One in particular increased the length of the eye to put more "meat" in
that end of the handle. In my experience, the greatest risk of flying
hammer heads is handle breakage.
I am definitely going with Mike here.
Prying and pulling are terribly hard on a wooden handle. But there is
Simple pounding, especially on an unyielding "target", will wear a
Overstrikes, hitting the handle against a solid object under the eye,
by accident, can be deadly to a handle in one stroke.
Strapped handles were popular before the turn of the last century, and
still are when you or someone else's life depends on it. Rock climbing
and firefighting come to mind for emergency tools.
In general use, a strapped hammer lasts until you lose it, leave it
out in the rain for a season, or someone steals it.
Bell pein and many other small hammers are made from special uber
hard steel (about the same as ball bearing steel) and weld poorly.
Anything in the sledge or ax family though, welds just like a dream. ;-)
Box 409 Happy Camp, Ca 96039