"I haven't counted since I opened, but I've been making a mental note of what I've added and taken away," said Pahl, adding that his current renovation, "which should have been finished yesterday" in late June, will help him increase the tools on display to 2,200.
His hammers come from everywhere, he said, "people leaving them on the front steps."
There are meat tenderizers, cigar box hammers, decorative glass hammers displayed in a window, one with a glove for "a cobbler without a hand," mallets, coal picks, hammers for saw-setting, stone-sculpting, ship-caulking, log-chipping, and hundreds of other uses.
A photograph on a wall shows the "gravity-drop" hammer from Pennsylvania that was used at a Bethlehem Steel plant at the turn of the 20th century.
"They only used it for a couple of years," Pahl said, "because it was shaking all the surrounding buildings apart."
He's even displaying an "almond tree knocker," for people who harvest the nuts but have only a few trees, he said.
Some of the implements on the museum walls aren't hammers, exactly.
"The key word is impact," Pahl said, explaining why a golf putter was hanging on the wall. "If it is designed to make an impact, it is included."
The big hammer in front of the museum is homemade. The head was fashioned from foam-insulation board and then fiberglassed, while "the handle was shaped from a log from a tree that had fallen across the road from my house," he said.
So many of Pahl's hammers, including the big one, are not for driving nails.
When he and his wife, Carol, were digging a foundation in 2001 for the formerly derelict building that houses the museum, they came across a stone hammer, or warrior's pick, used by the Tlingit [pronounced KLING-it] people indigenous to Southeast Alaska.
Pahl viewed the pick's discovery as a sign that the museum was the right idea.
A Cleveland native who arrived in Alaska after graduating from high school in 1973, Pahl lived in Seward for the first eight years, and met and married Carol there.
In 1980, the state held a land lottery. They won a site about 30 miles outside of Haines near Mosquito Lake. Until the museum opened in 2002, their house held Pahl's substantial tool collection.
To demonstrate tools in action, there are mannequins using a hammer in some way, including a cobbler at work, and a craftsman working a log with a chisel.
The mannequins were part of a long-ago exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, which the Pahls visited on vacation a few years ago. He introduced himself to the curator, one thing led to another, and Pahl was offered the mannequins.
"I got an estimate of $800 a mannequin to ship them back to Haines," he said. His alternative: A Smithsonian van transported them to the Pahls' hotel, which loaned him a vacant ballroom to work in.
Pahl cut the mannequins apart, shipped the lot via the Postal Service for $300 total, and reassembled them in Haines.
Almost every implement on display comes with a story, but the one with the happiest ending is really a piece of driftwood that closely resembles a hammer.
Pahl "accidentally sank my pickup truck" in the boat harbor, and his dog, Polly, was trapped in the cab with the windows closed.
A man jumped into the cold waters, swam to the truck, and tried to break the windows with his hand. A friend of Pahl's on the beach tossed the driftwood "hammer" to the rescuer, who broke a window and freed Polly unhurt.
When the truck was pulled from the water, the driftwood "hammer" sat on the top of the cab, Pahl said.
"I've walked along the beach for years looking at thousands of pieces of driftwood, unsuccessfully, for something shaped like a hammer," he said.
"I don't know why he didn't toss it away after he had used it to rescue Polly."
Museum address: Box 702, 108 Main St.,
Haines, Alaska 99827
Hours: Open from May to September.
Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @alheavens.