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I saw some of these wicked-looking crowbars while browsing the big orange store back in April. Curious, I fired off an e-mail to Stanley about a review, and they happily obliged me with a free tool.

At 15.25″ / 38.74 cm long, the 55-119 is the shortest crowbar in Stanley’s FuBar line. It weighs in at 2.56 lbs / 1.16 kg and consists of a single piece of forged steel covered in a baked-on high-visibility yellow finish and wrapped in an 8.5″ / 21.6 cm medium-hard black rubber handle, which I split with a razor and removed for the photo above, so you can see what’s under the hood.

Features include a ground, hardened hammer-face, a board-grabbing jaw sized for nominal two-by lumber, and a fairly conventional pry-bar head at the pommel. But instead of a split end nail puller, the FuBar line sports a scalloped teardrop-shaped slot for pulling nails.

Now, about the name “FuBar:” Stanley insists it stands for “Functional Utility BAR,” but, well, we all saw Saving Private Ryan, right? Testostero-marketing elements like the naughty name and fantasy-battleaxe styling all seem rather carefully calculated to appeal to geekier, desk-bound men of the WoW generation, of which I generally count myself one. And in my case, at least, it works: Let’s **** something Up Beyond All Recognition! Not only will I be well-equipped to hang Xmas lights outside my house this year, I’ll be well-armed to fend off the neighborhood’s annual ninja-gang attack.

In fact, the actual uses to which I put the 55-119 were somewhat less exciting. Over the course of two months, it has hung on the pegboard hooks that usually hold my trusty claw hammer, which is staying at a motel until we can work things out. I used it for light-duty home improvement work and “demolition,” which consisted mostly of driving and removing nails on the interior and exterior walls of the house, and knocking down a couple of shipping pallets for a forthcoming reclaimed-wood project.

As a pry-bar, the 55-119 comes up short, quite literally. 15″ really isn’t long enough to make an effective lever for most demolition purposes, and I have a hard time imagining a situation (other than perhaps for hanging the tool up for storage) where the two-by board jaw would really be that useful: Sure, you can grab a 2-inch plank with it, but you’re going to throw your shoulder out of socket trying to pry on just about any construction using 2-inch lumber with a 15″ lever.

Even in the relatively light duty of pallet demolition, the hammering and nail pulling functions proved to be vastly more useful than the pry-bar. If I were going to buy a FuBar for any purpose besides driving and pulling nails, I’d go for one of the longer models.

As a replacement for my claw hammer in these functions, however, the 55-119 FuBar works well. In fact, I think I actually prefer it for strictly claw-hammer jobs: It pounds just as well, and pulls nails quite a bit bitter, IMHO—perhaps because of the seemingly increased leverage inferred by moving the nail puller down to the pommel, or by the improved action of the nail-puller slot over a traditional claw.

Plus it looks way cooler. Seriously: The appearance of a tool makes a difference in the pleasure you take in using it and, perhaps more importantly, in the impression it makes as a gift. And from a strictly functional point of view, the bright yellow finish makes it much easier to find when you drop it in the flowerbed.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just got one of these to use for a renovation job on my living room ceiling.  The old tiling had been nailed to furring strips over the original plaster ceilings.  The two-by board jaw was particularly handy in my case for handling the 8-14 foot furring boards once they were free. I’m impressed, it combine my claw hammer and pry-bar into one tool.  My biggest problem was that with he hammer head having such a low profile I was unable to keep it in the hammer loop of my tool belt, however that’s probably more of an issue with the loop being too large.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just got one of these to use for a renovation job on my living room
    ceiling.  The old tiling had been nailed to furring strips over the
    original plaster ceilings.  The two-by board jaw was particularly handy in my case for handling the 8-14 foot furring boards once they were free. I’m impressed, it combine my claw hammer and pry-bar
    into one tool.  My biggest problem was that with he hammer head having
    such a low profile I was unable to keep it in the hammer loop of my tool
    belt, however that’s probably more of an issue with the loop being too
    large.

  3. Groth says:

    I would like to have had one of these when I was framing houses.
    Sometimes lumber has a twist that can be taken out when it’s nailed down. Our method was to shoot a nail in part way, hook the nail in part way in the hammer claw, use the hammer as a lever to twist the lumber into line, and nail in place. With this tool’s two-by board jaw, you could simply grab the board with it, lever and nail. Note that the tool’s length allows it to fit between the common 16″ spacing.

  4. Based on the pictures it looks like it was forged, always a good idea.  The other thing to test is to see if the typical 3/4″ black pipe ‘leverage enhancer’ can be slipped over the end.  I saw these at the store as well and thought that they may not be useful as a hammer.  After your review I may have to rethink that…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very useful for remodeling/demo work, and the name doesn’t hurt, either! Wife got one for my birthday (the gray finish, not yellow), and we both enjoy using it.

  6. It needs a nail puller claw at the business end to get better leverage for pulling out long nails.

  7. been using one for some time really enjoy it — most uses is the claw 2×4 to twist those stubborn boards– in a pinch hammer and a few nail pulls

    as far as the name — i think it was before saving private ryan in the movie — Tango and Cash the word FUBAR was used first — even though SPR was set in WW2 but was made in 98 T&C was done in 89– i don’t really know of the reference was really from WW2 or some strange minded marketing guru at Stanley enjoyed T&C or SPR who knows  !!

  8. Anonymous says:

    As Groth says-

    Its really intended as a framer tool, if you have ever done that for a living, I have.
    It is meant to twist joists/rafter etcs. true beforfore nailing down..this is a handy tool
    for that purpose.  As far as having a badass demo use, check out a Truckman Ax.
    http://www.ustape.com/servlet/-strse-Truckman-Fire-fdsh-Demolition-Axe/Categories

  9. Jim H says:

    You’re joking, right?  You don’t honestly think the term fubar was made popular by saving private ryan….right?  Like…come on, man.  Get your facts right!  Die hard made it popular in the 80′s….not saving private ryan.

  10. Timothy Cooper says:

    Fubar goes back way further than any movie. I first heard it in high school, back in the early ʻ70ʻs, from friends who had brothers in the military. Itʻs an acronym- F***** Up Beyond All Repair was the meaning I learned. Similar to Snafu- Situation Normal, All F***** Up.
    T.C.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The version I know ends with “beyond all recognition”. 

    2. Jim H says:

      It definitely dates back further.  As I said, it was made most popular by Die Hard.

      Other than the factual inadequacy, this is a fantastic review, and I went out and bought one on the weekend and I’m quite satisfied with it.  It’s an excellent product!

  11. Timothy Cooper says:

    Fubar goes back way further than any movie. I first heard it in high school, back in the early ʻ70ʻs, from friends who had brothers in the military. Itʻs an acronym- F***** Up Beyond All Repair was the meaning I learned. Similar to Snafu- Situation Normal, All F***** Up.
    T.C.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wikipedia to save the day:

    The Oxford English Dictionary lists Yank, the Army Weekly
    magazine (1944, 7 Jan. p. 8) as its earliest citation: “The FUBAR
    Squadron… FUBAR? It means ‘F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition.’”

    A milder alternative is “Fouled up Beyond All Recognition.”

  13. Morydd says:

    This looks like a more friendly answer to the Dead On Annihilator demolition hammer. Which I have and love.

  14. barleyhollow says:

    I’ve had one of these for several years. I got it for my first demolition project at home, and it made the project lots of fun. Mine’s gray, though. The yellow is new. You didn’t mention the drywall “blade”! The skinny bit below the hammer head cuts drywall. Just swing into it with the hammer head, and it cuts along nicely – great fun for opening walls. It was originally an advertised feature.

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