Leatherworking involves a lot of tools used for different kinds of projects. One tool that a leatherworker cannot go without is a hammer which is the main tool in dealing with holes, stamps, and tooling. Even experienced leathercrafters will agree that no one hammer fits all types of leatherwork.
In this article, I will talk about the best hammers to use in leatherworking and their costs. I will also discuss the pros and cons of each hammer. I also listed down five other high-quality and budget-friendly hammers you can purchase for your lightweight leatherwork.
- Hammers for Different Leather Work Processes
- Budget-Friendly Lightweight Leather Hammers
Hammers for Different Leather Work Processes
Mauls, mallets, and hammers are used in different leatherworking processes such as upholstery, shoemaking, tooling, stamping, and stitching. Knowing the variety of hammers and their specific uses will help you achieve your desired outcome. Here are the best hammers in the market for your leather projects.
Mauls: Weighted Tooling
Mauls are hitting tools with a weighted head that is used for weighted tooling. Its head is made of nylon, a soft material that is ideal for hitting tools without damaging both the leather and the tools.
Barry King Poly Head Maul
Barry King Poly Head Maul comes from the House of Barry King, a company that produces quality leather tools. This maul ranges from $69.99 up to $79.99 depending on the size.
Made from high-quality materials, this is described by leatherworkers as a finely designed hammer. The handle is covered by smooth veg-tanned leather that is comfortable to the hand and supports a firm grip. For the body, a steel core material is used to make it durable and withstand numerous pounding activities, and a brass end nut holds it firmly in place.
Used for tapping, tooling, and carving, the maul is available in different weights such as 16, 24, and 32 ounces. The 16-ounce maul has a tapered head allowing the leatherworker to rest their elbow on the table while tapping. A 24 ounce is the right weight set stamps making deep prints on leather, and the 32-ounce is for heavier leathers.
Although it is a great hammer, some beginners find it heavy to use and expensive for just a piece of tool, but this maul is worth every dollar for the experienced ones.
Tandy Leather Craftool Poly Maul
Another popular maul in the leathercraft industry is the Craftool Poly Maul by Tandy Leather, which is great for a hobby leatherworker. It costs $29.99, a lot cheaper than Barry King’s.
Tandy’s maul is for effortless stamping and punching, carving, and beveling. The maul is durable and stable. It exhibits minimal bounce, having a tapered head that lines up perfectly for hitting tools.
The contoured handle is comfortable to hold and designed with a shock control, preventing hand fatigue. As a trusted brand, this maul may last up to 30 years of use. The maul’s solid and light characteristic provides ease of use.
It is considered an expensive hammer, but reviews prove that it is the right tool for the price.
Mallets: Lightweight Fine Tooling and Stamping
Mallets, either made of plastic or rawhide, are used for striking tools in fine tooling and stamping processes. It has a large cylindrical head and a lightweight composition.
Wood is Good 18-Ounce Mallet
Wood is Good mallet has a head made from rigid urethane material, which is ideal for hitting. It works well with a chisel in punching leather holes and a simple carving of a leather design. This product costs $41.58.
The weighted mallet head does all the job in tooling and will only require gentle tapping to make a print on the leather. The hammerhead doesn’t leave marks or damage tools. You can also use this to punch holes in cowhide and wool leathers that are known to be the thick type.
The head material is designed for quiet yet maximum striking efficiency. It is also shock absorbent and easy to swing. The mallet is light enough for chisel works but can also cater to heavy leatherwork.
Some reviews say that the wooden handle cracks easily, but the overall performance of this mallet is remarkable.
Size-4 Garland Rawhide Mallet
Rawhide mallets are known to be durable and last a long time without quickly wearing out. Garland Rawhide Mallet is made from buffalo rawhide, a premium material for wood hammers.
It weighs about 11.2 ounces and costs $40.26, with a wide range of use in leatherworking.
Being a lightweight hammer doesn’t limit the rawhide mallet from doing different tasks in leatherworking. It serves for tooling thick and thin leathers, detailed leatherwork, and working with small pieces of leather products providing accuracy to hit where you intend to.
The high price equals its quality material composition. However, some reviewers believe that this mallet is too small and not fit for other heavy-duty leatherwork.
Tack Hammer: Upholstery Leather Work
Tack Hammers are made for upholstery leatherwork to produce various types of furniture and cover interiors. These are thin hammers that reach small spaces and difficult to get areas.
C.S. Osborne #222 Magnetic Tack Hammer
The main feature of a C.S. Osborne Tack Hammer is its magnetic head that picks up nails and tacks easily. You can purchase this at Amazon for $33.69. Used for decorative nailing in leather upholstery, this hammer is made of a wooden handle and a steelhead and weighs 8.8 ounces. The magnetic hammerhead is responsible for driving nails, shaping out, and flattening leather. Despite its good features, users have reported that the magnetic tack wears out after a long time of use.
Estwing Sure Strike Tack Hammer
A cheaper choice is the Estwing Tack hammer that costs $7.97. It is made from a genuine hickory handle which is designed for firm grip and reasonable hand control. The forged steel head has maximum strength and durability for repeated pounding and lasts a long time.
The Estwing tack hammer is designed for striking chisels and punches. It is a hammer built for the pros being used by framers, roofers, carpenters, or even DIYers. The hammer also features a triple head construction which secures the head attachment to the handle.
On the other hand, this hammer doesn’t work well with rounded ends, and the sharp hammer edge tends to catch on things and rust easily over time.
Ball Peen Hammer: Flattening Stitch Lines
This type of hammers is commonly used in flattening stitches and smoothing out seams. They are also made for lightweight tapping on leather edges.
TEKTON Ball Peen Hammer
TEKTON Ball Peen Hammer comes in a set of four that costs $33.95. The number 1 bestseller ball peen hammer in Amazon comes in different weights ranging from 8 to 48 ounces. They are produced using a high-strength fiberglass handle that absorbs vibrations during striking and an exterior poly jacket that protects the handle core from missed strikes because of its non-slip grip. The hammerhead is a forged and polished steel that works best in hammering stitches.
TopBuilt 24 Ounce Ball Pein Hammer with Fiberglass Handle 25032
Another cheap buy is a TopBuilt Ball Pein Hammer costing $10. This hammer possesses superior strength and durability with its forged steelhead and fiberglass core. It also has an ergonomic, comfortable grip which is ideal for striking chisels and punches, riveting, shaping, and bending leathers. Some leatherworkers say that it exceeds expectations for a cheap hammer. The only downside is that the handle feels too light for control.
French Hammer: Shoemaker’s Hammer
French hammers are for saddle shoe work. It is used for driving tacks and nails and attaching the leather to the shoes’ sole. It also flattens seams in leather shoes.
C.S. Osborne 66 Cobblers Shoe Repair Hammer
Costing $29.75, C.S. Osborne Shoe Hammer is a price higher than the ordinary hammer of the same type. However, reviews reveal that it is always worth the price because of its materials. The rounded polished hammer face prevents any damage to the leather. C.S. Osborne Hammer is also famous for making belts, luggage, and the small leather goods industry.
Healifty Shoe Hammer
A lower price alternative is a Healifty Shoe Hammer which costs $16.99. This hammer is made from high-quality steel, which is impact and wear-resistant. Its handle is good fitting in the leatherworker’s hand, preventing any hammer slip. Healifty shoe hammers are lightweight and comfortable to the hands. Even so, some reviews say that they received a new product with a loose hammerhead.
Budget-Friendly Lightweight Leather Hammers
Here are some quality hammers for your lightweight leatherwork that are highly recommended by numerous leatherworkers.
Honbay Dual Head Nylon Rubber Hammer
This double-faced soft hammer is made of nylon and rubber that costs $8.59 only. You can shift from striking hard to soft surfaces. The nylon head is used for hitting hard surfaces, and the rubber head for working with fine leather. Honbay’s hammer does not damage tools because of its soft head. There are not so many tasks this hammer can do for a very lightweight hammer, and it is only specific for fine leather.
New Wooden Leathercraft Carving Hammer
It is the best choice for amateurs and hobby leatherworkers. It weighs 14.4 ounces and costs $13.99. The head is made from substantial nylon, which is suitable for punching stitch holes and stamping. Its small handle is very thick, easy to control, and prevents arm fatigue which is excellent for light tooling.
However, the hammer is not for heavy-duty leatherwork. The wooden handle tends to break easily, and the bolt that holds the hammer becomes very loose after continuous solid strikes.
In choosing the best hammer for your leather projects, a significant factor to consider is the ease of use. Think about the comfort it brings to your hands, assuming a long time of pounding. You might also need to consider the price but not neglect the hammer’s quality. In the end, it’s still your choice as to what hammer works best for you, price-wise and quality-wise.