Stiletto Titanium Flat Bars - Fine Homebuilding

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Stiletto Titanium Flat Bars

comments (3) July 24th, 2009 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

$120 for a pry bar? Not on my salary...Click To Enlarge

$120 for a pry bar? Not on my salary...

Guest Review by Kit Camp

I’ve been carrying the same little Japanese prybar in my toolbox since 1997, and it often rides in my tool bags while I am working. I’ve had it so long it’s beginning to take on some talismanic properties. Its also showing it’s age a bit, having been re-ground to a sharp taper countless times.As a supplement to this bar, I also carry a Hyde Pry-and-Scrape flatbar, often referred to as a glazier’s bar. The two complement each other well. They’re functional, durable, and cheap.

Justin recently sent me a box of titanium prybars from Stiletto to try out in place of my old favorites. They range in size from a tiny 5” bar, up to a full 14” long Wonderbar sized tool.
My brother and I put them to work on a large remodel. While we have mostly been doing trim work, the bars also got a workout demoing some walls, prying up old tack strip, etc.

The bars are rather complicated affairs, as far as prybars go, having numerous facets, weirdly shaped holes, and castings that swell and slim themselves to add strength where necessary.  I have yet to figure out what some of these various recesses are for.

The tools live up to their billing of light weight and strength. They are quite stiff, with a feel I can only describe as “dead” when hit with a steel hammer. There is none of the characteristic ringing that normally accompanies this pounding. I imagine this effect is even more pronounced with a titanium hammer. My worry that a steel hammer would mushroom the bars prematurely has so far been unfounded. I love the smaller glazier’s bar.

While cruising Stiletto’s website about a week into my test, I noticed the company makes an exact copy of the Japanese bar I have carried all these years. I got pretty excited until I saw the $70 price tag. I think I paid $12 for mine, and I have certainly gotten my money’s worth.

I felt a growing queasiness in the pit of my stomach when I did some quick mental math and realized that I unwittingly had about $500 in prybars casually lying around the jobsite and on my portable workbench. And that’s really the rub, isn’t it?

Are these nice tools? Yup.

Do they do the job they’re designed to? Yep.

Are they lightweight, and groovy enough to be fun? Oh, yeah.

But, do I really want to have to worry about where my pry bar is at all times, or worry about someone grabbing it when I’m not around? Do I want to protect it the way I do my miter saw and Festool guide rails?

The answer, for me, is “No.”

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who wouldn’t find the value in a $170 flat bar. If I had to carry a full-sized model every day, all day, I’d probably consider it. But for a tool that I want to sit behind the seat of my truck for months at a time--pulled out to be whaled on for a few minutes, and then returned--I can’t justify it. The bar I normally carry is so small that the weight savings of switching to a titanium model would also be negligible.

What I’d love is if Stiletto would produce a couple of these unusual and highly functional designs in steel...

posted in: Blogs, remodeling, restorations, nails, stiletto, titanium, nail pull, staples, pry bar, prybar

Comments (3)

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: Good to hear a review that mixes sensibility with praise. You are very right about having to justify it. I see on the Stiletto website the uses of each bar are quite specific.

To the tradesman who just re-roofs, the guy who only works with concrete forms, or the architectural salvage man, I am sure these tools are a godsend.

But for a remodeler like me who already has to maintain a heft overhead these high-end tools are unthinkable.
Posted: 7:01 am on August 4th

vanderpooch vanderpooch writes: Tim,

Good to hear from someone who's been using the bars. I hope others have and will chime in as well.

Thanks for your comment.

- Kit
Posted: 7:06 pm on July 27th

Timuhler Timuhler writes: I've been using the bars for about 2 months or so and love them. I like how light they are and it feels like they are a little more functional than the steel bars I have.

In this economy though, the price is pretty steep.
Posted: 10:05 pm on July 26th

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