The Halder drop mallet is a handleless dead blow mallet. It doesn’t rebound, and features replaceable nylon heads at both ends. The striking faces are wear-resistant and said to be splinter-proof, even in freezing temperatures.
Halder says that the drop mallet allows for gentle work with low noise and minimal force, and I tend to agree. In my experience, hammers or mallets designed like this, where the head is also the handle, allow for greater control and can also be used in more compact spaces.
No, you won’t get the same level of striking power as with a traditional hammer or mallet, but you gain finesse.
The Halder drop mallets are available in different sizes, with diameters from ~3/4″ to 2″ wide and lengths of ~6-6.5″.
Following is a table of the different sizes and weights. The model numbers link to KC Tool purchase pages for convenience, since they carry the full line. (Use coupon TOOLGUYD4LIFE to save 10%).
Replacement inserts are also available.
I’ve been exploring Halder’s Simplex mallets, meaning I ordered way too many of their non-marring and dead-blow mallets to get a feel for the brand, and have been quite pleased so far.
I have been searching for a good alternative to Nupla’s Handi-Hammer handleless dead blow hammer, given how hard it has become to find, and I believe Halder’s drop mallets could serve this role. It’s also possible I’ll like them better than the Nupla, but it’ll take some time to tell.
While the Nupla has a steel face and a rubber face, the Halder have two hard nylon faces, and as mentioned they’re replaceable. I suppose that’s a fair compromise.
Pricing ranges from $24 and up (before coupon). The dead blow mallets are said to be made in Germany.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via KC Tool
At the time of this posting, many of the sizes are backordered, but with fairly quick estimated ship times.
Have you ever used a tape measure, screwdriver handle, or pliers to pound on anything? That’s the type of application where handleless hammers come in handy, at the least.
Given the length of these tools, I think that the 30mm (1.18″) version (~$25 via Amazon, ~$24 via KC Tool after coupon) might be a good middle ground starting point, or maybe the 25mm (0.98″) size. This is approximately the width of Surefire and other brands’ tactical flashlights.
(Side note – I’ll be ordering a sample from KC Tool. They’ve got free shipping on $75 – are there any other tools you’d like me to consider purchasing for review?)
What is a dead blow hammer? Dead blow hammers or mallets, handle or not, feature hollow cavities that are filled with sand, shot, or sliding weights. When you strike a target with such a tool, it does not rebound or bounce back in the same way as other hammers or rubber mallets, which can allow for quicker and more comfortable work. Read More: Intro to Dead Blow Hammers
I’ve got the Nupla – it’s neat. I don’t find myself using it very often though. Usually a small deadblow with a handle works fine most of the time. That’s not a criticism of the tool though.
Nylon actually seems better for most of the applications where I would use it. E.g. It can be nice for tapping a bolt out of a hole when you don’t want to damage the threads.
These are pretty cool. Basically the standard German style of all steel Deadblow hammer like Wiha and Gedore also have, but without the handle. I assume they take the same types of replaceable faces too.
I doubt I’d get enough use out of these to warrant buying one but I’m glad to know they exist. My go-to when I want to gently tap something is just to use a smaller deadblow, or to use the butt end of the hammer handle. I also have a variety of drift bars lying around the shop in various materials (Brass, steel, delrin, etc.) and those are handy for tapping things out on their own without a hammer.
The replacement faces have specific model numbers.
For instance, replacement faces for 3408.030 are 3508.030. Halder has two separate product pages, one that describes the replacement face as for the drop mallet, and another that describes it as a replacement for their Supercraft dead blow hammers. Thus, it *should* be the same style as for their other dead blow hammers.
Halder also has 3 size of “steel punches” with nylon inserts, and they appear to be drift bars that are narrower and slightly longer than these dead blows.
Oh nice, I’ve had the 14oz Nupla for a number of years but could never find the 10oz when I was looking.
I wouldn’t mind something smaller, and some of these really tiny ones could be oddly useful in niche circumstances. Will have to save some of these for later.
The 10oz. Nupla Thumper that I have was Part # 10-004 – UPC 738501100041.
It was bought in 1999 for $6.50
Searching online for that part number and UPC yield no result – so maybe its is no longer made.
For the rest of the KC Tool order, maybe you could add 2 Knipex TwinGrip pliers. I guess there’s been a few quality control issues, and I’d be interested in the ones you get and if they differ from each other or the pictures. If they’re all good, a review would be nice, especially since you like the Vampliers and Engineer pliers. Thanks!
I already have 3.
One of each style that I purchased, and one that I received in a press kit.
I’ll have to check my latest one. I saw one instance online of what looked to be a forging defect, but I haven’t heard about other quality control issues beyond that.
The forging issue was the most recent one- the only other one I know of was a centering issue, where if you look at the side of the jaws straight on, they were shifted to the right or left, thinning one side much more than the other. Actually, the one that broke had that issue, and it did break on the thinner side. I’d be interested to hear if any of yours have the same issue, and just a general performance review otherwise. Thanks!
I have a two which I bought from Harry J Epstein, they’re just the basic dipped handles. When I look at mine “head on” there is a bit of a centering issue, one of the jaws looks slightly thinner than the other. It’s enough that I noticed it but it’s not enough to worry me, I had just assumed it was a normal production variation, I didn’t know this was a widely reported issue. Both of mine have it.
I gave my initial thoughts in the original thread on this site down near the end of the comments section:
Since then I’ve used them for various auto work projects. They make excellent hose clamp pliers, both for the flat and round-wire style of spring hose clamps. There are some small notches in the jaws near the tips which are great for grabbing spring type clamps in narrow spots, I found these very useful when replacing the thermostat housing in a 4.0L Ford V6, there are a lot of clamps and hoses which need to be removed in tight quarters and these pliers worked great.
They’re pretty bad for pulling small cotter pins because you naturally want to grip in the center of the jaws, but that’s where these pliers have a longitudinal groove, but if the cotter pin is big enough that the groove will grab it? Now we’re talking.
I had to help fix a crusty old cement mixer, the nuts I had to remove had rusted to the point that the proper size socket didn’t fit so I gave these a whirl after soaking with some penetrating oil. The teeth bit right through the rust and held tight. I’m very happy with them so far.
It’s nice to hear that they’re working so well for you! I guess the centering issue is a known issue now, but the ones with problems are the most vocal, so take it with a grain of salt. They sound like pretty much what I expected them to be, which is good. Out of curiosity, would you mind measuring what the total thickness is at the head adjustment button? Thanks very much!
I measure .566″ (14.4mm) thick at the button, which is the thickest part of the whole head.
It’d be really nice if someone made one of these with a removable handle. A threaded handle should give you the best of both worlds. Does anyone make one like that?
Threaded might not be the best choice due to vibrations.
Plus, anything other than a cylindrical or otherwise plain shape would affect the handle-free hand grip.
When I was in college a student project we had to do for a machining class was to make a brass hammer with an aluminum handle. The handled threaded into the head. The point of the exercise was to learn the various machining steps, i.e. turning the handle on the lathe, single-point cutting the threads, knurling the grip, etc. The head was mainly cylindrical but had one hex face which required milling, and then drilling & tapping the hole for the handle to fit.
As far as practical use this was terrible, however. Even if you soaked the threads in red loctite the heads would come loose before long; they had to be pinned in order to be usable.
Koko The Talking Ape
There are brass mallets with threaded wood handles. But the head is just a short cylinder, with the handle entering on a round end, not like a regular hammer. So they’d be hard to use without the handle.
Are there non deadblow variants of handleless hammers? I am honestly considering a 1lb dumbbell.
Not that I’ve seen.
Double-checking, McMaster carries two sizes of plastic palm grip hammers. https://www.mcmaster.com/mallets/palm-grip-hammers-6/
I may try to make one of these. Some steel tube or thick wall pvc. Some buck shot. Hmm….
Matt the Hoople
Great idea!! I would like one with a steel face to keep in the kitchen drawer for small nails whenever my wife needs a picture hung. . 4 or 6 inch pipe Nipple and two pipe caps. Might face off the caps to make smooth. One steel and one brass maybe. Or drill/tap one cap and thread on a standard plastic mallet face on one side.
Koko The Talking Ape
That’s exactly what Im going to do, except I might skip the brass cap. They’re expensive, and whatever would be marred by iron would likely be marred by brass too.
But I was looking for replacement mallet heads, and they all seem to use metric threads. Have you seen any that use imperial?
Maybe I’ll just have to glue on a disk of leather or something.
Koko The Talking Ape
Aha, Lixie on Amazon has heads with imperial threads.
Many of them just snap into a hole. That’s the way these work, same as for the Halder, Wiha, and Gedore (probably other) deadblow hammers with handles too.
I too have a Nupla 10oz. “Thumper”
There are other un-handled hammers too like what called fitters hammers. They come in different weights – but are not deadblow. Here are links to ones made by C.S. Osborne in the USA :
Koko The Talking Ape
Thanks! I’ve been looking for these.
Small dead-blow mallets are just the thing for easing together dovetails and other tight joints.
Koko The Talking Ape
Not to look a gift horse, etc., but I wish these had a little more texture on the barrel, for a more secure grip. And the nylon caps could be hexagonal, so it wouldn’t roll around on the bench.
But I guess it would be easy to wrap the barrel with silicone tape, and maybe drive a short screw into the side of a nylon cap.
Whenever I remove nails, screws or any kind of an anchor from drywall to prep for painting, I usually use the blunt end of a screwdriver to tappy tap tap where the hole is, to indent it a bit for smoother filling with compound. It would be nice to find one of these with a convex shaped striking head…maybe about 3/4” diameter for such a job.
I use the handle end of my drywall knife for that task, but many of the steel-capped “demolition screwdrivers” look like they have a suitable radius on the end of their handle too.