Different Types of Hammers & Their Uses

To say that the hammer is one of the most essential tools on the planet is an understatement. Anyone who … Continued

To say that the hammer is one of the most essential tools on the planet is an understatement. Anyone who has ever fixed, created, repaired, shaped, broken, split, or even fabricated something will say that they needed a hammer at some point in their jobs. From driving nails into the wood to breaking hard materials like rocks and even prying some stubborn nails from their attachment, hammers can do a lot of the things that your bare hands simply cannot do. The key, however, is using the right type of hammer for the job. That is why beginning handymen and DIYers should pay attention to the different types of hammers and how each one is used.

Claw Hammer

Everyone should have a claw hammer. It is a multi-purpose hammer that comes with a flat head intended for driving materials like nails and a claw that is perfect for prying nails and other objects. If one has to look at it carefully, the claw hammer is like a combination of a mallet and a crowbar. The face is perfect for driving nails, breaking hard objects, and even flattening certain materials like galvanized iron sheets. The claw or crowbar attachment is great for prying nails off wood and other surfaces. As such, it can also be used for separating two objects like two pieces of wood joined together by a nail. The claw hammer is typically used by those in the carpentry and woodwork industries, although electricians can also have their very own special kind of claw hammer.

claw hammer

Framing Hammer

This type of hammer has a long handle, a mild face, and a really heavy head which is generally used for driving extra-long nails into very thick materials like lumber. It is commonly used in the framing of houses; hence, the name. Unfortunately, the introduction of the nail gun has somehow seen the limited use of the framing hammer in many construction projects.

Ball Peen Hammer

When it comes to metalwork, craftsmen and engineers always go for a ball peen hammer. It looks like your claw hammer, except that the claw is replaced by a round-shaped or ball-like peen or pein. This is used in shaping and setting of rivets, rounding of the edges of fasters and metal pins, and expanding copper covers. The ball-peen hammer can also be used for peening welded metals. It is for this reason that the ball peen or ball pein hammer is also known as the machinist’s hammer. Interestingly, this type of hammer can also be used in chiseling.

Cross and Straight Peen Hammer

This is similar to the ball peen hammer, except that the ball is replaced with a straighter pein. Smaller cross peen hammers are generally used in driving nails without ever worrying about whacking your fingers while holding the nail in place. As such, these are also used in driving tacks. Heavier versions of the cross and straight peen hammer are used in the shaping of metals, just like the ball peen.

hammer and tools

Joiner’s Mallet

Not everyone considers the joiner’s mallet to be a hammer since the materials used in its construction is a bit different. Whereas conventional hammers are made of solid steel or metal, a joiner’s mallet will have a wooden head that is mated to a handle. This type of hammer is often used by carpenters and joiners especially when joining two pieces of wood together. Since the mallet also comes with a solid block of wood as the driver, it does not damage the surface of the wood that is being joined. It can also be used in knocking dowels and for driving a chisel.

Club Hammer

The club hammer looks like the gavel on a judge’s desk, although this one is definitely made of sturdier and heavier materials. This type of hammer typically has a dual face on its head and mated to a relatively short handle usually made of hickory wood or synthetic resin. The club hammer is used in light demolition work as it can easily break masonry or any other structure that needs bashing. You can look at it as the little brother of a sledgehammer and is very common those in construction projects. By the way, the club hammer is also called the lump hammer.

Sledgehammer

This has got to be the heaviest and toughest hammer on the planet. The sledgehammer is the big brother of the lump or club hammer with a long handle to allow for a maximum force that comes with a full swing. Some can be as heavy as 14 lbs and are typically used in moderate to heavy demolition work; although getting a jackhammer would definitely be better. This hammer is generally used for breaking up concrete, stones, rocks, and masonry. If these materials need further breaking, the club hammer is used.

There are different types of sledgehammers:

Deadblow

These are mallet-like sledges that are specifically used in partial demolitions. Maximum force can be delivered to the material without necessarily damaging the surface. Deadblows will only break the surface that it strikes on. You won’t see any cracks or visible damage in the surrounding areas. This is made possible by the unique design of the deadblow sledgehammer. Inside the head are steel fragments or lead shots that distribute power with each blow. The energy is transmitted only to a specific area of the material being hit. Because of these fragments, hammer rebound is also minimized.

hammer with magnetic nail holder

Machinist

Another type of sledgehammer is the machinist. It is usually smaller than a typical sledgehammer having only an 11-inch long handle. However, what makes it unique is the head. One face is square and is ideal for bashing or breaking other materials. On the opposite face is a downward angled steelhead. This hammer face is typically indicated in striking objects as well as splitting them more like an ax.

German Sledgehammer

This hand tool may have a shorter handle than its counterparts, but it sure is a lot heavier than most. On the average, the German sledgehammer tips the scale at 23 pounds. But the most striking feature of this type of sledgehammer is its more pronounced rectangular face. Because of the larger surface area of the hammer face, you will only need a few swings and blows with this hammer to drive an object. This sledgehammer can also come in custom versions. Some can be coated with non-sparking, anti-corrosive, or non-magnetic materials allowing them to be used in high-risk work environments.

Soft Steel Sledgehammer

The lightest among sledgehammers, the soft steel hammer is defined by thinner yet longer handles that can be as long as 3 feet. Soft steel sledgehammers typically weigh about 10 lbs, allowing them to be used in jobs that require minimal to no shearing. The handle on the soft steel hammer can be made of either wood, mostly hickory, or fiberglass.

Lathe Hammers

If you’re into cabinetry or any other type of woodwork or carpentry that requires finesse in terms of not damaging the elegant and beautiful surface of the wood, you’ll definitely want to get a lathe or soft-faced hammer. This is designed specifically to deliver blows to any material without causing damage to the material being hit; well, at least not extensively. The reason why they call it the soft-faced hammer is because the face is not really as hard like metal or steel. Most lathe hammers come with either firm or soft rubber face, although there are also options for a plastic or copper face. There are also lathe hammers that come with interchangeable faces so you can always put on the face that is ideal for the job.

Geologist’s Pick Hammer

You may have already seen geologists and even a few archeologists use this type of hammer. It looks more like a modified pickaxe, but with a flat face opposite the pointed end. Geologists call it the geological hammer, although common folks refer to it as the rock pick. As you can perhaps imagine, the geologist hammer is specially designed to break rocks or even split them apart. It’s an invaluable tool for examining the composition, nature, mineralogy, orientation, and strength of rocks. These hammers also uncover fossilized remains.

construction mallet

Blocking Hammer

Craftsmen in metal shops or those who love to fabricate metal objects especially aluminum always include a blocking hammer in their toolbox. These hammers come with an extra-large, square-shaped face that block or shape sheet metal before such material becomes permanently flattened. The large surface area of the face allows for the more efficient, almost blemish-free finish on metal works. The blocking hammer is a specialty hand tool so you really don’t expect this to be included in your garage toolbox or cabinet unless you’re planning on doing some serious metal work.

Roofer’s Hammer

As you may have guessed from the name itself, a roofer’s hammer is perfect for cutting, tripping, and snipping every single type of roofing shingle you may have on your roof. The head is typically made of solid steel while the handle comes with nylon vinyl material to help improve its grip. Majority of roofer’s hammers come with a fully-retractable cutting blade which further extends its versatility.

Scaling Hammer

One can look at the scaling hammer as the heavy-duty equivalent of a scraper. It still retains a flat face that is ideal for driving nails or even flattening and shaping certain materials. This type of hammer is what you will use to remove coats of paint, rust, and other materials or substances that may have accumulated on any surface. There are two fundamental types of scaling hammers: regular and heavy-duty. The latter is primarily intended for scaling, scraping, or removing really thick materials. Because of the unique design of the face, scaling hammers are also used in caulking, chipping, scrape-cleaning, casting and billet, removal of paint coats, and the removal of rust.

Upholstery Hammer

As the name suggests, upholstery hammers are used in securing upholstery materials into the frame of an object, usually a piece of furniture. Nails and tacks are often used in such work. Also called the tack hammer, upholstery hammers come with a magnetized face allowing for the stacking of tacks and driving them into place. Unfortunately, with the advent of automated hammers and staple guns, it is very rare to find someone still using an upholstery hammer. It would still be a nice piece to have, though, if you’re more into simple, non-mechanized tools.

Scutch Hammer

Folks in construction sites or those working with bricks and other similar materials often need a tool that will allow them to easily cut these materials in half or even quarters with greater precision. In woodwork, carpenters use a chisel. In brickwork, that job falls to the Scutch hammer. This hammer comes with a wedge that can have single or double grooves allowing for more precise cuts and better control.

Brick and Mortar Hammer

This type of hammer comes in two kinds. One is the rubber mallet that works more like a dead blow sledgehammer in that it will not create significant damage to the surface of the material that is being hit. It is generally used in knocking away massive blocks or slabs of concrete. The other type of brick and mortar hammer is the brick hammer. These hammers are known as chippers instead of full demolition hammers. The brick hammer is intended for chipping away at masonry in a gradual, more controlled manner.

rubber mallet

Drywall Hammer

A drywall hammer is a lightweight hand tool, no more than 13 ounces in weight that is ideal for working on drywall. The design of the striking face helps prevent impact dents on the surface of drywall which is typically seen in hammers with square-shaped faces.

There are hundreds of other types of the hammer that are typically named after the professions or the functions in which they serve. For instance, you may have an electrician’s hammer or even a welder’s hammer. Suffice it to say, there’s a hammer for every job on the planet. Picking the right one is, therefore, crucial to getting the job done right.

Sources:

  1. Different Types of Hammers, DIY Data