5 Best Blacksmithing Hammers for Beginners

Blacksmiths hammer on an anvil

5 Best Blacksmithing Hammers for Beginners

If you want to get started as a blacksmith – or are looking to take your craft more seriously – getting a good set of blacksmith hammers is essential. While not the most expensive investment you will make (that distinction will likely be your forge, which I wrote a separate guide for here), having a high-quality hammer set is incredibly important.

While you can make do with almost any type of hammer you have lying around your garage, sooner or later, you’re going to need to buy a hammer specifically designed for blacksmithing. That’s where things get complicated. A quick search on Amazon will find dozens of different hammer types out there.

If you just want a simple answer, here are the five best blacksmithing hammers for beginners looking to get started.

1. Jackson 4-Pound Hardwood Handle Cross Pein Hammer

2. Stanley 56-003 AntiVibe Drywall Hammer

3. Anvil Brand Rounding Hammer

4. Picard Blacksmiths’ Hammer 3.3-pound Swedish Pattern

5. Titan 5-Piece Hammer Set

Different types of blacksmithing hammers

Before we dive into the topic, I just want to have a quick word about the different types of hammers out there and what makes them unique.

You might think that all hammers are just the same, but there are a number of subtle differences that can make or break a potential blacksmithing project.

Cross peen hammers are the most common and traditional blacksmithing hammer that you can find. The name comes from the peen that runs from one end of the handle to the other. If there was a single hammer you bought, getting a cross peen hammer is an excellent decision for a beginner blacksmith.

Another similar variant is the straight peen hammer. As the name suggests, straight peen hammers have a peen that runs vertically across the hammer’s handle as opposed to going horizontally, as is the case with cross peens. Other than that, they are pretty similar, but most blacksmiths op to use the cross peen over the straight peen.

The rounding hammer is also one of the more popular types of hammers, especially in recent years. Thanks in no small part to famous YouTubers out there, rounding hammers have started to become increasingly mainstream among beginner blacksmiths.

From then on, there you’ve got tons of different, more specialized hammers that are used by blacksmiths. However, for the sake of this list, the best hammers will mainly be cross peens.

1. Jackson 4-Pound Hardwood Handle Cross Peen Hammer

At the top of my list is a relatively simple cross peen hammer that comes with a nice wooden handle. While there is some dispute over whether a wooden handle is really better than a plastic one, you can go either way on this one. In my opinion, however, I rather enjoy using wooden handles, as they give that “traditional” feeling that more modern hammers just don’t have.

One of the biggest advantages of the Jackson wooden cross peen hammer is its low price. It might seem a tad bit expensive at around $35 or so (although you can get free shipping depending on the website you order from), that’s actually not that bad in comparison to some of the pricier hammers out there. You also have the option of choosing between the 3-pound and the 4-pound version, something worth mentioning.

2. Stanley 56-003 AntiVibe Drywall Hammer

This is one of the most popular hammers out there on the market and one that you’ll find on many blacksmith’s top lists. While it might not be on the top of my list (I like to be a bit of a contrarian), I’d be insane not to have it somewhere in my top 3, and for a good reason.

It’s one of the easiest hammers to use for extending smithing sessions, where its antivibe design helps mitigate the endless pounding of the hammer. In turn, this eases the burdens on your wrist and your grip as you hammer away at your stock.

While this might not seem like that big of a deal, for beginners, your hand can easily end up cramping or even becoming sore from a heavy smithing session. Just as tennis players often get tennis elbow, some beginners out there have to end up putting their smithing sessions on hold due to their wrist issues that result from the frequent banging.

3. Anvil Brand Rounding Hammer

Another nice, traditional hammer out there is the Anvil Brand Rounding Hammer. Rounding hammers are great for some blacksmiths, especially since it has two different sides – a round face and a flat face. This means that rounding hammers can be used to both stretch out a metal as well as smooth it out.

Of course, the downside is that you don’t have the edge that cross or straight peen hammers tend to have. Depending on the type of blacksmithing work that you’re doing, this can be a pretty big inconvenience. I personally don’t use rounding hammers as much, as cross peens’ tend to be my go-to. However, I definitely have a rounding hammer that I use as a secondary hammer if I need to.

The Anvil Brand Rounding Hammer is definitely one I recommend checking out if you’re looking to add to your collection.

4. Picard Blacksmiths’ hammer 3.3 lb Swedish Pattern

For those of you looking for something more exotic, I have you covered. Picard Blacksmith’s Swedish pattern hammer is one of the more atypical hammers out there, but definitely deserves a spot on this list.

Swedish style is technically a subset of a cross peen hammer that’s become popular for its unique shape as well as its overall balance. Unlike other types of specialized hammers, like French blacksmithing hammers, Swedish hammerheads tend to be heavier, as well as having most of the weight distributed towards the front end of the head. Unlike regular hammers that are perfectly balanced on both sides, having a heavier front end makes it easier to use when hammering away at something.

While there aren’t many Swedish hammers out there, Picard makes a wonderful, 3.3-pound Swedish hammer that is excellent for beginners, if a bit pricy.

5. Titan 5-Piece Hammer Set

The last hammer to fit on this list isn’t a specific hammer itself, but rather an entire hammer set. Titan sells a pretty affordable 5-piece hammer set for around $45 alongside shipping costs. This includes a 3-pound sledgehammer, a 3-pound cross peen, a 32-ounce mallet, as well as a 16-ounce and a 32-ounce ball-peen hammer.

While I don’t think any of these hammers are excellent by themselves, they are pretty darn good when you consider that you’re getting five hammers for the price of one. At the same time, this hammer set is cheaper than most of the single hammers on this entire list! If you don’t have much cash to spare, getting this hammer set is a pretty good way to get started.

However, if you’re just looking for one or two good hammers (which is all you really need as a beginner blacksmith) then I would still recommend picking the Stanley Antivibe and the Jackson 4-pound hammers listed above. Getting both of these two hammers will cost you around $80 or so, almost twice the cost of the Titan 5-piece set, but I think the quality of these two hammers speaks for themselves.

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