In the February 2014 issue, I reported that I loved the new Stanley FatMax Anti-Vibe framing hammer and had started using it full-time for production framing. The head of this hammer weighs just 17 ounces, which is in line with the trend toward lighter steel heads designed to compete with costlier titanium ones. I had already incrementally moved from a 32-ounce hammer to a 22-ouncer to reduce my wear and tear, and I initially couldn’t imagine framing with a 17-ouncer. But I discovered that the Stanley has all the driving power I need. I also liked the magnetic nail starter up top, which makes it easier to start nails with one hand. A few months ago, however, the head loosened and I needed to replace the hammer.

Sticking with the concept, I decided to try the welded-steel DeWalt model DWHT51138, which has an even lighter 14-ounce head and a magnetic nail starter. So far, I like this featherweight even better than the Stanley. It drives nails just as fast, has a comfortable grip, and feels perfectly balanced. It cost me $50 at The Home Depot, which is a fair price for a good hammer. We’ll see how it holds up in the long run. Regardless, I’ll never return to a heavy framing hammer. —Terry Goodrich is a framing contractor in Scappoose, Ore.