identify where it feels the best, most comfortable. Wearing the glove, mark the edges of the hammer handle on the palm of the glove. Remove the hammer; cover the entire hammer handle outline of the glove with a super, water-proof adhesive; Extend the glue to include the inside of the fingers that will come in contact with the handle. Be sure the area and fingers are covered in the glue. Place the handle back onto the glove and wrap your fingers around the handle tightly. After a minute or two, remove your hand from the glove. Put the glove away, allowing it to dry and seal completely. Now you have a perfect weapon which you will never drop and which will never be taken or torn from your hand.

  14. Chuck Findlay says:

    For the most part and for most people a hammer is a hammer, they all do the same thing.

    To a tool person there are different hammers, but to most people it’s just a hammer…

    I do have more then a few hammers (at least 25 or so) but I’m a tool guy and make a good living with my tools.

    • Chuck:

      I used to be one of those “a hammer is a hammer” people. Then one day they build a big Eagle Hardware in Hawaii. I was walking around and they had an 8′ section of just hammers. I’d never seen more that 5-6 at a time. Quite an eye opener.

  15. Anyone can pick up an extra clawhammer & other tools at your local pawn store – usually inexpensively.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      RedC: I love a pawn shop. I look for older tools and a .. few other things… but I’ve bought my share of old hardwood handled hardware. Pull the handles when I can.. rasp, sand, polish, stain and oil.. new wedge or re-wrap the handles. I have the same addiction with old wooden ball bats. One of these days I’m going to find one of those Stelettos or Douglas irons…

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        TTT I was saddened to see Standard Loan pawn shop on Monroe close a few months ago. I was a regular there, I bought a lot of tools there. Not any pawn shops in the city that even comes close to it.

        • Thomas The Tinker says:

          Did you know the late owner of that shop was a master violin maker? My sister, who plays the violin, and I would drop in and sit and listen to him spin tales and strum his work. You could see his patterns hanging in the shop window on the left side. As a teen he was awarded a Stradavarious (SP?) for his work and his talent with the instrument. He sold it during the depression to eat and only had the letters and photos to remember it by. He was a good soul and was working on his back orders to the end. He lived up off Glenwood in the olde west end and hosted the weekly classical jam there. I agree… the Era of the dusty, cluttered pawn shop are over in North West Ohio.

  16. I too, love hammers and looks like I’m in good company here.
    From Thrift-store finds to garage sales, old house clean-outs to construction site left behinds.
    I’ve acquired a number of different hammers for different needs as well.
    Besides those mentioned in the article (Good job, Thomas!) and above comments, I like the old roofing hatchet/hammer as a good multi-tool. A very old one is still used to split kenneling by my big woodstove.
    I’ve collected different hammers to use for blacksmithing only.
    A stubby handled 4-lb. hammer I’ve nick-named “Influence” to use on stubborn tasks is always a great hammer.
    But my favorite is the Estwing 28-oz framing hammer left in the attic by roofers of the last house we sold in Kansas-City before moving to Tennessee.
    I tried to contact the contracting company to come get their bag of tools left behind, and was informed to just “Keep them” as they were too busy to swing by anytime soon.
    Yes, I love hammers!
    As a saying I use at work and a joke with my DW,
    ” When you are a Hammer, EVERYTHING looks like a nail ! ”
    Again. Good job, Thomas.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Yaknow Richard … MD! yooooo MD! I here by commit to award the next winner of MD’s article contest with their choice of an Estwing Framming hammer…. 22oz. or 28oz. or drywall hammer. I’ll let MD handle the ‘gettogether’ on where to ship it!

  17. My hammer shoots lightning and makes thunder. Lol

  18. I’m a bit of a tool nut too if I find an excuse to buy a tool I will. My excuses range from price is right to I need that for a job I’m working on. Or it looks cool or I want it. Pretty much any excuse will do my favorite is I have extra money. I am a jack of all trades and have tools for most basic tasks. I believe I have 14 hammers of various types including a Masons hammer. Claw hammers ranging from 12 oz tack to 22oz framer ball peens ranging from 8 to 32 oz rubber mallet and sledge hammers ranging from 2lbs to 10lbs I have been working on learning blacksmithing. And working on an electrical apprenticeship. Sometimes I feel like I have to many irons in the fire but it never hurts to know how to do something. And there is a certain pride and sense of satisfaction gained in doing things for yourself

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      You got me thinking in philosophical ways… I don’t fool myself any longer thinking I must find a reason.. rationalization… to take a tool home. Not saying you do either… I see a hand tool and It demands I find out something about why it was developed.. what early versions looked like .. got enough of those to know a little .. New tool.. Nawh… new veriation of an old one. Of all the evidence of our existence, it is the tools we humans have made that stand out. Pots, bones, jewelry… all those things we see on display are only as possible as the ‘tools’ used to make them or defend the owners.

      I go to an estate sale or a gun show and find that old Stiltson wrench with a nicked up handle and the back side pounded off and smooth.. but a smooth oiled action.. I walked through the gun show last month and find a pile of old blades and dig out an old Case Seaman’s blade or a K-bar in it’s last owners modified sheath. You know by looking that it was used a lifetime.. cared for.. enough to still be usable and valued. Like an old dog, it deserves a place and, like any tool, it deserves to be used. Oddly.. I have the first hammer I ever bought. A Klien Electricians hammer .. the first crescent wrench .. also a klien.. On the wall to my left is a shadow box with a picture of my Dad.. his 1932 L.A. Hack license cap badge.. and the screw driver he used at Lockheed Aircraft from 1940 to 1963.

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