For 150 years and five generations Vaughan has been hand-making high-quality hammers and hand tools in its factory in Illinois, USA.
The Vaughan brand, known for its quality, is now the largest manufacturer of striking tools in the world. In fact, many of what are now accepted as basic hammer designs, from the distinctive curve of the claw to the set of the handle and shape of the head, were just a few of the innovations introduced by Vaughan. What makes a Vaughan such a good hammer?
We got hold of a few Vaughan solid-steel hammers, so let’s take a look.
Test #1: It’s All In The Swing. Recoil, Vibration And Ergos
When a hammer has good balance, it seems to swing itself. Good balance results in less stress on muscles and tendons, with the hammer doing the work, not the person swinging it.
So firstly, we checked this out, and the Vaughan hammers felt great. The comfortable PVC grip moulds nicely to the hand and, most importantly, the hammer is very well balanced and comfortable to swing.
We tested the recoil and vibration with some large 150mm x 6.5mm gal nails into some LVL.
The 20oz, 24oz and the extra-long-handled 28oz Vaughan hammers were ready for the challenge. Hit after hit there was epic striking force, but the best bit was the amount of shock the hammers soaked up. Vaughan has a patented Shock Blok technology, a piece of hickory and rubber inserted into the head of the hammer, and it was nothing like I’d seen in a hammer before. It did the trick, with little recoil coming up into the arm. The rest of the vibration got absorbed by the hammer’s unique air-cushioned grip. Even when using the Club hammer with hardened chisel bits, the shock was soaked up nicely.
Test #2: Head To Head
We got hold of a market-leading competitor’s solid-steel hammer to test out the two 24oz hammers side by side for vibration, strike, balance and cost.
- Triple zone heat treating
- Correct hardness for the job
- Double bevel claw
- Properly crowned striking face
Although the leading competitor’s hammer was very nice to use, swung well, was balanced and controlled shock, the Vaughan just seemed to have the edge. Its slightly longer handle gave a better swing and more leverage with the claw. The shock absorption felt slightly better on the Vaughan, too. Honestly, they were pretty close in all aspects, except for one very important area where the two were miles apart: price. The Vaughan was roughly 40% cheaper than its competitor.
So not only did I find it the more enjoyable hammer to use, it was a lot better on the hip pocket too. That’s where the Vaughan is the absolute, standout winner.
- Made in the USA
- 150-year heritage
- Fully forged, solid-steel hammers
- Shock Blok technology
The Good The Bad And The Ugly
For the price you get one seriously good American-made hammer. It’s extremely well crafted by a company that has been making hammers for over 150 years.
They are still to this day handmade, using fully forged solid steel which goes through a secret heat-treating process (triple zone) that gives the ideal hardness for different parts of the hammer. That means the strike face, claw and eye each have precisely the right hardness and toughness for the different jobs they must do. The Club hammer has also been precisely hardened to hit other hardened steel objects. What does this mean to you? It’s a hammer that will last as long as what you’re building.
Everything from the double bevelled claws to the properly crowned striking face has been correctly designed and manufactured and have been a favourite for many trades over the years.
With its great history and commitment to creating a better hammer and tools, Vaughan is here to stay, hopefully for another 150 years. Any wonder’s the largest manufacturer of striking tools in the world.