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How to Choose the Right Hammer

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Written by Patrice Campbell   

The Right HammerThere is a right tool for every job, and a hammer is no exception. Not only will using the right hammer make the task easier, it will also prevent damage to tool. A good quality hammer can last a lifetime if it is used correctly and well maintained. That means using it for its intended purpose.

Tack Hammer

Like the name implies, a tack hammer is made for tacking. Some tack hammers are magnetic, allowing the tack to be held in place to get it started in the wood so that it can be driven in without smashed fingers.

 Claw Hammer

A claw hammer can be straight claw or curved claw.

The curved claw hammer is the one usually used by the homeowner for driving nails and for nail pulling when doing general carpentry work. The curved claw hammer is available in weights of 7 oz, 13, 16 and 20 oz. These weights are based on the weight of the hammer head. The 7 oz. hammer is for light tasks.

The convex head of the curved claw hammer helps drive the nails without damaging the surface of the wood. It also reduces the chance that the hammer will be deflected if the drive isn’t accurate.

The straight claw hammer is considered a ripping hammer. The claws fit between layers of wood and make rougher tasks like opening crates and dismantling easier. The usual weight of straight claw hammers is 20, 28 or 32 oz.

Sledge Hammer

A sledge hammer can be use for construction as well as destruction. The sledge hammer can weigh anywhere from 2 to 20 pounds. The versatile sledge hammer is available with a short handle for jobs like driving a splitting wedge into a piece of firewood to long handles for smashing anything from drywall and plaster to concrete.

The sledge hammer is also handy on construction sites to place large, heavy materials, like wall sections, into place.

Ball Peen Hammer

The ball peen hammer has two striking heads and is usually used for metal work. One end of the hammer has a round shape, while the other end is cylindrical. Although peening is seldom used in metal fabrication anymore, the original hammer was used in shaping and riveting. It is still used to shape soft metal.


The head of a mallet can be made of wood, plastic or even rubber. The mallet is used to drive a chisel or for shaping metal without harming the surface of the material being worked.  

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