Best Wood for Hammer Handles – What Wood Type to Choose?

Best wood for hammer handles

Hammers are one of the most basic hand tools you’ll ever find in a contractor’s toolbox.

This is because it is a highly versatile tool that you can use for nail pounding, heavy-duty demolition, occasional tacking, among other applications.

A crucial component of the hammer is the handle.

Hammer Handle Materials

It is the point on the hammer where your hand comes in contact with the tool, and having the right handle for the job is can be a big deal.

The handle is arguably the most important factor in the ergonomics of your hammer.

In general, there are three distinct materials used in making hammer handles, including wood, fiberglass, and steel.

While each material has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, wood handles have become very popular among traditionalists, and are still a favorite among most professional construction workers as well as DIY craftsmen.

Why Wood?

One factor that gives hammer wood handles an edge over other materials is its ability to muffle vibrations and absorb shocks.

So, if you are going to be pounding lots of nails out there, a wooden hammer handle should be your ultimate choice.

Best Wood for Hammer Handles - What Wood Type to Choose?

And while wood is not as inherently durable as steel, you can easily replace it if it gets damaged for whatever reason.

It can also be carved and custom-fitted to suit your preference.

However, not every type of wood is suitable for making a hammer handle.

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To find the best wood for a hammer handle, you need to research well and analyze what suits your needs the most.

Here are some of the most preferred woods for making hammer handles.


The most common wood used in making hammer handles is American hickory.

It has long been thought of as the best wood material for hammer handles.

Here’s a demonstration of making a hammer handle out of a billet of hickory.

Though this is for a blacksmith hammer, the video can also apply to other common types of wood-handled hammers.

Hickory is a heavy wood with a somewhat straight grain.

What’s more, it is shock-resistant, which is a highly valuable characteristic of a great impact tool.

It has an incredible strength that allows it to absorb massive shocks without either cracking or splitting.


This is one of the strongest, hardest, and highly durable woods you can use for your hammer’s handle, due to the tree’s relatively higher density.

What’s more, oak wood is incredibly resistant to both fungi and insects and implies that you won’t have to worry about these organisms eating away at your wood.

It is also important to note that oak wood is great for absorbing the resulting contact shock.

The only major problem with oak is that it can splinter if it is not oiled regularly.

Yellow Birch

Yellow birch wood is widely available across the United States.

It is a great choice for a hammer handle mainly because it is harder than both ash and hickory, and also won’t shatter easily.

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Yellow birch wood is also slightly shock absorbent and relatively sturdy, allowing you to work on demanding tasks such as demolition as well as driving nails through concrete and hardwood.

Best Wood for Hammer Handles - What Wood Type to Choose?


Ash is a great choice for making hammer handles not only because it is readily available all over around the globe, but because it also features fairly longer fibers that effectively absorbs impact shock.

Besides, ash is a very strong and extremely flexible, guaranteeing premium years of quality service.

It is also very easy to work with, thanks to its key traits; strength and flexibility.

However, it is worth noting that ash is not as durable as either oak or hickory and won’t do well in outdoor environments.

Sugar Maple

Also referred to as hard maple, sugar maple wood is another great option when it comes to choosing the best wood for a hammer handle.

It boasts incredible strength and is relatively harder than both as and hickory.

However, it is imperative to note that it doesn’t absorb any shock caused by the impact of the hammer over your hands.

And because of its extra strength, sugar maple wood also tends to shatter quite easily than other types of wood.


Walnut is a sturdy hardwood of medium density, with low stiffness and moderate crushing strength.

It is reasonably available and can make for a great hammer handle.

It is very easy to work with and attractive as well.

However, it is not as durable as the other wood materials in this list.

Other Wood Options

In reality, Pretty much any hard wood will work fine for a hammer handle.

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In this demonstration pecan wood is used.

So check for whatever stock you have sitting around, or what can be easily obtained, and get working on your new hammer handle!

Best Wood for Sledge Hammer Handle

The best wood for a sledgehammer handle is a strong, durable wood that is resistant to shock and vibration.

Some good options for sledgehammer handles include hickory, ash, and maple.

These woods are all known for their strength and toughness, which makes them well-suited for use in sledgehammer handles.

They are also relatively easy to work with, so they can be shaped and finished to the desired shape and appearance.

It is important to choose a high-quality wood for a sledgehammer handle, as a handle that breaks or splinters can be dangerous to use.

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