Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hammer Time!

Beat On The Dead With A Spiky Head, Oh Yeah!!

For some time now, I've been interested in acquiring a war hammer.

Can't say why, for certain.  I've got all manner of firearms and sharp pointy things with which to inflict mayhem, but some deep urge is telling me that my arsenal just isn't complete without something that will cause at least 3d6 of blunt force damage.

Maybe it's my subconscious alerting me to the impending zombie apocalypse.  I sure hope not.  Still, a nice spiked mallet has all sorts of advantages over swords and axes when it comes to destroying cranial domes.

There's less chance it'll ricochet or skid off the skull, and usually it won't chew into the bone and get stuck, or even worse, chip and shatter.  As strong as steel is, it does weird things when it hits that moist/hard matrix that is fresh bone.  I've turned a thick Bowie blade into a serrated edge chopping through deer bone.  (Hint:  Use a hacksaw!!)

The problem, though, is that the replicas out there usually suck, or they're designed to defeat plate armor, not the undead.

So, what are we looking for?

First, a long sturdy handle.  Given my druthers, I'd prefer at least 30" of handle, though I would go with 24" if I had to.  I want some space between my knuckles and zombie teeth.

Second, the head needs to be heavy enough to do some business, but not so heavy it'll wear you out after a few swings.  An 8 lb sledge will bust up just about anything, but go out and whirl one around for a few minutes.  You'll be gasping for air sooner than you guessed...

The handle needs to be at least an inch in diameter.  Any thinner than that and you'll stress the join between head and handle.  I've used and abused too many tomahawks to try a tapered hammer-style handle.  It needs to be shaped more like an axe or pick handle to have the required strength.

The spiked back end is useful, but not 100% necessary.  Again, it's dead skulls you're cracking, not great helms.  Some warhammers have strips of metal called langets bolted to the handle to protect it, but unless you're parrying edged weapons, they're of little practical use.

I may end up having to custom-craft a Whammer.  Nothing out on the market really suits.  Here's what I've found so far:

Cold Steel Warhammer - Tiny head held on with an Allen screw.  Requires assembly.  Has steel langets to protect shaft, but shaft is sub-par and too thin.

Framing hammers  - The largest of the construction hammers, the framing hammer has a long handle (16 inches) and a straight claw as opposed to the curved claw on a regular hammer.  If the handle were just a bit longer, it would be a contender!

Ball Peen hammer - On the plus side, you can get them in different sizes in 2 ounce gradients, from tiny little jeweler's hammers to brawny blacksmithing mallets.  Handle length is still a problem, and head diameter only allows for standard hammer handles.

Sledgehammers - Way too heavy.  Even the 2 lb sledge gets wearisome after a short while.

Repro warhammers - Usually cheap construction and crappy handles. 

Deadblow Hammers - Despite the perfect name, they're way too heavy, and the bright orange color is distracting.  We used to call these "clown hammers" at a past job.

Engineer hammers - Usually too heavy.

Rock hammers - Heads are just about perfect, but handles way too short!

And so, the search goes on.  Please let me know if you see anything that fits the bill!