Let’s hammer out ‘Happy Father’s Day’

  • By Jim Kjeldsen / Herald Columnist
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

Every year it’s the same dilemma: What to get Dad for Father’s Day.

There’s never any question of what to get Mom for Mother’s Day – flowers. The same reasoning holds that if Mom deserves a bouquet, Dad does, too. So, for a personal gift that will last and last, get him a bouquet as well – of hammers.

Not personal enough? Consider the anatomy of a hammer. The parts aren’t called “successive impact points” or “lateral ferrous metal flanges.”

They’re called cheek, head, throat, face, neck, eye and claw. That’s the making of an entire soap opera. Guys love their hammers or they wouldn’t call them by such endearing terms.

There are so many hammers extant in this world that, like flowers, there’s sure to be an assortment for every extant guy. There are nail hammers and rip hammers and finishing hammers and ball-peen hammers and drilling hammers and soft hammers and tack hammers and brick hammers and drywall hammers and the list goes on. If Dad is a computer geek who normally shuns hammers, get him a sledgehammer for that moment when he can’t take it anymore.

For the initiate, here are the universal archetypes of the hammered world:

Claw hammer: Also called the common hammer and the nail hammer, this is the hammer with no frills. There are endless variations on the theme, and each hammer has its own characteristics to get the job done a bit differently.

Rip hammer: Jack the Ripper may have had one of these. They go back a long way and are used for general carpentry work and other deviltry.

They usually have a more flattened claw than their commoner cousins for such things as ripping nails and bodies.

Finishing hammer: More of the above, but usually of a lighter weight so as not to crush the object of affection.

Ball-peen hammer: Regular hammer head on one side (as in hammerhead shark) and a rounded head on the other (as in hammerhead human). Used for center punching and softening up metal by bashing it repeatedly, like a crook on “Law &Order.”

Drilling hammer: Big and heavy, for bashing things such as masonry nails.

Soft-face hammer: For the sensitive guy, these are used for banging together furniture (gently) and setting dowels in place. No, not dolls … dowels. They’re not that sensitive.

Tack hammer: They often have a groove to hold the tack in place while aiming it at something, plus a magnetic end for retrieving ricocheting tacks.

Brick hammer: For smashing bricks. Doh.

Drywall hammer: For working with wallboard, used to make cutouts, set nails in the gypsum and other nonlethal work.

Mallets: The original hammers, these serve where other hammers would be like sending Hells Angels to a kindergarten picnic.

To assemble a hammer bouquet, simply gather some together and stick them heads up in a nice vase. Or bucket. Or a piece of drain pipe if Dad is the plumbing sort.

If plain old hammers won’t do the trick, try something that Dad can’t refuse.

For the technocrat, there’s the Stiletto TB15MC TiBone 15-ounce titanium, mill-faced hammer with curved handle (www.amazon.com). Dad may never use it. He may keep it on the mantel as a work of art.

For the ergonomically correct, try the Estwing weight-forward hammer with fiberglass handle shaped to deliver maximum power and efficiency and for high-lever nail-pulling power (www1.shopping.com). Warning: It looks like something that fell off the space station.

Finally, there’s the US Tape 69550 25-ounce PT-4S serrated face, axe-handle striker hammer (www.amazon.com). The name alone is enough to make Dad glad he has one.

For all the world’s other hammer variations, go to www.hammersource.com.

Jim Kjeldsen is a former assistant news editor at The Herald who now owns and operates La Conner Hardware Store in La Conner.

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