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How to Use A Hammer Safely? Proper Ways and Procedures in Hammering and Nailing

Updated on June 13, 2014
Hammering | Source

In industry, one of the most important hand tools is hammers especially in building construction, making wood works project and even in our home; hammer is one of the important tools that we should have. There are varieties of hammers with different uses, and the most common hammer we have in our houses is claw hammer. It got its name because of the claw that is forged in its head and most of the carpenter uses this kind of hammer.

Driving face of the hammers is slightly rounded so that the last driving blow will not spoil the surface of the wood that surrounds the nail. Its metal head weigh from 5 to 20 ounces, while in some manners, a 12 ounce head is good enough that is mostly found in school shops.

When hammer is not use properly its efficiency will be lessen. So make sure that the driving face is free from foreign materials like glue, grease, oil and other matter that may reduce its driving force. Grasp the end of handle tightly when driving a nail to make a full blow. But some beginners use the grip “choking the hammer” by holding the neck of the handle when driving small nails or tacks.

Some Types of Hammer
Claw Hammer
Most popular hammer
455-680g (16 to 24oz)
Ball Peen
Use by Engineers
55 - 1100 (4 oz up to 2 lb.) | 110 - 165g (8oz 12oz)
Sledge Hammer
Used for the heavier jobs
7, 10 and 14 lb.
Club Hammer
Useful for light demolition work, driving steel chisels and masonry nails
1135g (2 1/2 lb)
Joiner's Mallet
Used to drive chisels or to tap wood joints together
Types of Hammer
Types of Hammer | Source

What type of hammer do you use at home?

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It needs skill in driving nails squarely, when you will be starting to nail place it to a flat piece bench and stand in line at the edge and drive the nail until the point of it pricks through the piece of wood. In order to avoid splitting of the wood, do not nail near the edge of the wood especially when the wood is thin. And if you will nail a two piece of wood, put one of the pieces of wood in a vise and nail the other to it. If you nailed it poorly, pull the nail out and find a surface again to have another drive.

If curved, replaced it with a straight one, tap the upper part of the nail until it pricks which you wanted for it to go. If you wanted to have a nice work, bore it first before nailing it but make sure the diameter of the hole is smaller than the diameter of the nail to be used. It is also advice to use long nails to be bore in the end-grain than those for side-grain for it is stronger to use end-grain. And the best way to drive slender nails in tough wood is to have smaller holes than the diameter of the nails that will be use in nailing the wood.

If you wanted to drive the nail easily it is advice to use grease, oil or paraffin’s to the nails. In nailing cleats “stagger” the nails, put them in a zigzag pattern so that the wood will not break or split when nailing. After nailing the wood, turn the work over so that the top of the nail rest on a piece of metal. In clinching a carpenter insert less force in slanting blow to curve the point into the hook and pricks it into the wood. When you are working light works, another type of hammer is used against the top of the nail when you already drive the nail into the wood. In clinching a common wire nail, curve the edge of the nail around the bigger one with the use of hammer, and after that you remove the bigger nail as you finish the clinching process.

Another operation in driving a nail is by drawing the nail on the wood. By placing block below the head of the hammer and by adding blocks, the nail will comes out. If you have no nail-puller, pry up a board at a short range together with nails, and but inserting quick blow of the hammer, pound the board back into place while you strike the nail in between. In this way, the nails will project a little bit above in the surface of the wood. If you want the nails to be driven below the surface it is good to have a nail set, by placing your little finger in the wood and by holding it tightly it will prevent the wood slipping off the head of the nail. And if you are having a rough work, you need to use a nail that has the large head.

Reference: Basic WoodWorking by Arsenio J. Galauran


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    • KenDeanAgudo profile image

      Kenneth C Agudo 4 years ago from Tiwi, Philippines

      hello sheilamyers , Thank you and i am glad that you find this hub helpful. The wood split every time you hammer it? Good that you find the answer already. :)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      You mean I can't just use a shoe as a hammer? I'm just kidding. I do own a small hammer. Thanks for telling me about staggering the nails. I wondered why I was having trouble with the wood splitting when I was building my small entertainment center. Now I know. I'll have to remember this tip for any projects I try next.