When it comes to ball pein hammers, I’ve always preferred wooden handles. I’ve used metal and fiberglass, and while there are advantages to them, nothing beats the feel and shock absorption of a good ‘ol hickory handle. We’ve all been there, pounding on the head of an old wooden handled hammer trying to get it on good enough to keep it from flying off on impact, or swinging a little long and watching the handle snap off. It’s for these reasons I occasionally get the notion to try something different. Try as I might, I never much cared for the feel of a fiberglass handle, and a solid metal hammer can sometimes rattle your teeth. This all lead me to believe that there was clearly no such thing as a perfect hammer.
A year or so back I invested in a set of wooden handled Proto ball pein’s. They are nice hammers and I was perfectly content with them….and then I saw these
“Anti-Vibe” technology isn’t exactly new to the Stanley/Proto family. Stanley branded “Anti-Vibe” claw hammers have been around awhile, and while they’ve received very positive reviews, I was well aware of the difference between driving nails in wood, and the heavy duty, metal on metal, applications that I typically use ball pein’s for. Clearly this was a case of proven technology in an unproven application.
So what is “Anti-Vibe” technology? It’s actually a more complex system than you might think. Proto combines a shock dampening core material, a system of 24 torque stabilizing bars, and a patented tuning fork style handle ending, to reduce vibration before it finds it’s way to your hand. At this point, a stronger individual would probably dissect the handle to show you this technology. I lack the nerve and disregard for quality tools to do such a thing. I instead offer you this illustration and pray that you will find it sufficient to satisfy your curiosity
So does it work? To find out I armed myself with a 12 oz. “Anti-Vibe”, a 12 oz. wooden handled Proto model, and set out in search of the answer. Lacking any type of scientific measurement equipment and having no clue where to obtain the use of any, I spent about 2 hours walking around pounding on just about every suitable test specimen I could find and doing so with each model. I chiseled the heads of grade 5 bolts, shaped thin gauge metal on a vise anvil, split some bricks with a masonry chisel, drove concrete nails, and even tapped the clevis pins out of the deck hanger on my tractor. I also used the 48 oz. model to bust up an old steel door and while this didn’t provide much relevant test information, it was great fun. After all this I felt confident I had my answer.
How do the “Anti-Vibe” models compare to the previous models? The “Anti-Vibe” design is slightly more compact. For example, the 12 oz. “Anti-Vibe” measures 12-1?8″ long compared to 12-5?8″ on the wooden handled model. In regards to the head of the hammer, the “Anti-Vibe” is again more compact than it’s predecessor at 3.51″ compared to 3.97″. It certainly isn’t a huge difference, but in a tight spot, every little bit helps. The slip resistant, rubber, grip, feels very nice in your hand and feels much more secure with greasy or oily hands than the slick wooden handles. The balance of the AV’s is fantastic! The balance point is around 3?4″ of the way up the handle versus much a much further point on the previous model. I admit the wooden handled model was at a bit of a disadvantage for this particular test, but hey, balance is balance.
Ascetically speaking, the AV’s are pretty damn nice looking hammers. That may not appeal to everyone, but for those of you who care about how your hammer looks, these are the “new Corvette” of ball pein hammers.
In a world accustomed to miracle cures, solutions, and other useless junk peddled through clever marketing and advertising hype, it would come as no surprise if this were yet another example of a company making “much ado about nothing”. Rest assured that is not the case here! These hammers are the real deal. They look awesome, they feel awesome, and they perform awesomely. The “Anti-Vibe” system delivers the strength and durability of a steel hammer, with vibration control equal to, or greater than, traditional hickory handled hammers. Available in 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 40, and 48 oz. versions, Proto has an “Anti-Vibe” ball pein for virtually every job. I’m not sure what more you could want in a ball pein hammer, but for my money, they just might be the perfect hammer.