Hammers: Selecting the Right Hammer for the Job Part 1 – Common Construction Hammers

Hammers: Selecting the Right Hammer for the Job Part 1 – Common Construction Hammers

Hammers: Selecting the Right Hammer for the Job Part 1 – Common Construction Hammers

If your not an expert craftsman how do you select the right hammer for the job?

With over 250 different hammer varieties on the market today, selecting the right one can be confusing. Below you will find the 4 most common hammers for general purpose and light duty use. You should at a minimum have the standard General Purpose hammer in your toolbox. It’s a great versatile tool and can be used for most purposes.

General Purpose Hammers

The Common Hammer

The common hammer is a robust tool capable of most work a homeowner or handy-person can throw at it. It’s able to drive nails with ease thanks to it’s robust striking head and its curved claw allows the user to pull out nails easily. Its available with wooden, metal or fiberglass handles and is an essential part of any tool kit. If you only purchase one hammer this “jack of all trades” should be the one you go with.

Ripping Hammers

The Ripping Hammer

The ripping hammer is the big brother to the common claw hammer. Its heavier weight makes driving nails easier and its typically used for framing. These hammers are often available sold with textured striking plates to minimize slipping when striking fasteners. The claw is flattened out in comparison to the common claw hammer which allows the hammer to wedge more easily between boards and helps facilitate prying boards apart. While this hammer is well suited to framing and heavy construction work it’s construction makes it a less optimal choice for light duty use. Like other claw hammers its available with wood, metal and fiberglass shafts. Wood is generally the preferred shaft for professionals as it provides a good balance between strength, longevity and shock absorption.

Finishing Hammers

The Finishing Hammer

While the ripping hammer is the big brother to the common claw hammer the finishing hammer is its younger brother. It’s lighter head allows for the more precise control required to drive smaller fasteners without bending them over. It often features a smaller diameter head and shorter handle making it ideal for use in tight quarters. The striking face is smooth to minimize marring of the surface. If you already have a claw hammer I’d suggest going with a lighter weight finishing hammer to round out your toolbox. Like the other hammers in this section its available with a wide variety of handles and grips. Since its primarily used for lighter duty use shock absorption isn’t as big of an issue for the wielder so I suggest picking the hammer that feels the most comfortable in your hands.

Tack Hammers

The Tacking Hammer

Even smaller yet is the tack hammer. This hammer is designed exclusively for driving small fasteners. It usually features a shorter handle and light weight head. The head often has a slotted magnetic receiver which is useful for starting small fasteners where it would be difficult to hold the nail by hand. The magnetic head is also great for those times when you accidentally drop your nail in a difficult to reach area. This is the hammer to choose if your repairing upholstery, assembling picture frames or other light duty work.

Tired of sore fingers and you don’t own a tack hammer? Try pushing your fastener through a strip of heavy paper. You can hold the paper while keeping your fingers clear of the hammer. Once the fastener is driven simply pull the paper away!
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