types of carpentry hammersHammers are useful tools that are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and weight.  Every household needs to have some sort of hammer, and the different styles indicate the variety of uses of this valuable instrument.

Traditionally, hammer handles were made from wood, as this allows for easy replacement, if and when necessary.  Today, hammer handles are built into the head, as this creates a natural shock absorber, each time the hammer is used.

Let us take a closer look at the different types of hammers on the market, and their primary uses.

Types of Hammer Used in Carpentry

Claw Hammers may be the most familiar, and these are commonly used for all types of general work, the handle can be made from hickory, steel or glass fiber, and they sometimes have a rubber hand grip.  This tool has a special “V” shaped cut out that is used to pull nails from a workpiece.

Ball, Cross and Straight Peen hammers are commonly used by engineer’s, to shape metal pieces, and also to close rivets.  They weight between 4 ounces and 2 pounds.  The handle is usually made from Hickory or Ash wood.

A Pin Hammer is basically a lighter (no more than 4 oz.) version of the above mentioned peen hammers, and these are perfect for cabinet work.

Club Hammers are also referred to as Lump Hammers, and these are helpful in light demolition.  This type of hammer weighs between two and three pounds; and the handles are made from synthetic resin or wood (Hickory)

A Sledge Hammer is used for heavy jobs, such as breaking up stone or concrete.  For best results, it is recommended that you swing this hammer like an axe.  Due to the fact that debris can become airborne, it is also recommended that a person wear protective gear when using a sledge hammer.

Mallets are unique; as they do a job (such as tapping wood joints together) that metal faced hammer would not be effective in doing, and more than likely will cause damage to the workpiece.  You will notice that there is a slight tapering at the head, to help with being effective in their designated job.  The handle and the head of a mallet are made from wood (usually Lignum Vitae or Beech)

Special Hammers include Brick Hammers (used for splitting bricks), Veneer Hammers (used for tapping/pressing veneers in place), Woodcarving Mallets, Spring Hammers (used mainly by makers of picture frames) and Upholster Hammers (ideal for driving nails and tacks into confined areas).

Power Hammers are also known as ‘powered nailer’s; and these type of hammers are useful in fixing floorboards, decks or other areas where many nails will be needed.

Important tips and advice for working with hammers

  1. Always use the best hammer for the task at hand, as it will not only make your job easier, but it will not cause damage (to either the workpiece or the hammer).
  2. If you find that the hammer head slips off the nail, use medium grid sandpaper, and roughen the face of the hammer head.
  3. When hammering delicate pieces together, put a pieced of scrap wood between the hammer and the work piece to prevent damage.
  4. Timber is known to shrink in dry weather conditions.  If you notice that a timber hammer handle looks and feels loose, submerge the hammer head, overnight, in water.  This will cause the handle to expand and naturally tighten the head.

Whether you are “handy” or not, every home should have a hammer – or two.  Which is why, this great tool makes a useful and unique house-warming gift.