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If you need to persuade something into position but you don’t want to damage it, a lead hammer is the tool you need. Sure, a dead blow mallet can do the job, but nothing else can give you the same force-per-size ratio as lead — except possibly depleted uranium, though getting that shipped to your house could be tricky.

American Hammer’s lead hammers are made with a hollow steel shank that ends in a ring shape inside the head. As you use the hammer, the head fuses to the handle so it won’t loosen or break off. The other end of the shank attaches to a solid aluminum cast handle.

If you’re worried about what you do after you deform the head beyond use, American Hammer has you covered. They have a re-cast program where you can ship the hammer back to them and they’ll melt the head down and recast it for you, most times for $20 or less. If you’re on their delivery route, you can also trade your hammer for a recycled one, though the charges for that probably vary, since they don’t state a fixed price anywhere.

American Hammer sells lead hammers in sizes from 1 to 18 lbs. A 3 lb. hammer will run you $55 plus $10 shipping.

Lead Hammer [American Hammer]
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13 Responses to Get Out The Lead Hammer

  1. BigEdJr says:

    Just be sure not to chew on it when your hungry.

  2. Chris says:

    Even DU isn’t as dense as osmium, although getting an ingot of osmium shipped to your house to build a hammer is probably even harder than getting your hands on DU. A 30-gram marble of osmium is about $1000 from these guys:


    not including shipping, which works out to $15K per (avoirdupois) pound, or about $45K to replicate that three-pound hammer in osmium rather than lead.

    Tungsten is probably a safer bet than either DU or osmium, and it’s certainly a lot cheaper (around 50 cents per gram, or $225 per pound from the same source as the osmium). It’s also only about 15% less dense than osmium and marginally more dense than DU.

    Of couse, lead is very ductile and malleable, which makes it great for a dead-blow hammer. Other extremely dense elements, except for gold, can’t match its softness, and gold is probably too expensive for this (although it’s cheaper than osmium!).


  3. Gil says:

    @ Chris
    You can go snag some DU off the front of an Abrams.

  4. fred says:

    When I was a whippersnapper – lead hammers were fabricated in the shop. Cook still offers molds to do this. The old Cook handle was not as elegant or as erganomic as the one pictured. I’m not sure what their current handle look like. We still have a few different weight cook hammers in the pipe shop – and still have pig lead around from the day when bell and spigot caulked joints were what you did for both drain line and gas mains.


    Nowadays – there are some who have an almost paranoid fear of lead poisoning – and it is advisable to take some precautions when melting and handling molten lead – not overhaeting it (a pot piece and/or ladle piece that insures 2-phases are present will keep the molten mass at just the melting point, If you are going to handle a lot – proper PPE and respiratory protection is also advised

  5. Cameron Watt says:

    I think the most important precaution to take when using a lead hammer is to simply wash your hands before you eat or go home. The UHMWPE hammer I made years ago doesn’t have enough oomph and I have some babbitt kicking around….

  6. Keith says:

    Who would pay that much for a lead hammer? … Too easy to make those!

  7. pencilneck says:

    I use to make my own lead hammers when I worked at a small tire store. I used an empty soda can with the top cut off, a metal pipe with a couple of holes drilled though it fitted though a hole in the side of the can, then melted old lead wheel weights and poured them into my “mold”. They worked pretty good and cost me next to nothing to make.

    Most tire shops will give you a few fist fulls of old wheel weights for free.

  8. DW says:

    Of course McMaster-Carr has ready made hammers, handles and molds in a variety of sizes. http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/117/2846/=ap37jk

  9. Chris C. says:

    I wonder if anyone makes a hammer out of tungsten (which is almost twice as heavy as lead, but way harder).

    I have a tungsten bucking bar for driving solid rivets in aluminum, and that is one awesome tool. Forming the tungsten into a hammer would probably be both difficult and expensive though.

  10. Dave says:

    I love the rampant fear of substances nowadays. Wash your hands after using a lead hammer? Really?

    About the only things I don’t fool with are Mercury and Asbestos. Lead and a lot of the other stuff out there, UNLESS used consistently (8 hrs a day, 5 days a week for years) are not going to affect you.

    The general public is recalling toys from China with lead in the paint. Some of my kids toys were on this list. These toys were so small, and the paint so thin my kid could eat the whole thing and probably be sick of indigestion before he got sick from the lead.

    Hell, the water company where I live was listed in some report as having Chromium 6 in the water and all the Sheeple in the city were scrambling to buy water filters.

    Funny part, the EPA regulatory on ALL Chromium is 100 ppBillion, including Chromium 6. Our city’s TOTAL Chromium level was 9 ppBillion.


  11. moco says:

    i know these get used alot to put knock offs on lowrider rims. they dont scratch or bounce back.

  12. Tony says:

    Lead accumulates in the body, so even occasional exposure will build up enough to cause you grief. It just might take a while, and it’s fairly hard to diagnose.

    What happens is you handle the lead, then have lunch or a smoke; the lead transfers from your hands to your mouth.

    While you mightn’t handle the head of the hammer, it’s going to leave a residue on whatever you’re hitting, and you’ll be touching that a lot to check on progress.

    20 years down the track, you wander into the doc’s with a vague ‘I don’t fell well’, it’s unlikely he’s going to say ‘Hmm, you don’t own a lead hammer do you?’. Still, it’s usually the technicians (soldering) or stained glass makers who have a problem, the bodyshop guys are ok since they stopped filling in dents with lead, well, most of them.

    Melting it is ok, you won’t get it hot enough for it to vaporise, but go wash your hands anyway.

    It affects kids sooner (makes then stupid) as they’re always chewing on stuff and have much less body weight.

    I did come across someone who said making a deadblow hammer head from hot glue worked well. I haven’t tried that yet.

  13. Jonesy says:

    Take a look at these pics from popular mechanics . Hammer comes with a mould.

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