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A Guide to Hammers

You'll be in the swing with these handy hammers.

Pages in this Story:
Nail Hammer

Nail Hammer

Drive nails, tacks, and brads with a lightweight nail hammer like this 12-oz. model, shown at left. Grip the handle near the end for a powerful swing, and lay your thumb along the top for better control.

Woodworkers accustomed to putting pieces together with screws and glue might not think of a hammer as an essential tool. But even if you don't drive 16d nails, here are two hammers and a mallet that will earn their keep in your shop.

Nail hammer: the old woodworking standby

While most carpenters rely on a 16- or even 20-oz. nail hammer, a lighter one, say 12 or 13 oz., often serves cabinetmakers and furnituremakers best. One like the 12-oz. claw hammer, shown left, fills the bill for general woodworking use.

If you drive a lot of small brads or escutcheon pins, try a Warrington pattern hammer as your nail hammer. Instead of the usual nail-pulling claws, this one has a straight cross peen, shown at left. The narrow face makes starting small nails easy, as shown.

We like a hardwood handle--particularly hickory or northern ash--for a nail hammer. Wood absorbs shock for more comfortable use, and it's replaceable.

Grab a nail hammer for:
  • Driving nails, brads, and tacks.
  • Setting nails with a nailset.
  • Tapping a centerpunch to mark drill centers on wood.

Don't use it for:
  • Striking woodworking chisels, cold chisels, or star drills.
  • Driving masonry nails. (A heavier hammer is better.)
  • Pounding metal against an anvil.

Continued on page 2:  Dead-blow Hammer and Wooden Mallet


Comments (2)
rudolph.ken wrote:

Use an engineers hammer (ballpein) to strike anything harder than a wire nail. Carpentry hammers are harder and can shatter. I was in hospital one time with a diesel fitter who lost one eye knocking in his sons tricycle cotter pin. Please be careful.

2/2/2013 03:37:38 PM Report Abuse
stephenrreisi wrote:

You forgot to add the photos of the hammers in these three pages.

1/31/2013 10:48:57 AM Report Abuse

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