Vintage Estwing hammer

Estwing hammer with leather handle.

A hammer, closely followed by a screwdriver, is one of the tools you will most likely find at everyone’s house. Most wouldn’t give their hammer a second look. But this can be changed easily.

Bottom of vintage Estwing hammer handle.

A view of the hammer’s sturdy handle bottom, stamped “Estwing.”

The Estwing family probably makes the best hammers you can buy. Founded in 1923 by Ernest O. Estwing (a Swedish immigrant), the company still manufactures its hammers in Rockford, Illinois. I love that the website says they want to make “attractive striking” tools. What a great company goal. I was happy when I found this Rip Hammer a few month ago at the Long Beach Antique Market.

Side view of an Estwing hammer head.

Detail of the hammer head.

With this hammer, head and handle are forged out of one piece. This makes the tool extremely robust, ensuring that you don’t have to fear the head flying off. The grip is made of thin leather discs, which not only make the hammer particularly ‘attractive’ – it’s also a great way to absorb shock. Estwing’s design prevents the discs from coming loose by pushing them into a triple-circle shaped pattern in the steel.

Handle of vintage Estwing hammer.

The Estwing’s head and handle are forged out of one piece.

I’m still trying to find out what year my hammer was made, but thankfully they still make them today – and we proudly carry them in our store.

Leather grip of an Estwing hammer.

Another view of the Estwing’s head and handle – I’ve never seen a hammer with such a narrow neck!

35 Comments

  1. vaughn
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I "bought" an Estwing hatchet probably 40 years ago using S&H Greenstamps. (Extra credit if you know what those are without looking, and the big prize if you remember using them…) I love my hatchet, still have the sheath for it too. Great products, hell, maybe it's time for another…

  2. hal
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Excellent choice. I've used a few hammers in my life, but none better than an Estwing. It feels light in the hand and very balanced, but it seems to strike with greater force than heavier hammers. I don't know why that is, but that's the way it feels.

  3. Posted December 1, 2009 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Vaughn, I want to see a picture a picture of your hatchet, if you have one, send it to me (sebastian(at)kaufmann-mercantile(dot)com). I didn't not know about the S&H green stamps, but I grew up in Germany which puts me a bit in a disadvantage. Ha. They are worth a story of their own. So interesting. Thanks, S.

  4. Posted December 1, 2009 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Hal, I agree. Maybe it's think the thin neck that makes the difference. It feels so aerodynamic – I'm not sure if there is any scientific proof for it. S.

  5. Vaughn Wascovich
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    One of the interesting delights of growing older, is a sketchy memory…so when I saw the Estwing hammer, I thought, gee, I have to comment about my hatchet… then I see that I already have. Yes, I will send a pic or two of my Estwing. In the time since my previous post, I did manage to buy several hammers- though I have plenty- but wanted some of the Estwings after a very disappointing trip to home Depot.

  6. joshua kepler
    Posted July 8, 2010 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    I recently found this exact era hammer at the Goodwill in St.Paul MN…..it was laying there in the tool bin with a $2.99 price tag on it….almost if the hammer had found me, I was instantly attracted to it. Recognizing it's class, superior craftsmanship and authenticity I knew I had to buy it. (as if there was any doubt)..then after bringing it home I decided to research it a little , leading me to your page.

    Glad to see I'm not the only super handyman tool geek out there.

  7. Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    nice hammer,where can i buy a old used ESTWING HAMMER,REGARDS Paula.

  8. Posted July 28, 2010 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    Hello Paula, I buy all my vintage tools at flea markets – this is also where i bought this Estwing hammer. You may also want to try ebay. I also know of several websites that specialize in selling vintage tools:

    http://www.wktools.com
    http://www.antique-used-tools.com
    http://www.roseantiquetools.com

    But I haven't used any of these so I couldn't recommend one over the other. Good luck!

    Sebastian

  9. Posted October 2, 2010 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    Iwould like top buy a Estwing vintage hammer, can you help?

  10. BACCA
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    we just got the exact same hammer from an antique shop. We plan on using it for its purpose, but is it worth something? I just recently discovered that there is a story behind these hammers and tools. I would love to know more!

  11. Sebastian Kaufmann
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Hi Bacca,

    Do you know how old the hammer is? The one pictured is about 30 – 40 years old and it isn't not worth a lot. But of course, the older a tool gets the more expensive it gets as well. And they have been making these hammers for a long time.

    Please feel free to email me an image and I'll give you my best guess.

    Sebastian

  12. Anonymous
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    forging dies seam to have date changed regularly. when the tool is forged the date in raised form is struck in the side of the i beam handle .problem being this is under the leather or ''nylon'' grip

    brad

  13. Eileen
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    We have a Estwing Hammer 16 oz. bent claw ; it is stamped 3-7-52. Is that the date it was made and what is one that old worth?

  14. rory
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    i have this same hammer how much do you think it is worth in today"s market?

  15. Don Page
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    I have a hammer that looks like a hammer on one side and a pick on the other. It says Swing Grips on the bottom of the handle. Could you tell me anything about it.

  16. taugie slaith
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    I have a first issue Estwing hammer with a wooden handle and two first issue hatchets. Both stamped on the neck pat app for ESTWING Mfg CO ROCKFORD ILL USA..

    I will be happy to send pictures, if any one is interested.

    The Old Goat

  17. Jon Deichert
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    My dad found what looks to be an old Estwing in between some Joists under an old pine floor. The house is in the Lower Garden District in New Orleans build around the mid 1800's. the hammer had no leather was eaten away by mice, roaches and or termites. he made a handle for it. I'm going to to assume this hammer was built into this house he stated that it didn't appear that it was an area that had been repaired at any point. After reading the above post I learned that Estwing has been around since the early 20's now could there have been another company that used the same molds before Estwing started or was there another company name before Estwing?

  18. Jon Deichert
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    /Users/jondeichert/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Previews/2013/02/22/20130222-205016/IMG_7048.jpg

  19. Jon Deichert
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    any advice on posting a picture would be appreciated

  20. Joe Ratner
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    I got an Estwing No. 2 hatchet for S & H Greenstamps over 40 years

    ago. It is still brand new with a leatherette cover. I would consider selling it.

  21. janet
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Hi, I also have an estwing hammer which i believe we bought from the Markets. I have loved it since i bought it. I decised to have a closer look at it today and found the ingraving of est wing which led me to your page. Strange how things happen, my hammer is almost identical to your picture except the top does not cave like yours,its straight. and mine is quite rusted, i knew it was special because although it has alot of outside rust, its still heavy and strong and the claw is not chipped and broken like hammers these days.

  22. Kayleigh
    Posted June 29, 2013 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    My partner has a hammer the very image of the picture above, he received it as a gift from a friends father over 16 years ago, he knew it was obviously older than that then but has never really looked at it before today as it is USED a lot for purpose. We are now intrigued by this after a comment was made on it today and would like to know how old it is, any help would be greatly appreciated.(Also this hammer is a long way from home as we live in England)

  23. Posted August 28, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    I have a True Temper Kelly Perfect ballpein hammer, No. 016BP. Can anyone give any information on it?

  24. Anonymous
    Posted September 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    I believe everyone should know that all Estwing tools are tested in all aspects of the ANSI standards plus some extra things that Estwing does to make sure the products are the safest to the end user. Employees take great pride to insure that these products can last a lifetime and maybe a little longer. Always take pride in products that are made in our country, Estwing is one great American company is like the Energy bunny their tools keep going and going.

  25. toni
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

    There R No Tools Like Old Tools !!!!! Wether it be Estwing, Dimond. There are to few places left that still care about the quality of their products, and fewer still that have been around that long! the most used tools i have belonged to my dad and my papy. There are even some i use that were my great grandpas… I have learned the hard way that if you are using modern tools and nothing seems to be cooperating, ur frustrated, and ur ready to kick somethin that will accomplish nothing except making your foot hurt, break out the OLD SCHOOL TOOLS!!! It will make the job faster,easier,and you wont have to finish it with a limp……..

  26. Ruud Smelt
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

    I am very pleased to have my Eastwing hammer now for about 30 years, it's the best hammer I have used in a long life.

  27. Peter Carroll
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    I have a estwing 16oz leather grip hammer since 1970/71 bought in McQuillans in Dublin Ireland. Question where or how I can get the leather grip replaced. I still use it now and again

  28. Posted January 27, 2014 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    Hi Peter,

    Best to contact Estwing directly since we only sell the hammer itself: http://www.estwing.com/contact_us.php
    Best of luck!

  29. Gus Deckert
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Amen! to the old tools! It proves that well cared for stuff serves the best anb longest. I also have inherited great tools.

  30. BIGKIELBASSA
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    I have an old True Temper ROCKET hammer. 20 .oz, rip , smooth face. Probably from the early sixties, but it's a great feeling hammer. I had to buy a new rubber grip from a place in Illinois that sells the reproduction Rocket grips. The Rocket and my Estwings are comfortable large nail Whackers . Try an old Rocket if you get a chance. Hollow tube shaft from a golf club manufacturing company.

  31. bill spangler
    Posted April 29, 2015 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

    I have 2 Estwing hammers,one of them belonged to my grandfather,and is 90 years old,the other belonged to my father,and is 80 years old.my grandfather's hammer was somehow broken,and was silver soldered back together,i believe it is stronger than new.they are both very usable,but do not look good,but who cares?i would not sell or trade either one,they are that good.

  32. Kent
    Posted January 14, 2016 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    How do I get in contact with someone from KM? I called the phone contact number 4 times without an answer or return call. I emailed with my inquiry without a response. The issue is that I bought a Christmas gift certificate that was never received.

    I am trying to get the tracking number…but have been unable to talk to anyone….perhaps the blog is a way to make contact. Please call me at 415-973-5291 (office) or 415-308-3627 (cell) or email me at ksf1@pge.com. Seems like bad for business if a customer cannot get service.

  33. Posted August 6, 2016 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    I have a ” barn-find” hatchet, presumably made by Estwing, in poor condition, with only about half of the leather handle rings present, has a raised date of forging in the I beam one piece handle, hatchet edge is straight, not curved, hammer head as in for nails, w nail puller notch on lower edge of axe blade. Don’t know how to send you pictures of it, but will do so if asked. Butt of handle has white ring of something like melamine then last ring of black compound twice as thick, then a rusty steel smaller bottom plate with prongs coming thru two holes, prongs about 1/4″, and mushroomed out to retain the stack of rings making up the hand grip. I would have thought it would be very old, but the date indicateds mfg 7-11-75.
    By the way, yes, I do remember S&H Green Stamps, and my mom definitely did redeem them for household things, such as vacuum sweepers, certain toys, I think even my AM radio for my 14th birthday in 1974. I hope to find all I can about my hatchet, because for all I can tell, it is quite rare . Not looking to sell it just yet.
    By the way, the thing likely lay outside for many years and had some serious pitting on just one side. No markings indicating actual maker can be determined, unless hidden by remaining leather rings which won’t move for viewing under them. I look forward to hearing from you.

  34. Marty h
    Posted August 28, 2016 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    I have a old estwing, patent number 16280. All the leather is intact and and wary of I’m hammering the rivets to check the date beautiful hammer toe

  35. Posted April 26, 2017 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    I wish I have this one here on our country. 🙁

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