Pneumatic Tool Owner's Manual

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Guide to Pneumatic Hammers

As inventors of the first pneumatic stone carving tool in 1890, we have had many years to perfect these tools and expand our range of sizes to suit the needs of all our customers. Whether you’re working in small blocks of alabaster or large blocks of granite, we want you to have the tool that best fits your work. If you feel the tool you have received is not a comfortable size or appropriate for your application, we will gladly exchange it for another.

Each Trow & Holden pneumatic tool is stamped with a distinct serial number so it can be registered in the buyer’s name. While our tools are guaranteed for life against breakage and defect, they may need to be sent in for service or repair occasionally. Unique details for each batch of hammers are also kept on file, so we can determine its exact specifications before beginning work.

Because these tools have only one movable part, they are difficult to wear out. We know of tools nearly 100 years old that are still in use. You make a great investment when you purchase a Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammer!

Breaking in Your Pneumatic Hammer

Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammers are made to very precise specifications. The piston fits the cylinder with a .0002” tolerance (2/10ths of 1/1000th of an inch!) so that the tool will perform consistently and not wear out for a very long time. For that reason, it may take 100 or more hours of use before achieving its maximum power level. We believe this slight reduction in power during early use will not significantly affect the tool’s efficiency. If a problem arises, please contact us for service.

Pneumatic Tool Safety

A common-sense approach to safety should be used while using any Trow & Holden stoneworking tool. Our Air Tool Safety Set is available on our web site at

Safety Glasses
To protect yourself from flying stone chips, always wear safety glasses — whether you are using hand tools or pneumatics. The best are those that completely cover your eyes.

You may find that you are generating more stone dust with your pneumatic hammer. We suggest either installing a dust collection system or wearing a respirator.

Wearing earplugs during the operation of your pneumatic hammer is recommended.

Anti-vibration Gloves
Wrist supports may help prevent wrist strain, and shock-absorbing gloves may help reduce joint fatigue caused by vibration.

Strain and fatigue lead to accidents, so equipment that helps prevent these two conditions will improve safety. Taking breaks and changing hand positions frequently while working will also help prevent fatigue.

Pneumatic Tool Operation

Carving with a Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammer and chisel is a two-handed operation, much as it is with a hand hammer and chisel. Because the nose opening of your hammer is round and does not have a retainer to lock a chisel into it, you will need to keep one hand on your air hammer and the other on the stock of your chisel.

There are a number of advantages to this design. It increases the comfort of the person using the tool by allowing him or her to change hand position during work without resistance from the tool. It also improves accuracy in fine work by rendering the chisels adjustable both in position and power during use. You can also discontinue power to your chisel instantly by simply withdrawing it from the nose opening, without disconnecting your pneumatic tool or turning off your compressed air supply.

Never allow your air hammer to run for extended periods of time without a chisel inserted in the tool (e.g., do not leave your hammer running on the table while you continue to work with another tool).

There are several ways to adjust the striking impact of your tool. You can withdraw the chisel from the hammer very slightly, until a suitable level of impact is achieved. You can also reduce or increase the air volume as needed using your hose-mounted air stopcock. Or, you can partially block off the exhaust outlet on your tool, using your thumb or finger, allowing some — but not all — of the air to escape.

There should be no more than two methods of air control within your air delivery system. The first control will be an air pressure regulator located on the compressor. The second will be an in-line valve (e.g. stopcock) used to control the air flow that powers your pneumatic tool. Additional in-line accessories or controls will only reduce the total amount of air available to your tool. Set the air regulator to achieve maximum power to the tool (do not exceed the air pressure rating of the compressor or air hose), then adjust the tool’s speed using the stopcock. Experiment to discover what degree of impact feels best to you. This will vary depending on the width of your chisel, hardness of your stone, and your application.

General Maintenance & Care

Your Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammer requires very little maintenance to run well. With proper oiling, your tool should run well for many years. To help prevent excessive wear, follow these best practices:

Oiling & Other Maintenance

Additional Service
Under normal usage, there are only two components of your Pneumatic Hammer that will wear out — the piston (the only moving part in this tool) and the nose bushing. If your air hammer ever wears enough to need servicing, you will know by the excessive leakage of air around the nose end of the hammer or irregularity in the movement of the piston.

If it appears to be time to send in your Pneumatic Hammer for repair, please send in the whole tool. Do not attempt to disassemble your tool unless instructed to do so. Your air hammer was manufactured to very exact specifications, and attempting to open it without the proper equipment can damage additional components of your air hammer.

We generally replace the nose bushing and piston at the same time, thereby duplicating the fit and performance of a new tool. Replacement of the piston and nose bushing due to normal wear are not covered under warranty; contact Trow & Holden directly for service estimates and to coordinate returning a tool for repair.

Compressed Air

You will need a source of compressed air to power your air hammer. Air compressors come in a wide variety of specifications and power sources. There are a few important factors to keep in mind when searching for a configuration that is suitable for powering your Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammer(s).

Air Pressure & Flow
All Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammers require an in-line air pressure of 90–110 psi. This is a fairly standard level of pressure for most compressors, at which there will be a corresponding CFM rating (rate of air flow in cubic feet per minute). Trow & Holden Pneumatic Hammers are designed to run at a range of pressures and air flow rates; this is what allows the tool to perform smoothly at variable speeds. Connecting an air hammer to an air supply that is above or below the specification required for that particular tool will not damage the tool. However, an insufficient air supply will limit your ability to operate the hammer at maximum power. The specifications provided for each hammer should be considered minimum requirements for operating that hammer to its fullest capacity.

Air Storage Capacity
Unlike more common pneumatic tools, Trow & Holden air hammers run on a steady stream of air. This makes a compressor’s air storage capacity a very important consideration. Generally, a 20 gallon air tank is considered a minimum capacity. While compressors with smaller tanks may be necessary for portability, this will require a motor strong enough to quickly and frequently refill the air tank(s).

Power Supply & Motor
Consider the placement of your compressor. Gas motors will generally produce more power, but will not be suitable for use indoors. Compressors with electric motors may have limited output, and should be considered carefully to ensure they will produce a sufficient air supply. When possible, choose a compressor with a two-stage pump configuration. These compressors are generally much better at keeping up with the air consumption of high-demand pneumatic tools.

For more information regarding air compressor selection, please refer to our Air Compressor Buying Guide.

View PDF - Guide to Air Compressors

Ver PDF - Guia de Compresores de Aire

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