Hammers and nails have been colliding for thousands of years, so there really shouldn't be any mystery in how to strike the latter with the former. Yet, there is. Good hammering technique begins with properly starting the nail. Choke up on the handle of a 16-ounce hammer—a good, all-purpose size—and give it several light taps. Gripping the handle near the butt, deliver steady blows by swinging from the elbow, not the shoulder, and letting the weight of the hammer do the work. The forearm and wrist remain stiff throughout the swing until the very end, when you snap the wrist for extra oomph. Instead of hammering the nail flush, and risking mauling the surrounding wood, leave the head protruding and countersink it with a nailset.