When I heard about Stanley’s newest 16 oz Fat Max hammer, I immediately wondered two things: where did they put the weight with the hammerhead 70 percent larger, and does it feel weird when you swing it? To answer that I compared it to another 16 oz Stanley hammer I had lying around the shop.
The first thing you notice when getting the pair next to each other is the strike face on the Fat Max really is huge. Both are 16 oz fiberglass claw hammers and the new one definitely has the advantage over the other with regards to near-misses.
A side view tells you that much of the weight looks like it has been moved forward. The head is much stouter and built up with a smaller side profile on the claw than the old style. Also, the neck of the handle on the Fat Max is built up to help protect against overstrikes where the other actually tapers going into the head.
The top view reveals the Fat Max to be shorter and wider, with much of the weight packed into a smaller area.
So to answer the question “does it help with near misses?” — of course it does. You’ve got close to and extra half-inch diameter swinging down on whatever you’re aiming at. That goes without saying. What we wanted to know is whether or not a hammer like the Fat Max felt good in the shop. As it turns out, it does. Normal activity for us involves smacking around chisels or nail sets on a day-to-day basis and a nail or two if the fence manages to pop one loose.
The Fat Max feels comfortable and correct in your hand and doesn’t miss all that often. Then again, how often you hit or miss the target, be it chisel or nail head, largely depends on you. We know guys that can take a full 4-foot swing 100 times and never miss with a regular hammer, and some folks with that same hammer couldn’t hit the mark if they had a gun trained on them. If you’re one of the latter, this is most likely a better hammer for you. What would be even better is a large head and a check pattern on the face for less slippage.