In 2010 Honeywell, the American multinational conglomerate, made one of its best business decisions. They acquired the French firm Sperian Protection, thus adding to the portfolio of Honeywell superiority an amazingly designed and constructed set of eye protection, Uvex Safety Goggles.
Tough enough for the professional, inexpensive enough for Harry Homeowner, Uvex Stealth go into every house-warming gift I give, a stocking stuffer at Christmas, and an anytime gift for the masses of kids in our extended family. Mud-flinging games, Tinker-Toy battles, tobogganing with reckless abandon, favorite kiddie pastimes made more safe with Uvex.
Digging out a crusty wall to expose fractured cast iron pipe, dropping a weak ceiling, Estwing demolition or Craftsman grinding, none would be complete without Uvex safety gear. After all, we live by the motto – and Rule #3 of Plumbing:
Safety Is Not An Accident
Along with North respirators & Hoppes ear protection, a trilogy of safety always with me. This bag of protection with spares, easy to store and carry, treated with as much importance as any tool in the box. Replacement Uvex lenses always available, new eyes, not so much …
An opportunity to present a housewarming gift came up. It turned into a bit of a head scratcher, though. Casserole dish? Toaster? Bath towels? Not really. What do you give someone who has everything they need?
Something I’d love to have myself, naturally. New house means new picture hooks to install. Paint cans to tap shut. Shelves to knock together, perhaps. Estwing has the perfect gift. A 12 ounce hammer with leather grip. The same hammer we pictured in our Executive Tool Bag.
She’ll have this hammer for forty years. Her daughter’s daughter will have it a lifetime as well. Assuming none of the kids loses it at college or a camping trip.
WITH TYPICAL AMERICAN frenzy for planning, annually our offices are inundated with frantic emails from those seeking the perfect Fathers Day gift. “What do we get our Dad / Brother / Uncle? He’s very particular!”
In the course of researching domestic production tools, I’ve developed fondness to a particular few, which I own, use, and recommend. This publication’s weekly contribution offers what I consider to be a perfect gift. One that will last decades of normal residential use. Even heavy use and moderate abuse.
Hammer, screwdriver, & pliers. All in a tidy zippered bag. About $100.
Estwing E12S 12oz Straight Claw Hammer with Leather Grip
Klein Tools #32557 Heavy Duty Multi-Bit Screwdriver/Nut Driver
Channellock 430 10-Inch Tongue and Groove Plier
Klein Tools 5139L Top-Grain Leather Zipper Bag
About the time of my first Red Wings, I watched a chain-smoking Master Plumber mucking around half a dozen feet below the sidewalk. He was looking for a pipe. Everything in the hole looked the same to me. My first lesson in plumbing: the most important thing is knowing what you are looking at.
After a bit, he asks for a hammer. Naturally, I cross-examine him while he’s ankle-deep in mud, dirt dropping down his trousers, knees caked solid with clay. No, a hammer is what he wants. Really.
I went on to discover there are 20 ways to swing a hammer, at least. On that day, the plumber scraped compacted soil with the straight claw from under and around a leaking water service. I’d seen him break the bell of one piece of cast iron soil pipe while leaving an adjacent piece whole. Nailing? Almost never, in our trade. But I did learn the difference between tapping and smashing!
The Code Book calls for an 8 ounce ball peen hammer for caulking lead joints. Sorry, every tool has to multi-task. You can hold a 22 oz. hammer further up the shaft to reduce a swing’s force, something Galileo famously observed in 1582 – which led to his forgotten pendulum theory.
In a hurry to expose a leaking pipe behind a plaster wall? One can operate the hammer with both hand, punching a clean line through sheet rock with the claw, like a sewing machine. Not exactly like a sewing machine, but that is a similar image.
The pictured framing hammers? One is an Estwing E3-20SM. I’ve had it 20+ years. 13 ½” length, 28 oz overall weight, but called a 20 ounce hammer. (The other, a similar 22 ounce model). This is the perfect hammer to buy your favorite tradesman. Or an accomplished do-it-yourselfer as a supplementary wedding present. He/she may have it forever.
I could write 2,000 words on the various uses of a hammer. Hammering, prying, digging, cracking, slicing, driving, chiseling, cutting, pulverizing. From tapping the handle off a fine china teacup to knocking the lock off a security door without breaking the glass. It’s all in how you swing the hammer.