ManMade Essential Toolbox: The 3 Hammers Every Man Should Own

created at: 05/14/2015

Think of a hammer as a primitive tool? Think again. Though it sorta performs the same function as some Cro-Magnon fellow bashing stuff with a rock, it’s actually a remarkable piece of industrial design that dates back thousands of years, and has been relatively unchanged since. Respect.  

And there are dozens of kinds of hammers – everything from the common claw to the bush hammer to a pane hammer and a cross-face hammer. And that’s saving the subject of mallets for another day. 

 

created at: 05/14/2015

So, which do you actually need? In the ManMade workshop, we use three common hammers to can accomplish most tasks, and they’ll serve you well… ’til you start blacksmithing or framing houses for a living. 

created at: 05/14/2015

1. The Claw Hammer – The thing you think when you think hammer. This is the most well-known of hammers, and for good reason: it’s super versatile. Common tasks are exactly the ones you already know: driving and pulling nails, wedging apart nailed wood or cases, and light demolition work.

Look for a model in the 13 to 16 oz range for general use. Oh, and get a wood handle. Composite and metal handles are solutions in search of a problem. Wood is still best. 

ManMade Recommended:

 

created at: 05/14/2015

2. The Ball Peen Hammer – Designed mostly for metal working and machining, these guys feature a flat head on one side, and a ball-shaped peening face on the other.  Most modern metals don’t require peening any more (hardening by striking), but the rounded face is good whenever working with metal (like on your bike or car), or with metal hardware. Great for striking chisels and punches. 

Look for an 12 to 18 oz head and a handle that feels good in your grip.

ManMade Recommended: 

 

created at: 05/14/2015

3. Cross peen hammer – Designed for smaller hardware, the cross peen hammer is the traditional tool of cabinet and furniture makers. The thinner, straight peen allows you to start small finishing nails and brads, even upholstery tacks, while avoiding smashing your fingers, and helping the fastener to enter straight and bend-free. 

created at: 05/14/2015

This guy might seem frivolous alongside a claw hammer, but once you’ve used one, you’ll be convinced. I wouldn’t start a woodworking project without one, and I always throw one in my tool bag when working on a job outside my shop. 

ManMade Recommended:

 

created at: 05/14/2015

The most important thing with any hammer is that it feels right – as in safe and effective – in your hand. If you hate it, give yours to someone and find one you love. It’ll last a lifetime. 

Here’s the links to those models again, all in one place. 

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created at: 05/14/2015

 

What are your favorite hammers? Anything with a good story? Share with us in the comments below.