Basic Hammer Types
Many homes, offices and workshops are apt to have at least one hammer handy for driving nails, removing nails or pounding of any kind that requires a little power and force. What one may not realize is that there are many different kinds of hammers, each designed for specific jobs.
Guide to some common types of hammers and their uses:
This is the traditional hammer one is apt to find in almost every tool box or on a shelf in the garage. It is used to drive nails, remove nails and in most other carpentry projects. It has a blunt side for pounding and a split claw on the other side for removing nails, staples or tacks. The claw hammer comes in a variety of sizes and usually has either a wood, fiberglass or steel handle. The average household probably could not function without this handy tool.
The head has one flat round face for driving in nails and a claw for pulling them out. The handle may be wood, but more commonly is metal or glass fiber. It is used for general purpose carpentry, especially for sinking long, large nails. Its weight ranges from 16-24oz (450-675g). A 16oz (450g) claw hammer is suitable for most jobs around the home.
Cross-pein / Warrington Hammer
The head has two faces, a round one for driving in nails, and a tapered wedge face to start the nails off. It is mainly used for light hammering and furniture making. The weight of a cross-pein/warrington varies from 4-16oz (110-450g). An 8oz (225g) is a useful size.
This is the name given to the smallest size of cross-pein hammer, used for delicate work, such as putting in panel pins or gimp pins. It weighs 4oz (110g).
This is the hammer to use for bending or shaping metal. It can also be used to remove dents in metal, such as a minor dent in an auto body or a metal storage shed. The ball peen hammer comes with either a wood or graphite handle and can weigh anywhere from four to 32 oz.
When extra force is needed, a sledgehammer is the ideal tool of choice. Sledgehammers are useful for driving stakes, pins and wedges. This handy hammer can also be used for demolition. It comes with a wood, fiberglass or steel handle and can weigh from approximately 2-20 pounds.
A rubber mallet is the type of hammer to use when one is working on piecing wood together or working with any fragile material. Any time the project calls for force, but a metal hammer might cause damage to the material being worked on, and there is hesitation about leaving marks, using a rubber mallet will prevent marring or scarring. Rubber mallets also have many other uses.They can be used when installing tent stakes, working on gardening and landscaping projects, installing a fence, placing edging in borders and walkways and changing a tire to protect the rim.
Buy good quality tools. Cheap hammers may have loose heads, poorly hardened striking faces, badly formed claws and weak handles, making them dangerous to use.
In addition to the most common hammers described above, there are many other varieties of hammers designed with specific uses in mind that will assist the do-it-yourselfer or handyman to most efficiently get the job done. When you match the hammer to the job, you are likely to get the best results.