Hank Rearden
I"m going to compare some hammers and some pro and cons the way I see it. Comments welcomed.

Let's start with a few general terms relating to the basic head of the hammers. There's the Striking face, bell or poll, neck, eye or adze, cheek and the peen.

The image below demonstrates the distance from the center of the eye to the striking face. The hammer on top has a noticeably shorter distance. Here's what's not always understood. The ability to control consistent and accurate blows will be easier with the top hammer. The main reason for this is because there is less change in the face of the hammer if the handle twist in your grip. To visualize this  draw a bulls eye on a piece of paper. The center represents the centerline of the handle when looked at from the top of the hammer head.  The first circle in the bulls eye represents the short hammer the outside circle represents the longer hammer. Now take and draw two lines to the center of your bulls eye making a triangle that looks like a slice of pie. You'll notice the distance where the inside circle intersects the lines of the pie are about half of that of the outside circle. That mean the difference in accuracy when you land your blow on hot metal. 
  (Note both hammers weight 1500 grams or 3.3 lbs.)

hammer faces depth.png  

When the face of both hammers are placed kissing you'll see that each has a compound curve. the center of the face is a larger radius that gets tighter toward the edges of the face. Then as the curve around from the face to the bell/poll it can tighten up as much as a 1/4" or 1/2" radius. This allows one hammer to wark as many depending on how you land the forging blow.

Here's a secret. You can dress your hammer face to fit your needs. examples ball shaped or curved vertically or horizontally, aggressive or mild. The answer is determined by you. You can shape the faces with a belt sander and flap disc on a hand held grinder. I use a hand held grinder that is stationary and move the hammer face to get the desired contours.  Most new hammers will need to be dressed a little after you purchase them to remove shape angle left in from manufacturing. While some high end forge hammers are already polished.

The German pattern is on the left and the Swedish pattern is on the right.

hammer faces fs.png

The image below compares a small French Pattern to the larger German pattern hammer. That little French pattern hammer has a rectangle face that's mostly flat and a short neck. The distance from the face the handle. Surprisingly The light weight and short neck of the French hammer make it ideal for cleaning up hammer marks. At least that's how I use it. Plus it's easy to swing.

hammer faces ff.png 
Here I'm comparing the German pattern to the craftsman's 3lbs. engineers hammer. The face is round and flat. That makes it perfect for striking top tools or chisel work. I don't use a forge hammer for these task because it can damage your hammers face.

hammer faces rf.png 
Below the German hammer is compared to a Diamond rounding hammer. The rounding hammer is double faced with a round ball shaped face and a round flat face.  

hammer faces fr.png 
Striking face of different  hammers designed for different work.

hammer faces.png 

Peens of the hammers.

hammer peen.png
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