All About Hammers and Fastener Removers

Learn about the different types of tools used to drive nails and remove nails, and find out which tool is right for your job.
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©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Claw Hammer

This versatile tool is used for lightweight or heavy-duty fastening. Take time to choose one with a good "balance" and grip. The grips are usually made from wood or vinyl (shown here). Ergonomically shaped handles will ensure that you get a hammer that you can use efficiently. The curved claw is designed to lever out old nails.

Ergonomic Claw Hammer

This modern-design hammer's firm handle and curved shaft makes striking and levering easier and more comfortable.

Drywall Hammer

Designed specifically for fastening drywall, the flattened peen is used to tuck in trimmed edges of board. The groove is used to lever out misplaced nails.

Masonry Hammer

The heavy head of this hammer has a cross-peen design with a flat and square striking face and a wedge-shaped peen.

Ball Peen Hammer

Also known as a ball hammer. It is used mainly for metalwork, the rounded face of the ball is used to shape metal and to apply a dimpled finish. It has one flat and one rounded striking face. The handle is normally made from fiberglass.

Wooden Mallet

Commonly used in carpentry to strike a chisel. The strike face is angled to deliver square blows to the end of a chisel. A metal hammer might break the handle of some chisels, and it is easier to strike a chisel accurately with a mallet because the face is larger.

Two-Pound Hammer

Also called a lump hammer, it is the heaviest hammer that can be used with one hand. It has a large striking face, and is used commonly with a chisel to split bricks. In addition, it is useful for driving large nails into landscape timbers.

Pin Hammer

This is a very lightweight hammer, used to drive in small fasteners such as panel pins and tacks. The wedge-shaped face is good for working in tight corners.

Sledgehammer

A large hammer that can be used to break up masonry surfaces such as old hardcore or paving. It is also a driving tool, and may be used to pound in posts. Wear a hard hat, steel toe boots, gloves, and goggles when working with a sledgehammer. Because of the hammer’s weight, the shaft is held in both hands. Head weight ranges from 6 to 16 pounds.

Nail Set

This tool enables you to recess a nail just below the surface. Nail sets are available in several sizes and weights to suit varying nail sizes.

Hammer Care and Maintenance

It is important that you keep a hammer’s striking face clean, to prevent it from slipping during use and therefore striking inaccurately. The easiest way to keep your hammer in good condition is to rub its face from time to time with a piece of sandpaper.

Pliers

These are very useful for small-scale work, since they enable you to get a good grip on the fastener. The toothed jaws have a curved section for gripping and side cutters for cropping wire. The scissor-like arms help to grip the fastener.

Pincers

Use these to remove lightweight fasteners and large nails. Grip the shaft of the fastener with the pincer jaws and rock the pincers to lever the fastener free. The curved jaws assist rocking lever motion.

Pry Bar

You can use a pry bar to remove heavy-duty fasteners. Use the same technique as with a claw hammer. A pry bar is also suitable as a wrecking tool, to lever out or to break down masonry or woodwork. The hooked end allows large items to be levered out, the flattened, chiseled end can be positioned into narrow gaps.