Hammer buying guide
Joan, Young art-school graduate, Cardiff5 guides
Landing a solid blow feels good, but it takes the right hammer. It’s one of mankind’s oldest tools but we now benefit from modern advancements. From the mallet to the sledgehammer, discover the art of the blow and the hammer.
What is a hammer?
Which type of hammer do I need?
- Carpenter’s hammer: The most common and most popular. Whether it is used to sink a nail or just to accompany you on a construction site, everyone knows it. With a steel head and moderate handle length, these hammers can sink nails of any size and are equally suited to cabinetry, carpentry, and construction.
- Clawhammer: On the heads of these hammers, opposite the striking surface, is a slotted flat or claw that is used for removing nails. It is also called an American hammer.
- Electrician’s hammer: It has an elongated head with a similar shape to a Carpenter’s hammer. Its smaller size makes it easier to manoeuvre in the tight spaces common in electrical work.
- Glazier hammer: Useful for working with glass. The flat impact surface can be placed along fragile glass surfaces while sinking a nail. These hammers usually include a claw opposite the impact surface for removing nails.
- Roofing hammer: Essential for laying shingles and other roofing materials. The head of these hammers is offset to help to hold and tape shingles and roofing tiles into place.
- Riveting hammer: It has a thick head and a rounded impact surface that leaves no mark if used properly. The end opposite the impact surface is triangular with a rounded end.
When to use a mallet
Sledgehammers: heavy and powerful tools
What about the sleeves?
- Bi-material: Combines flexibility and strength and are robust while offering a good amount of comfort.
- Tri-material: These are uncommon but have very high quality. They combine robustness, comfort, and safety with their unbreakable head. They are commonly made of fibreglass, polypropylene, and elastomer.
- Plastic: Stronger than wooden handles but not usually as comfortable as they don’t absorb shock as well as other materials.
- Wood: Hardwoods, usually hickory or ash, absorb vibrations well. They are comfortable but require some attention to extend their lifetime. Regular cleaning and oiling, especially where the handle secures the head of the hammer will help to avoid unnecessary splitting, slippage, or wear.
What about the heads?
One last tip
For DIY enthusiasts interested in knowing how to choose the accessories related to hammers, follow the advice of our editors and discover their Guides:
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- How to choose a hammer stripper
- How to choose an electric planer
- How to choose wood care products
- How to make a drawer
- How to choose hinges
- How to choose an entrance door
- How to do roof maintenance
- How to build a garden shed
- How to maintain your garden shed
And to work safely:
Joan, Young art-school graduate, Cardiff 5 guides écrits
Much of the work I do comes out of my passion for DIY. I've always been interested in making art from found objects or recycling materials to make something totally new.
I like to spend time carefully considering my next project - there is a clear logic to my creative process, even though the end result might seem to appear out of the blue. For me, DIY is about innovation. For example, I recently built a mobile greenhouse so I can take my plants on the road and last year I invented a water purifier constructed from recycled cans.
DIY is for everyone. You can move at your own pace and learn just as much from your mistakes as your successful outcomes. I like to experiment with breathing new life into used items, whether that's re-threading worn screws or making furniture from scrap metal.
It doesn't stop there - I enjoy sharing what I've learned with others and am happy to give advice on innovative ways to tackle any DIY challenge!