• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains the differences among choices for the carpenter's favorite with Kevin O'Connor.

    1. Framing hammers have long handles and heavy heads weighing up to 28 ounces. These ruggedly built tools are intended for framing contractors and homebuilders.
    2. Checkered or waffle-faced models help prevent the hammer from slipping off nail heads.
    3. A good general-purpose 16-ounce hammer comes in choice of handles made of wood, graphite or steel. Each is engineered to absorb vibration.
    4. Specialty hammers include models for working with slate shingles and wood shingles.
    5. A wood-shingle hammer has a measuring gauge and hatchet end for splitting shingles.
    6. A ball-peen hammer is used for metalworking. Its head has a flat surface and rounded end.
    7. Brick hammers are used to set and cut brick and stone.
    8. Always wear safety glasses when using any type of hammer.
    9. Grasp the hammer near end of the handle where there’s typically a comfortable curve or depression.
    10. When swinging the hammer, keep your eye on the nail head, raise the hammer high in the air and allow the weight of the hammer to drive the nail.
    11. Pull nails using a straight (a.k.a. ripping) claw or side nail puller.
    12. Curved-claw hammers provide more leverage for pulling nails.
    13. Place a scrap board beneath the hammerhead when pulling nails to increase leverage and protect the workpiece.
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