I heard about the Cole-Bar multi-function hammer back when they were seeking funding via Kickstarter, and opted not to post about it. They were on track to exceed their funding goals, and I wanted to see how things panned out.
Now, the Cole-Bar hammer is available for pre-order, with a shipping ETA of Q1 2014. With half the quarter already over, it means the Cole-Bar will probably ship any day now.
Read This First: Update: The Cole-Bar hammer has failed to launch
What Can the Cole-Bar Hammer Do?
Well, it’s a hammer. What size? We don’t know, the company never disclosed its weight. My guess is that it’s designed to swing like a 16-ounce claw hammer.
It also features a detachable pry bar that can be used independently of the hammer.
When attached, the pry bar can be folded out to any angle between 0° and 180°.
It also has a built-in 1/2″ square drive ratchet.
The ratchet’s gearing is what allows the pry bar to be positioned at different angles, so it is presumably going to very strong and robust.
As grabbed from their YouTube video, the Cole-Bar hammer can also be locked in at 90° and used as a quick square. The pry bar has an inch ruler scale, which allows for quick measurements as well.
The Cole-Bar hammer is described as being a hammer, crowbar, demolition tool, angle measurement tool, ruler, socket wrench, and nail pliers. Okay, so it’s a 7-in-1 multi-functional hammer.
This is a neat-looking tool, but I have a couple of hesitations. For the same $79, you could instead purchase a nailing or rip-claw hammer, pry bar, 1/2″ ratchet, square, pliers, and a short ruler.
Yes, hammers have been around for a while, but their designs have been finely tuned over the years. Even Dewalt’s MIG-welded hammers were recently improved upon. If Dewalt, with all of Stanley’s experience in designing and manufacturing hammers cannot get a new design perfect on the first try, I have little confidence that the Cole-Bar hammer will be perfect in its first iteration.
The Cole-Bar has more features than an ordinary hammer, but it as good when used for its primary function? Will it perform as well in its 7 main functions as separate tools?
In a recent Tools of the Trade post, David Frane says:
The prototype I saw was cleverly designed and well-made, and yet I have a hard time figuring out who would benefit by having such a hammer.
A lot of gear sites have nothing but praise for the Cole-Bar, and I cannot fault them for that. But while the Cole-Bar is undeniably cool-looking, it overall seems a little impractical for most types of professional and DIY users. If the Cole-Bar proves unsuitable for contractors and tradesmen, it might still be a good fit in the MRO market, where the hammer’s 7-in-1 functionality and small size would be a boon.