Hammer Tips

We explain the many different types of hammers out there that each serve different purposes.

Types of hammers

There are many different types of hammers that each serve different purposes; from the cross pein hammer, a traditional cabinet maker's tool to the scutch hammer, commonly used for cleaning up bricks/removing old render. The most useful hammer in the home is the claw hammer. However this hammer should not be used to hit a chisel. A wooden mallet would serve this purpose better. A good substitute is a rubber furniture tip (costing about $1) which can be slipped over the face of a claw hammer.

Buying a hammer

When held in the hand, the hammer should feel comfortable and not top or bottom-heavy. A 20-ounce (566g) hammer is pretty ideal for most handy people, however a basic rule is the smaller the person or the lighter the job, the lighter the hammer. Handles of hammers come in many different materials including fibreglass, rubber, steel and timber. While fibreglass is lightweight and strong, a loose head can be really hard to tighten up again and steel is more of a durable tradesman's tool. Timber (especially Australian Hardwood) is often the preferred choice.

Using a hammer

  • When removing a nail that is already half way out, place a wooden block between the head of the nail and the timber to create leverage surface and to protect the surface of the wood from hammer claw marks.
  • If a nail has lost it's head or is very difficult to remove, fit the claw around the nail and lever it sideways, disengage the hammer and fit it again continuing the rolling/levering action. Use a paint scraper underneath to prevent damaging the timber.
  • When nailing in a high place, wedge the nail into the claw of the hammer so that the pointed end of the nail is pointing outwards. Reach up and tap the nail into the wood. The nail will drive into the surface and hold itself in place. Turn the hammer around and finish driving the nail all the way.
  • To fix a loose wooden handle soak the handle head and the top of the timber in linseed oil for at least 48 hours. The oil will soak into the timber causing it to expand and retightening the head.
  • Finally, keep the hammer face nice and clean and use a slow and steady stroke

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