For over a decade and a half, we dealt with the aggravation of using a hammer that just did not hold up under every day use. Worse yet, when titanium hammers became available, the problem was all the more troublesome because the cost of those hammers was so much greater, while the traction lasted only a fraction of the time that a steel waffle did, which was only a few months at best.
It was then that my brother had an idea: place a hardened steel disc with the waffle formed in it into a cavity bored in the face of the hammer, recessed slightly from the smooth outer rim.
This protected the waffle from ever coming into contact with anything but the nail being driven, no matter what material the nail was being driven into. At the same time, it also protects fingers from those merciless sharp points on a brand new waffle. His idea worked.
The result was the best framing hammer either of us had ever seen. Now the waffled face lasts longer than the rest of the hammer, and we no longer have to switch to a smoothed face hammer for finish work. We wore out three hickory handles over the course of 18 months, and the first hammer we made still looks like it has only been used for a few weeks. The level of abuse this hammer received and survived was astounding. We quickly saw that we needed to get this hammer out there, so we patented it and decided to start a company dedicated to making a hammer that outperforms all others.