I'm mostly suspicious of the memory because it makes me sound rather more precocious and clever than I suspect that I really was. It's one of the oddments of life that you can't always trust your own memories, but there you go.
Be that as it may, I still get an inordinate amount of joy out of my tools. And now that I actually have enough hammers to fill a bag, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that this apocryphal memory holds a kernal of truth: There really aren't many things cooler than a Whole Bag of Hammers.
I suppose that some of you are, quite correctly, pointing out that there's also a half dozen mallets in that bag. All the same, there are enough hammers to make the bag rather heavier than I'd like to tote around.
For the record, this isn't an example of excess. Each of those hammers (and mallets) has a specific purpose to which it is best suited. It is enormously frustrating to me to watch someone use the wrong hammer for their task. Or, worse yet, to use something else like a wrench in place of a hammer.
My wife thinks I need to seek professional help.
Believe it or not, there is a distinct difference between a claw hammer, a rip hammer, and a ball peen hammer. The face of each hammer is shaped to best suit the task for which it was intended, and the temper of the metal as well. Try to form metal with a claw hammer and you'll get a good idea why you shouldn't, no matter what Jamie from Mythbusters might wish you to believe. Will a hammer explode on you if you're using it wrong? No, that's a bit silly. But you will expend more energy than you would if you went to the toolbox and got the correct tool.
It's difficult to choose favorites, but if you put my feet to the fire, I think the shoemaker's hammer you see above is my favorite. Aesthetically, it's just intrinsically pleasing. Like the distilled cartoony ideal of the essence of hammerness. It's shape and the domed face are designed for shaping shoeleather, condensing the leather and forcing it down over the last without damaging or marring the finish.
The horn hammer underneath it is also a leatherworking tool used by mask makers for much the same purpose. The point of the horn forces leather down into the voids of the mask matrix as it condenses and hardens the leather. This also has the charming effect of dimpling the leather, giving the mask a characteristic look you can't get otherwise.
Next one down is a rawhide mallet. That head is made from rolled rawhide leather that has been varnished into a nice, hard, mallet head. The resultant head is hard enough to drive a chisel if you've a mind to, but not hard enough to knock a dent into wood. I bought it to use on leather tools, but since I rarely tool my leathergoods, it's mostly used in cabinetmaking.
The two gavel-looking mallets are also for cabinetmaking. They're used to knock together mortise and tenon joinery and also to set the blades in wood-body planes. I'll discuss those a lot more when we're in the joinery section of the project.
Of course, these are but a few of the mallets and hammers I'll use in the course of this year. Ball-peen hammers, blacksmithing and sheet metal hammers, even a mason's rock hammer. All of them serve a specific purpose, and have evolved over centuries, even millennia, into their current shapes.
So give a care to the humble hammer and choose the correct one for your task. Both you and your project will thank you.
Oh, and keep them in a toolbox. Don't keep them in a bag. Because grandpa was right; that is kinda dumb.