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Halder’s Simplex mallets have become my new favorite rubber and plastic-faced hammers. In a nutshell, Halder Simplex is a system of interchangeable rubber mallet faces, heads, and handles, and this gives users quite a bit of flexibility in creating a mallet that works best for their needs.
In other words, these hammers are quite different from the one-size-fits-most mallets you’ll find at the hardware store. And, all of the components are individually replaceable. So, if any part wears out or breaks, you can replace it.
I purchased a couple of Halder mallets a few months ago, to get a feel for their different options, and I am quite impressed with their quality.
Another two Halder mallets are on the way, along with a couple more face inserts.
There are two handle options, wood and fiberglass, and I’ve only stuck with wood so far. There are three head/housing styles – cast iron, aluminum (around half the weight), and reinforced cast iron. The reinforced head requires the fiberglass handle.
I’m mostly interested in the cast iron and aluminum heads paired with wood handles. A sledge hammer-length hickory handle is also available for heavier applications.
You also need to choose a hammer size – the face diameter – which along with the head style dictates the hammer’s weight.
So far, this creates a couple of options that are easy to sort out. Going with the standard cast iron hammer head, you have 30mm small/light, 40mm medium/medium weight, and 50mm large/heavy options. Or, with an aluminum head, you get lighter weight options with the same strike face sizes. There are smaller and larger sizes as well, but I think 30, 40, and 50mm sizes are a good starting point.
If you want a good general recommendation, go for the Halder Simplex 3013.040 hammer ($37.75 via Amazon), which has a 21oz weight, 1.57″ strike faces, and soft blue and medium-hard grey faces.
With Halder Simplex model numbers, the first part describes the hammer head style, and the second part describes the face diameter size. The hammer shown above is the 3013.050, with 3013.040 being better sized (in my opinion) for general purpose work.
If you want to go smaller, that would be the 3013.030. If you want a cast iron head with soft blue face and medium superplastic face, that would be 3017.030. And if you want that in the 40mm size, it’s simply 3017.040.
If you want the 3013 head configuration but with an aluminum housing, that would be 3113.040. If that’s the case, look at the bonus bundle on Amazon. There’s also a bonus bundle version of the 3117 aluminum housing version with Superplastic and blue faces, and another with different replacement face options.
Here’s where things get interesting and potentially confusing – you have to choose your faces.
There are very many different preset hammers you can buy, and so you don’t have to actually choose all of the components yourself, but I like to understand what the different options will mean.
Here are the different faces:
- TPE/soft (blue)
- Rubber (black)
- TPE/medium (grey)
- Superplastic/medium-hard (white)
- Plastic/hard (red)
- Nylon/hard (off-white)
- Soft metal
- Alloy is not specified, cannot be used with aluminum heads
There are a couple of other options, such as 50mm faces that can be used with 40mm sized hammers, and a stand-up black rubber head that can be used with 60mm hammers.
And the part I’ve been looking into:
The black rubber insert is described as impact-cushioning. But the grey face is just as hard/soft and non-marring. Are there benefits to the black rubber insert, aside from their lower costs?
With traditional rubber mallets, I haven’t seen many differences between black and grey rubber materials, aside from light grey rubber mallets usually being more expensive and non-marring. Do black rubber mallets recoil or rebound less? That’s something I would or should have noticed.
The red acetate insert is said to be oil and grease resistant, while the similar hardness nylon insert is said to be more durable and wear-resistant, will never chip in cold temperatures, and is also oil and grease resistant. So… why buy the red acetate over the nylon?
Is there a scenario where one might want a medium-hard Superplastic head vs. a hard nylon or acetate head?
My questions and curiosities are more academic in nature, and Halder’s selection charts can help quite a bit when it comes to quick practical selection.
Application areas overlap for a lot of the mallet face inserts, but there are some distinctions when it comes to Halder’s recommendations.
If you’re not sure what to buy, their application chart (PDF) might help.
Typically when shopping within a brand, you don’t get a lot of choices. Most of the time, there are a couple of size and weight options, and that’s it.
So far, I’m liking Halder’s quality quite a bit. I wish their hammers were less expensive, but the pricing seems reasonable and proportionate to their quality.
They also have a line of “Baseplex” mallets that are built to a lower price point. I also ordered one of those for review purposes, and it’s on the way.
There are a couple of places where you can find Halder’s hammers. I bought all of mine at Amazon and KC Tool.
Any questions? Have any of you used these mallets before? What would you look for in a double-face rubber/plastic mallet?