Choosing the right hammer for a specific job is the sign of a good DIY-er. Hammers are designed with different heads and different weights for a reason. The most common type of hammer, the Claw Hammer is fine for the majority of general DIY tasks, but it is important to be able to recognise when a more specialised tool is needed.
Probably the most common hammertype, the claw hammer is a good general hammer, being versatile and of medium weight. The “claw” is usually curved and split for prying out nails. The claw can also be used as a lever for jobs such as lifting floorboards. Claw hammers are available in a variety of weights, from 450g to 680g, and with a variety of handles.
Ball Pein Hammer
The ball pein, or engineer’s, hammer come in a wide range of sizes and weights and are designed for use with metal. The head comprises one flat end and one rounded end. This rounded end is designed for shaping metal and closing large rivets. Weight’s available range from 55g to over 1100g. Handles are usually made from wood, with a metal wedge holding the head in place.
Cross Pein Hammer
Again, designed mainly for shaping metal, the cross pein hammer can also be useful for hammering panel pins and tacks. Available in very small, as well as more average, sizes. Handles are often wood, but glass fibre versions are available.
The pin hammer is actually a small cross pein hammer, used mainly for joinery and cabinet making. Especially useful for starting small panel pins and tacks. Pin hammers weight up to 55g.
Club Hammer (Lump Hammer)
Heavy, short handled hammer with a double face head. Club Hammers are used for light demolition work, driving chisels, etc, where using a sledge hammer would be difficult. Weight is usually around 1100g. Club hammers usually have a wooden handle, but are available with resin handles.
The big daddy of hammers, the sledge is a pure demolision tool. Perfect for breaking up concrete, masonry, etc, or for driving stakes for fencing. When working with a sledge hammer, you should let the weight of the head do the work for you. Weights range from 7lb up to 14lb.
Joiners mallets are designed to be used to drive chisels and knock wooden joints together. A metal hammer would mark wood, so the wooden head is essential.
Soft-Faced (rubber) Mallet
Rubber mallets can be used for joinery work like a joinery mallet, but also when working with materials such as chrome, plasic or copper, when a metal faced hammer would cause damage. Some rubber mallets come with interchangable heads for different tasks.
Often called nail guns, or staple guns, power hammers are very useful if you have a large amount of nails to drive. Tasks such as laying floorboards, decking and stud walling can be made a lot easier with a power hammer. Can be expensive.