Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Best New Tool: Fiskars IsoCore Hammers
Written by Roy Berendsohn
The IsoCore line takes sound engineering principles about how to dampen a shock wave and applies it to hammers—to great results.
I'm a low-tech kind of a guy when it comes to hammers, but I'm interested in Fiskars's IsoCore tools, hammers, mauls, and picks designed to reduce the vibration and shock you feel with every swing. If any other company had designed such a complex hammer, I probably wouldn't take it seriously. But Fiskars has a good track record over the last 20 years or so of taking a fresh look at hand tools and finding ways to improve to them. Its PowerGear loppers, pruners and shears changed my perception of what careful industrial design and mechanical engineering can do with these tools, many of which hadn't been improved on in a generation or more.
The IsoCore line takes already well understood mechanical engineering principles about how to dampen a shock wave and applies it to hammers. Whether it's a sound wave travelling through a wall or a shock wave propagating down the length of a hammer handle, the key is to disrupt the energy impulse and dampen it. You do that by redirecting its path and by channeling it through materials that dissipate its force. That explains both the unusual shape of the tool's head and the multi-layered design of the tool's handle, which uses steel and various types of polymers. Each feature plays a role in breaking down or isolating the shock wave that propagates through the handle after the head strikes a nail, a piece of wood or a piece of concrete.
Fiskars says its nail hammers have four times less vibration than a comparable wood-handled hammer. That's substantial less wear and tear on you after a day swinging a framing hammer, especially when doing remodeling work when you may be as likely to swing the tool claw first as you would head first.
The tools are just now making their way into distribution, both at Fiskars.com and through Ace and True Value hardware stores. Prices range from $45 to $60, for the nail hammers for example.
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