Vaughan is a well-regarded brand of hammers, pry bars, and other such tools, and I am especially fond of their USA-made wood-handled ball peen hammers.
Shown here is their 16oz ball peen hammer which, as of the time of this posting, retailers for just $15.
Oh, that’s right – a pro-grade USA-made ball peen hammer for just $15. I double-checked the price at a couple of retailers, as I didn’t believe it at first.
I bought my first Vaughan ball peen hammers a long time ago, and then I bought some more.
The 16oz, model TC016, is a great starting point.
After the 16oz hammer, my most-used sizes are 12oz, 24oz, and maybe 8oz – in that order.
I also bought other sizes, but don’t use them very often. If I lost the use of my 32oz ball peen, which I purchased on sale in 2008, I wouldn’t replace it today, at least not at its regular retail price.
For larger sizes, I generally prefer to grab a dead blow ball peen hammer, as they recoil less. Or, I might reach for a drilling hammer, will I have found provides better control.
I use the ball ends every so often, but my hammers’ flat faces see the most action. You can find hammers with dual flat faces – most notably dead blow-style.
Everyone’s needs and usage habits will vary, but ball peen hammers are generally used for striking hard metal tools or metal materials. I mainly use my ball peen hammers to strike center punches, pin punches, cold chisels, and other such tools, or to shape metal when needed.
You can use other hammers for this, of course, but ball peen hammers are specifically designed for these types of tasks. They have polished and bevel faces and are usually hardened in such a way to avoid chipping.
Claw hammer faces are engineered for driving nails into wood; ball peen hammer faces are engineered for hard metal contact.
A ball peen hammer can usually also fit in spaces too tight for other styles of hammers.
Vaughan has changed their hammer styling a little over the years, but mostly for branded purposes, such as with the rust-resistant blue paint on the non-working areas of the hammer heads.
I would absolutely buy Vaughan wood-handled ball peen hammers again, without hesitation. I have steel-handled and dead blow ball peen hammers too, but the Vaughan remain my precision workhorses.
I’d say that everyone needs at least a 16oz ball peen hammer in their tool kit.
While we’re on the subject, do you spell it as ball peen or ball pein? I was accustomed to ball pein, but apparently ball peen is the more common spelling. I’ve been forcing myself to change over, only to find that Vaughan spells it as ball pein. Next week’s discussion? Lineman’s vs linesman pliers.