A beginner's guide to hammers

When I used to do jewelry work, I had access to an assortment of light hammers for metalworking: rawhide, plastic, tiny little metal ones for dopping, etc. They were good when you needed to form thin sheets of metal that were softer than steel without driving your forming tool through the sheet.


I had no idea that ball peen hammers are used in metalwork. We always used the peen to finish nails when we didn’t want to put dents around it.

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No shrinking hammer love?

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Really? Did you not know about nail sets?

(I didn’t know they were for metalwork either, to be honest.)

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That is a lot of hammers…
Does everything look like this to you?


You forgot the meat mallet. Handy, literally, and useful in a pinch for adjusting and expressing anger.

I will now tell my personal hammer story of choice. When I was in art school we inherited a huge chunk of black granite in the form of a no longer useful laser table from the engineering department. Really big, 4x8 feet and more than a foot thick. It sat for years because no one could move it or dent it. One fine day when I was at the lab by myself I decided to attempt to break it up into smaller pieces. I took a sledge hammer and swung it down about a foot from the corner. Not much force, almost just dropped it. Kids, do not try this at home. That f*ing hammer took off over my head like it was going into orbit. i was barely able to hold onto it and my shoulders complained for a couple of days. Engineers; discuss.


I have a ball peen hammer that is an antique. A lot of people have them lying about because they are the biggest hammer in the shop and they often get used with a punch or chisel or to dislodge a rusty flywheel.

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You forgot left handed hammers. These are surprisingly hard to find!

Nut hammer

Alaska’s Hammer Museum


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Not to be confused with a Curry Mallet.

Just what do you mean by “hammer” ?

War hammer

Sometimes when the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a chunk of copper.

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Why is Captain Hammer posed in front a heap of giant cinnamon sticks which are apparently all balanced on end?

Flavour…for his hammer.

Can has upholstery/tack hammer?


Also (I only just learned this from the above link) there is apparently a thing called a ripping hammer that is like a claw hammer but less hook-like and more rip-tastic.

One thing I have always wondered is how it happened that in Germany our default household hammer is something like the one below, while in many other countries it is a claw hammer.