Driving Nails with a New Twist

Interchangeable screw-in heads make Montana inventor’s driving hammers more versatile

It probably seems difficult to come up with a new twist on a driving hammer, but Gray Mapston has done just that — literally.

Mapston, a saddle bronc rider, horse trainer and inventor from Arlee, Mont., has come up with a pair of new driving hammers that have interchangeable screw-in heads. Mapston’s hammers were one of the many items that drew a lot of attention from attendees at the Trade Show during the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, in early February.

Pain As The Mother Of Invention

Mapston says he came up with the idea when he’d hit his thumb one time too many while trying to nail a shoe on his son’s horse. He took the offending hammer back to his shop, cut off the head and welded a bigger one in its place. He took the modified hammer back to the job and found it much easier to use.

Things might have gone no further, but Mapston realized he might have hit on something. He went to a local ranch supply store and bought several driving hammers to experiment on.

Mapston doesn’t have an engineering background, but he was able to draw on a lifetime of hands-on experience in keeping farm and ranching equipment up and running.


Mapston’s hammers come in two models, the GR Original, right, which is a standard-sized driving hammer and the GR Race’rr, designed for racetrack use and for those who prefer a lighter hammer. Mapston says so far, about 90% of his…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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