Types of Hammers
At some point in any project, you will be attaching, dismantling or assembling what you have been measuring and sawing. That where the hammer comes in. Depending on what your doing, there's an appropriate hammer for the job.
Carpenter's Hammer - The carpenter's hammer is available in two patterns.
The claw hammer is made with a curved claw, better suited to pulling nails.
But for those who will also be ripping boards out, the ripping hammer, with its straight claw, will more easily fit between boards. Both are used to drive or remove nails. They come with wood (usually hickory), steel or fiberglass handles and in a variety of face styles and weights.
Finishing Hammer - A 12 to 16 oz. finishing hammer is recommended for small workshop projects and general use, and 18 to 24 oz. hammers for heavier framing work. Finishing hammers are those with smooth faces.
Tack Hammer - This is useful for driving tacks and brads. Some have magnetic heads.
Ball Peen Hammer - The face of this hammer is rounded, with beveled edges. The other end is a ball-shaped peen for metal working.
Mallets - These tools are used primarily for striking other objects, notably chisels, or to form sheet metal. A soft-faced mallet is used with wood and plastic-handled chisels.
Sledge Hammer - This is necessary for heavy work on concrete, or for wood splitting in conjunction with a wedge.
Nailset - This device, used with a hammer, is for pushing the nail below the surface of the wood when you don't want it to show.
Nails - Nails range from the smallest, thinnest brads to large, weighty spikes. Just be sure you are using the correct nail for the job at hand.
Tips on Hammering
- To withdraw a long nail, place a block of wood under the hammerhead for extra leverage and to avoid marring the wood.
- Use safety goggles when hammering metals. Often chips fly from steel chisels, or nailheads break off.
- Whenever possible, drive the nail through the thinner piece of wood into the thicker one. Use a nail that is at least twice in length the thickness of the thinner piece of wood.
- Pre-drilling a pilot hole that is slightly smaller than the nail thickness prevents splitting the wood and is recommended for hardwoods (oak, maple, etc.) or near the ends of boards.
- Blunting the point of the nail with your hammer before driving it also prevents splitting. Do this by tapping the end of the nail while the head rests on a solid surface.
Most Common Mistakes
- "Choking up" on the hammer handle reduces leverage and usually disables the head from striking flat against the surface being struck.
- Not pre-drilling a pilot hole before nailing or screwing into hardwoods or near the ends of boards.
- Using extra-leverage items to tighten clamps.