This hammer could be better, but with a little work it'll be fine.

  • Advertise with us
Review by PioneerRob posted 10-29-2014 02:33 PM 5720 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
This hammer could be better, but with a little work it'll be fine. This hammer could be better, but with a little work it'll be fine. This hammer could be better, but with a little work it'll be fine. Click the pictures to enlarge them

10-1/2 oz Warrington Pattern Hammer from Lee Valley

My hammer collection has historically been limited to 20oz claw hammer and a couple of ball peens. My wife bought the claw hammer for my birthday early on in our marriage. The message was clear, “build me a house or break your thumbs trying”. Well, the 100 year old house I bought 15 years ago is barely “(re)built”, but I did manage to help bring our 3 kids into the world during that time. I think that counts for something, even if I didn’t use the claw hammer (much). I find the claw hammer too big for wood working so I use the ball peens. But they’re too big or small, and the little one has a loose head. It’s about time I treat myself to a new hammer.

After some research, a lot of it here at Lumberjocks, I decided on the 10-1/2 oz Warrington pattern hammer from Lee Valley.

Well, I was surprisingly disappoint in it. It’s a hammer, how can I be disappointed? Well, firstly the handle finish is terrible, some kind of uneven plasticy feeling goop. But worse the head was loose. When I bought the hammer I noted to the clerk that it was loose, and he brought out a half a dozen to try. They were all loose to some degree. I figured that I could tighten it and it’d be great. Hmmm…

Soon after the hammer was home and getting to know the other hammers I striped the finish with Circa 1850, and polished it with steel wool. I finished it simply with paste wax. It’s a weird wood, I’ve never seen it before.

Now it feeling great, but that loose head was driving me nuts. No matter how much I tightened it, it would be loose.

So, I disassembled the hammer. It turns out that the main problem with the loose head appears to be a casting problem, where there is a substantial burr around the lip of the eye. This burr was cutting into the handle and splitting it; and, the more I was tightening the head the more the burr broke the handle and loosened it. So, I removed the handle, filed the burr down smooth, and cut and refit the handle. TODO: make a new handle.

After the fixes the hammer has become my goto hammer. It performs, well, like a hammer.

-- Rob, Ontario

View PioneerRob's profile


47 posts in 2850 days

8 comments so far

View OhioMike's profile


89 posts in 3400 days

#1 posted 10-29-2014 03:16 PM

Thanks for the review. I bought one of these a year ago and had the same problem. I called Lee Valley and they sent a replacement right away and it had a loose head as well.

They offered me a refund but I chose to keep the hammer and make a new handle instead. I’ve not gotten around to fixing it yet and now that I’ve read your review, I know what to look for when I do.

Kinda strange that a company with Lee Valley’s excellent reputation is still selling these defective hammers a year later.


View PioneerRob's profile


47 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 10-29-2014 06:51 PM

Yeah, I think it’s strange too. I’ve never bought anything from Lee Valley that I wouldn’t give at least a 4/5.

Good luck with the fix.

-- Rob, Ontario

View CharlesA's profile


3468 posts in 3035 days

#3 posted 10-29-2014 06:56 PM

2 stars may be generous for a very simple tool that you had to dissemble, modify the metal part, and then eventually make an entirely new handle for. Especially at a not so cheap $30.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View PioneerRob's profile


47 posts in 2850 days

#4 posted 10-29-2014 07:05 PM

@CharlesA. You might be looking at the Stanley Warrington for $30, I got the Forged Cabinetmaker’s Hammer for $14.50. That aside, you’re still right 2 is generous. I’m an easy marker though.

-- Rob, Ontario

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 4018 days

#5 posted 10-29-2014 10:36 PM

No issues with mine other than the loosening, a dab of Chairlock and done, something to be expected with
wood handles from far off lands with higher humidity.
Now as far as the British Stanley Warrington I bought.. SHEESH..uneven casting, rough casting..oval rather than round face, the cross peene was brutal..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Andre's profile


4733 posts in 3044 days

#6 posted 10-29-2014 11:45 PM

Bought mine last year and was and still is perfect! I found it was still a little big for some stuff and ended up picking up a Lie Nielson tack hammer at a Show last year in Vancouver, didn’t pay to much attention to the price as I saw $35.00 added to my shopping list along with a rabbit plane and some other goodies, thought the price was kind of steep but with B.C. s taxes but did not question it. Free delivery was included so when order showed up found out it was $85 not $35, Wifey not to pleased! It is a very nice “little” hammer though! Looks real pretty on the shelf.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4242 days

#7 posted 10-30-2014 11:22 PM

Things like this come up from tme to time, you were able to resolve it.

rad457 – were able to see why it was 85 verses the 35 bucks

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View rkk's profile


4 posts in 2862 days

#8 posted 11-02-2014 09:45 PM

I have the same hammer and its head is also loose. How did you remove the handle? Were you able to reuse the handle as is or did you have to refit it after removing?


Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics