If I Had a Hammer

Next time you look at a hammer, just think, it is the tool that first differentiated between humans and animals. Hammers were the very first tools humans shaped and used, and not even the most intelligent species of ape has managed to achieve that.

Even in today’s world, if you need to provide a sharp impact from your arm to an object, then there is no better tool than a hammer.

Anatomy of a hammer

Here is a description of the parts of a hammer:-

  • The FACE is the flat surface that hits the object. Depending on the hammer, this surface can be flat or rounded, and it can be made from hardened steel, copper, wood, plastic or rubber. Some hammers even come with interchangeable faces.
  • The POLL is the vertical section that surrounds the face. It defines the size of the face and provides the hammer with the strength it needs to impact objects at speed.
  • Not every hammer has a NECK, but those that do have one allow you to hammer accurately into difficult areas.
  • The EYE of a hammer is the tapered area where the handle and hammer are joined. This should be regularly checked to ensure that it is not loose or damaged, or the hammer could literally “fly off the handle”!
  • The CHEEK is the middle – and also fattest part of the hammer. It is the material that provides the outside of the eye. It is also where the brand name, weight or any information about the hammer is usually positioned.
  • The TOP of the hammer can be another tool, like a claw, a ball or a variety of other useful complimentary tools. It could also simply be the part that provides balance to the strike of the hammer end.
  • A hammer HANDLE is usually shaped into a good hand-grip and is often covered with non-slip material such as rubber or silicone. The length of the handle is proportional to the size and weight of the head and it provides the equivalent of an extension to your arm, allowing you to hit an object harder than you could if you just held it in your hand.

Types of Hammers

Knowing what each one can be used for, should help you make the right selection of hand-powered hammers for your household or workshop. These are just a few:-

  • The Claw Hammer – This is the most common household hammer. The tapered claw end is primarily used as a lever to pull nails or tacks out of wood.
  • The Soft Face Hammer – Used for applications where a harder hammer would mark surfaces like copper, chrome, plastic, soft woods and fabrics. It can also be used on tiles and other breakable objects.
  • The Ball-Peen Hammer – The ball end is used for very accurate hammering, like centre-punching, or for shaping soft metals into rounded forms.
  • The Sledge Hammer – A long handled hammer with a large, heavy striking area. It is often used in conjunction with a log splitter to break up firewood as well as hammering large objects like bolts into softer material like wood.
  • The Rubber Mallet – A big headed, small handled, rubber hammer primarily used for knocking bricks and pavers into place.

Always remember that a hammer can cause injury to fingers, finger nails, toes and even bones, so be careful and stay aware of the dangers hidden in this ancient, and most useful of man-made objects. Always use safety glasses when using striking tools.