8 Tips for Using a Hammer Correctly

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Today we are going to share with you:

How to Use a Hammer Like a Pro!

Almost every family has a hammer or two, and almost everyone imagines that they know how to use one. Like painting walls, driving nails with a hammer is something everyone thinks they can do.

After all, a hammer is just a simple hand tool, not a power tool like a circular saw or drill, so what technique could there be to using a hammer?

It would surprise you.

Here are eight essential tips for using a hammer correctly. Most likely, you will learn something you did not know.

Choose the Right Hammer

A hammer is a hammer ...

Truly. The hammer found in most homes, and a decent option for overall versatility is the 16-ounce curved claw hammer shown here. If you plan to have only one hammer, this is a good option. But if you're looking for a slightly lighter version of this hammer, consider its little brother, the 13-ounce curved claw hammer. A smaller hammer will be easier for many people to control.

Most homeowners can steer clear of specialty hammers like the 20-30 oz. These are for professional carpenters or very experienced DIYers who are doing a lot of carpentry or demolition work. Framing hammers look similar to standard claw hammers, but the claws are straighter, the handle is longer, and the head is considerably heavier.

Note that both types of claw hammers are designed to hit hardwood and nails. They are not made for hitting stone or concrete and should not be used to drive in steel masonry chisels or other metal objects.

Some of the other specialty hammers to consider:

  • Tack hammer: This tool usually has two striking surfaces at either end of the head; it is used for driving small brads and tacks, such as carpet tacks. Some tack hammers have a magnetic head that can hold tiny tacks by the head to make them easier to drive.
  • Ball peen hammer: This hammer has one flat-faced head and one rounded head; the specially hardened steel is designed for metalwork.
  • Mason hammer: This is a hammer that has a striking face on one side and a chisel-shaped cutting pick on the other side. It is available in many sizes.
  • Mallet: made of wood or rubber; designed to strike wood without leaving damaging marks.
  • Drywall Hammer: This tool has a small ax face on one side of the head which can be used to knock holes in drywall. The other side of the hammer has a flat face for driving drywall nails.
  • Cub hammer or sledgehammer: These are different sizes of the same basic hammer design—heavy-headed tools used for demolition or masonry work.

Let us now consider some useful tips on using the curved claw hammer.

Wear Eye Protection

Since it is not a power tool, most people do not realize how important it is to wear eye protection when using any hammer. But nails can deflect and fly into your face, chunks of concrete or wood can break off and be thrown, or chunks from the hammer face itself can chip and fly out.

It's a very easy protection measure to wear a lightweight, inexpensive pair of eye protectors whenever you're hammering. Never go without protection for your eyes.

Hold the Hammer Correctly

Get used to holding the hammer correctly. Do not "choke" on the hammer and hold it by the neck so that a nail hits it. Nothing sends the message "I have no idea what I'm doing" like using a hammer-like that.

To hold the hammer correctly, hold it near the end of its handle. Get used to the feeling. Shake it lightly in your hand. A well-crafted hammer will have good balance and a small sweep or flared section at the end of the handle to help support it.

After holding the hammer correctly, you are ready to strike.

Hold the Nail Properly

A very common mistake when starting a nail is holding it close to the bottom, against the wood. This is exactly wrong because if you lose the tip of the nail (and you will, especially when you're a novice), the hammerhead shark will most likely smash its fingers into the wood.

By holding your nail close to the top, you have a little leeway and are less likely to hurt or break your fingers when accidents happen.

Swing Correctly and Hit the Nail

While this sounds obvious, the goal when using a hammer is to hit the square of the nail on the head. However, if you have ever seen a beginner, you will understand that this is not as easy as it sounds.

The proper procedure:

  1. Hold the nail near the top, just below the head, with the sharp point positioned where you want to drive the nail. Hold the nail perfectly perpendicular to the nailing surface.
  2. Position the hammerhead centered on the nail head.
  3. Pull the hammer back primarily with the movement of the elbow, along with a slight backward bend of the wrist.
  4. Watch the nail head (not the hammer) as it rotates forward in an accelerated motion. As soon as it makes contact with the head of the nail, there should be a slight forward movement of the wrist. The blow should not be violent, just a gradually accelerated blow.

Once you learn to nail, you will find that using a few smooth, well-placed blows is far more successful than trying to savagely hammer a nail with great force.

If you observe a good professional carpenter at work, you will notice that most of the force applied when using a hammer comes from the action of the elbow and shoulder, and the energy comes from the thrust of the hammerhead.

Beginners, on the other hand, tend to use an excessive amount of flexion of the wrist muscles when hammering, leading to inaccuracies and too much stress on the wrist over time.

Tip: Blunt the Tip of Your Nail

If you find that your nails are splitting the wood (most common with narrow pieces of hardwood), try dulling the tip of the nail before nailing it. Wood splits because the fibers bend and deform as the nail pushes its way between them.

The point of a blunt nail tends to cut into wood fibers rather than bend them, making the nail less likely to split the wood. However, note that the holding power of the nail is slightly reduced with this method, as it cannot hold as tightly if the wood fibers are cut.

How do you dull the tip of the nail? A tried and tested technique is to turn the nail with the head resting on a hard surface and the point facing up. Then tap the tip of the nail lightly with the hammer to dull it a bit.

A slightly blunt nail is no longer difficult to drive and will almost never break the wood.

Tip: Drill Pilot Holes

Another method to avoid cracking, as well as to make nailing easier in dense woods, is to drill a pilot hole in the wood, using a drill bit slightly smaller in diameter than the shank of the nails you are using.

Like challenging the nail tip, drilling pilot holes will slightly reduce the holding power of the nails, but it is a good technique when installing trim frames or other jobs that do not require maximum holding power.

Make the Last Blow Count

If you examine the face of a hammer, you will notice that the blower head is slightly rounded and convex in shape. This profile is designed so that you can drive the nail head level or slightly below the surface of the wood on the final blow of the hammer.

If you calculate how long the hammer hits correctly, the last hit will bring the head of the nail just below the surface of the material you are driving.

If done correctly, the shape of the hammerhead will slightly countersink the nail, but will not damage the surface of the wood. If you look at a skilled finishing carpenter, you'll see that the hammer's final blow is powerful, designed to lightly countersink the head of a finish nail.

Done correctly, there is no need to trace and countersink the nail heads with a nail holding tool.

Enjoy The Video

Source: The Building Sheriff

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