April 30, 2014 -- intro: What does Chris Hemsworth have that you don't? A hammer! That small gap, between you and the actor who plays the studly god Thor, can easily be bridged by your choice of the right tool. We present, here, for your pounding pleasure, five futuristic hammers--all of them newfangled, some of them high-tech, others so frightening in appearance that nails, when they see them, will drive themselves into wood.
As first reported by Gizmag, all of these hammers, depicted on the pages that follow, bring hammering into the 21st Century. As an added bonus, we've thrown in a new axe from Finland that does for logs what Ron Popeil's Kitchen Magician used to do for vegetables.
quicklist: 1title: S2 Framing Hammer by ATOMdesigncategory: media: 23523652text: Yani Deros, president of Arizona design firm ATOMdesign, tells ABC News that the S2 hammer is so revolutionary that it is protected not just by a design patent but by "a utility patent with 27 claims." Created at the behest of tool maker Vaughn & Bushnell, it retails for about $32, says Deros. "You can hit a concrete floor with it," he says, "and there's no recoil." That's a result in part of the shock-absorbing nature of hickory, used for the handle, and to rubber gaskets in the head that dissipate vibration.
quicklist: 2title: Cole-Bar Hammercategory:media: 23523752text: Hailed as "the Leatherman of hammers" by Popular Mechanics, the Cole-Bar opens up and splits apart to form both a crowbar and a hammer. It got its start on Kickstarter, where, to help develop the prototype, backers ponied up $35,250 more than the $100,000 goal. Project leader Brandon Hyde tells ABC News he expects the tool to go on sale in late 2014 for $79 to $89. With it, he says, "you get all the leverage of a crowbar. You can pry things you could not pry with an ordinary hammer. Crowbar and hammer together can be used "as a demolition tool--one of my favorite uses," he says.
quicklist: 3title: Craftsman NEXTEC Rotating-Head Autohammercategory:media: 23523809text: This cordless power tool looks like something a dentist might use--that is, if he wanted to nail down some lose bridgework. Retailing for $64.99, it is an outstanding choice, says Gizmag, when your target surface is awkwardly positioned or hard to reach. You place the nail on the hammer's magnetic head, press it against wood, and pull a trigger. The battery-powered hammer, says Craftsman, communicates 3,600 impacts per minute to the nail. "It's an excellent tool," Craftsman says, "for hammering nails in tight spaces where you can't swing a hammer."
qicklist: 4title: Stiletto's TiBone TBII-15 Titanium Hammercategory:media: 23523526text: Maker Stiletto says the 15 oz, all-titanium hammer drives with the force of a 28 oz steel hammer, and with 10 times less shock (to the hammerer) than steel. A patented side nail-puller removes 16p nails in a smooth, 180-degree motion that requires less effort, says the company, than a conventional hammer. Price: $263.
quicklist: 5title: Picard Carpenter's Roofing Hammercategory:media: 23523477text: Imagine how Thor's standing with his fellow Nordic gods would suffer if they saw him inadvertently nail his thumb to the birdhouse he was making. The Carpenter's Roofing Hammer by Picard removes any chance of that by use of a magnetized head, which lets you hammer one-handed (you don't have to hold the nail with your fingers).
qicklist: 6title: [Bonus] The "Vipukirves" Axe From Finlandcategory:media: 23523902text: The Finnish "Vipukirves" (translation: leveraxe) acts more like a lever than a wedge. Its head is off-set from the handle rather than centered. The off-line center of gravity causes the head to rotate eccentrically on the down-stroke, so that when it lands it splits the wood apart. In exploits physics to reduce trees to toothpicks faster and with less effort than can a traditional axe. And it's red. Price: about $215.