Draper 7lb Hickory Shaft Sledge Hammer

Now you might be wondering how someone could do a review of a hammer. It’s a pretty simple device after, all it goes up and down and things underneath it get broken (or occasionally hammered in). Well this review is about a hammer but it’s mostly about the customer service at Draper. You see up until yesterday everything has been good in my world with regards to hammering but now I have some hammer related issues that I need to deal with.

I bought my sledge hammer a little while back (can’t remember exactly when) to do a little light demolition in our house, knock a few posts in and split a bit of wood. All in all I’ve never really tested the tool up until yesterday when I decided to break up some rocks that we had lurking in the garden. Normally you’ll find a rockery is built from rocks that the average person can move around fairly easily. Our rockery, in contrast, was clearly built by someone that fancied themselves as a quarry man. The largest piece was probably of the order of 150kg and perhaps more. To move it across the garden I rigged up a sled and it took both the wife and myself to drag it a couple of meters and in the process it crushed a piece of 2×4 to match wood.

I set about knocking seven shades out of the smaller rocks with the sledge hammer and managed to split about half of them into manageable sized chunks. I was then left with the larger rocks and I figured I needed a better plan. I grabbed a couple of fairly flat stones and mounted the larger stone on top so that it would crack rather than get hammered into the ground. I started whacking it but after a few hits, mid-swing, I realized there was something wrong with the hammer. Fearing that the head had come lose I dived sideways and tried to throw the hammer away from me. On recovering I found that the shaft of the hammer had split and the head was being held on by a few strands of timber. I consider myself lucky, I was getting tired at the time so I hadn’t gone for a full power swing which I’m pretty sure would have caused the head to fly off.


As you can see the grain in the shaft doesn’t quite run up the length of it which has caused it to split along the grain. Interestingly from the outside it appears to be much straighter grained than when you see it split which is probably why it wasn’t noticed durign production. This is an interesting lesson in the strength of wood. If this shaft had been properly straight grained I doubt I could ever have broken it but just a few degrees of straight and it snapped on the first heavy use.

As I wasn’t overly happy about the hammer breaking I’ve got in touch with the customer support people at Draper to find out if they will replace the hammer or send me a new shaft to fit. While I’ll admit that I was going for it I’m an overweight unfit middle aged desk-jocky so if I can break it I don’t think it’s really up to the task for which it was built. So far I’ve had a polite reply from customer support asking for the above photo. Fingers crossed they come through as I quite like Draper stuff, it’s not the best quality but it generally does what it says on the tin.