Every geologist should have a rock hammer in their toolkit. Rock hammers are an essential tool since they make it easy for geologists to assess the quality of rocks by opening them. They also allow them to find different types of rocks by digging through the material. This a tool that any geologist should have when going out to the field.
There are different types of rock hammers for geologists available on the market. Although many may argue that the type of hammer doesn’t matter since they all break rocks, there’s a big difference between them. The rock hammers come with different heads, handles, and balance that make each unique.
The type of hammer you select will greatly depend on the type of work you’ll be doing in the field. Whether you’re breaking rocks or digging through the material to get a valuable rock, a rock hammer is important. Read on to get a guide to selecting the best geologists rock hammer.
What to Look Out for When Getting the Best Geologists Rock Hammer
Any keen geologist should know how to look for the best rock hammer. Many manufacturers produce different types of rock hammers. These vary in shape, size, and quality. Therefore, it’s important to select the right hammer otherwise it may be difficult for you to use or even cause you harm when using it. Here are some of the important factors to consider when looking for the best rock hammer for geologists.
Quality of Construction
There are several reasons why a geologist’s rock hammer should be durable. The very obvious reason is the fact that you’ll use it to break rocks. Therefore, it should have a robust construction to withstand the constant hitting at hard surfaces. High quality of construction also ensures that the hammer is safe enough to use when splitting rocks or chiseling into fractures.
The best types of rock hammers feature a steel construction throughout. Budget hammers often use plastic or timber shafts and a separate metalhead. This increases the risk of the head separating from the handle and causing harm to the user. Tempered steel is extremely hard and you should look for a hammer made of this material.
Handle Length and Cover Material
Many high-end rock hammers feature leather covered handle. Other materials used to cover the handle include synthetic materials and natural rubber. Such materials ensure that the geologist gets sufficient grip and comfort when handling the hammer. You should select a material that gives you the best feeling and has the best look.
Plastic covered handles are susceptible to cracking and one should avoid by all means. The length of the handle plays a very important part of the power delivered when breaking the rock. The longer the handle, the more power delivered.
Weight of the Hammer
Rock hammers come in different sizes, and thus different weights. Therefore, the weight of the rock hammer varies with its design and size. The most preferred weight of hammers ranges between 20-oz to 26-oz. Such hammers deliver enough impact when swung due to their weight but won’t weigh any geologist down when carrying it in the field.
Safety is an important factor to consider when selecting a rock hammer. As mentioned before, the hammerhead and shaft should have the highest quality of construction. Poorly constructed rock hammers feature soft material that bends and splinters easily under heavy use. This makes using the hammer dangerous to the geologist and other people around the work area.
The grip provided by the handle is also important to consider. Handles that come with leather covers, high-quality synthetic, and rubber materials provide sufficient grip when breaking rocks. Low-quality rock hammers come with plastic handles that can easily slip out of a sweaty hand or under wet conditions.
Use of the Rock Hammer
The type geology you’re going to perform will allow you to select the right type of rock hammer. If you’re working with hard rocks such as metamorphic and igneous rocks then pointed-tip rock hammers are suitable to add into your toolkit.
If you’re searching for fossils then a chisel-tip hammer will be suitable for you. Conversely, a crack hammer can help you explore the inside of larger rocks.
Like any other piece of equipment, you’re going to buy, it’s essential to consider your budget. When it comes to buying tools, it’s always best to buy the best quality of rock hammer that money can get you. You don’t want to spend less and end up with a piece of low-quality equipment that you’ll have to replace occasionally.
Top 5 – Best Geologists Rock Hammer
#1. Estwing E3-22P Pointed Tip Geological Hammer
The Estwing E3-22P is a pointed tip geological rock hammer that’s quite popular among both seasoned geologists and field students. Forged from a single piece of steel, the rock hammer boasts of durable construction that will last you for many years to come. The handle features a nylon-vinyl rubber that provides enough grip and absorbs the shock when striking a rock.
It’s also light enough to carry around in the field and has a head weighing 22-oz, providing sufficient striking power to open a rock. It’s ideal for use on different types of rocks such as quartz and granite. The pointed tip of this geological hammer is sharp for prying and probing rocks, and long enough to dig into fractures and crevices.
- The lightweight makes it portable.
- It has a heavy head to break rocks.
- The heavy-duty hammer will last you for many years to come.
- It provides improved safety due to the handle material.
- In case of an accident, the heavyweight of the hammer can hurt the user.
#2. Estwing E30 Steel Pointed Tip Geological Hammer
Made from one of the most popular rock hammer manufacturers, the Estwing E30 is a pointed-tip geological hammer that features a traditional rock pick design. Similar to the E3-22P, the E30 has a one-piece design of high-quality forged steel that makes it extremely durable. This guarantees any geologist that it’ll remain in any geologist’s toolkit for many years to come.
However, what makes the Estwing E30 stand out is the leather handle. The leather “O” rings on the leather cover provide maximum grip to the user. The laminated and varnish coated cover provides maximum protection. Moreover, the leather grip gives the hammer an aesthetically pleasing look.
- The leather handle gives it a classic look.
- The handle provides maximum grip and comfort to the user.
- The heavy-duty construction makes it durable.
- It’s ideal for both amateurs and professionals.
- The laminated leather handle wears off with time.
#3. Estwing E3-20PC Chisel Edge Supreme Rock Pick
The Estwing E3-20PC is a chisel-edged geological hammer featuring a one-piece construction of fully polished and high-quality steel. The handle features a nylon-vinyl rubber cover that not only provides the grip but also comes in handy to absorb the shock that comes from breaking soft sedimentary rocks. Tests reveal that the cover reduces shock by 50%.
The hammer weighs only 1-lb 12-oz, which makes it quite light to easily carry around. Its head that features both a chisel end and a square end weighs 20-oz. This makes it heavy enough to crack open rock or pry and split sedimentary rock layers apart easily. The fact that it’s an Estwing product ensures that it’ll last you for a very long time.
- It’s a high-quality tool that features durable construction.
- The handle provides both increased grip and shock absorption.
- It’s portable enough to carry in the field.
- It has a heavy head for breaking rocks.
- You have to get a sheath separately if you wish to store the hammer in one.
#4. Estwing E6-22BLC Bricklayer’s/Mason’s Hammer
The Estwing E6-22BLC features a new design that makes it safer and better for use. Although marketed for use by masons, geologists can find it very handy when it comes to breaking rocks. Like all other Estwing products, the E6-22BLC also boasts of a fully polished and one-piece steel forging.
Its handle has a nylon-rubber cover that provides enough grip and absorbs the shock from breaking rocks. Similar to the E3-20PC chisel hammer, tests show that the cover molded and bonded into the steel handle reduces the shock by 50%.
- The double tempered design improves the hammer’s strength.
- It’s a high-quality and heavy-duty hammer that’ll last you for long.
- The handle provides enough grip and comfort to the user.
- It provides the best balance when hitting rocks.
- The small size may be too awkward for some cyclists to handle.
#5. Estwing B3-3LB Drilling/Crack Hammer
The Estwing B3-3LB is a heavy crack hammer designed to split a lot of rocks within the shortest time possible. It’s fully polished and forged from one piece of steel ensuring that it’ll last you for a long time.
The head has two polished faces that provide enough power to crack any rocks. It features a nylon-vinyl rubber cover on the handle that provides additional grip and absorbs the shock that comes from cracking rocks.
- It’s a versatile tool ideal for using with chisels, star drills, and punches.
- It’s perfectly balanced to provide powerful blows with easy swings.
- The handle is comfortable and provides sufficient grip.
- Some users have complained that the handle easily breaks due to the poor steel quality.
Types of Rock Hammers
Selecting a rock hammer can prove to be quite a difficult task for any amateur geologist or beginner. This is because of the many different types of rock hammers available on the market. Rock hammers fall into the following types of categories based on the shape of the hammer’s head.
- The Chisel-Tip Rock Hammer
Also known as the fossil or paleontologist hammer, the chisel-tip rock hammer’s design makes it suitable for use on soft rock. Sedimentary derived rock such as slate, shale, and sandstone constitutes what people call soft rock.
Occasionally found on ocean and lake floors, the layered rocks can include fossils such as fish bones and leaves among other ancient features.
This type of rock hammer features a flat and wide surface on one end of the head that resembles a chisel. The other end of the hammer’s head has a square face typical of a normal hammer.
This hammer allows any geologist to split apart the rock layers to access lower layers and expose fossils within. One can also use it to clear loose vegetation and material.
- The Pointed-Tip Rock Hammer
Unlike the chisel-tip rock hammer, the pointed-tip hammer’s design makes it ideal for breaking hard rocks. Hard rocks include igneous, metamorphic, and hard sedimentary rocks that have a tightly bound structure. The rock’s crystalline structure when fractured and cracked helps the geologist to closely inspect and identify it.
Like the previous type of hammer, the pointed tip features a square head that resembles that of a typical hammer. It also has a pointed end that allows the geologist to scrap or dig out samples from the rock.
This makes it easy for geologists to identify and classify the rock and the mineral components. Conversely, one can use the square head to crack open a rock and explore its structure.
- The Crack Hammer
Referred to as the sledgehammer or heavy rock hammer, the crack hammer is vital in breaking, cracking, and splitting hard rocks.
Crack hammers develop a lot of kinetic energy that makes it suitable for hammering pry bars and chisels into rock fractures. This type of hammer is ideal for geologists who want to crack a lot of rocks and don’t require a high level of precision.
Every geologist should include a rock hammer in their toolkit if they want to effectively break rocks and identify the type of minerals within. Whether you’re breaking sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic, or a large number of rocks, the review above provides the best tools for each job.