Tool Review: Stanley 55-119 FatMax FuBar

Workshop
Tool Review: Stanley 55-119 FatMax FuBar

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.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Tagged

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan

ADVERTISEMENT

Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

FEEDBACK