Every home contains at least one basic claw hammer, which is likely to be used, misused, and abused on a regular basis. It goes without saying that, like most revolutionary innovations that have been around for a while, we now take the hammer for granted. But, when you look at the history and evolution of the hammer, it’s a fascinating look at how human creativity came up with something and made significant improvements, even if those advances took millions of years. After millions of years, we’ve developed some incredibly sophisticated hammers, and even the most basic of today’s hammers are light years ahead of the first.
The original hammer said to have evolved around 3 million years ago, was essentially just a heavy, round stone, usually a hard stone like granite, carved by water in rivers or the sea. Other stones, like as obsidian and flint, were shaped using this ancient hammer to build hunting tools and fire starters. The stone was modified for a variety of tasks ranging from tool building to breaking apart shells and cracking bones for sustenance. The ancient adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies perfectly here, as the hammer hasn’t changed much in millions of years. Of course, no one knows what caused the first hammer upgrade, but it was so game-changing that we’ve kept it for the time being.
The first important advancement in the hammer is said to have occurred around 30,000 BC, thousands of years after the earliest cave drawings. The most significant change to the hammer was the use of a bone or a stick and some leather or other stringy substance to bind the hammer stone, resulting in the crudest version of what we understand today as a hammer. We now take it for granted, but this addition was a game changer, if not the game changer. The inclusion of the handle allowed for better control and hence more precision when employed, and the hammer would have been able to hit harder with less effort due to its increased leverage.
Despite the fact that this hammer was basic, a startling diversity of forms were created, which led to additional advancements and, finally, the usage of metal. Metal hammers undoubtedly propelled us into the modern era.
Metal was introduced approximately 20,000 years after the invention of the handle. The hammer and the majority of metal objects were made of bronze, kicking off the Bronze Age. Bronze tools were far stronger and more durable than their stone counterparts, and the hammer in particular became more trustworthy. It’s possible that not being bound together by string helped.
These bronze hammers were most likely employed for a variety of tasks, including metalworking. Around 2000 to 1800 BC, bronze gave way to iron, which led to steel, and the hammer advanced even more. Hammers were then designed for specific occupations such as carpentry, blacksmithing, and mining. Because of the strength supplied by iron, the hammer was adapted for almost any job.
The earliest usage for iron and steel hammers were probably blacksmith hammers, carpenter hammers, and even war hammers for use in conflict, but over the years, tradesmen and engineers have created more than 50 different types of hammers for just about every trade imaginable.
From soft faced mallets to hard dead blow hammers, the typical claw hammer we use at home is merely one in a long line of specialized instruments, so specialized that the electrician’s hammer is essentially a claw hammer positioned at a different angle. Today’s hammers truly are tools that make every job easier.
Few tools have altered and evolved as much as the hammer, and when compared to the original, it’s difficult to tell that the basic stone hammers contributed to what we use today.
Design of a Hammer
While there are numerous variations on the classic hammer, the two fundamental components are the head and the handle. The shape, size, and material of each of these pieces will differ based on their intended usage. A hammer blow’s force is directly related to the weight of the hammerhead, the length of the hammer handle, the force with which it is propelled down (or up), and good old-fashioned gravity. Many things in the modern world are taken for granted, but the ability to balance plain old-fashioned physical force with accuracy is not.
Creating the Hammerhead
Can you fathom the individual force applied to a hammerhead without considering the cumulative force applied over the life of a hammerhead? These hammer parts are formed by a process known as “hot forging,” which involves heating a steel bar to temperatures approaching 2350°F (1300°C). This procedure softens the steel bars, allowing them to be shaped into hammerheads using a variety of dies. One of the dies is stationary, while the other is pushed down with great force, exerting enormous pressure and molding the molten steel into the desired shape.
This is repeated several times till the finished product is created piece by little. When surplus molten steel is driven out of the dies, it can generate a “flash,” which is effectively unwanted steel that compromises the shape of the hammerhead. Due to the immense force at which the dies are brought together, this “flash” must be eliminated using trimming dies, which clamp the desired shape and cut off the superfluous material. Each hammerhead is cooled as a last quality check, and any rough places are manually removed.
When you consider the amount of force that a hammerhead will encounter during its lifetime, you could guess that this is not the end of the process. To avoid chipping and damage to the hammerhead, which absorbs the whole force of the kinetic energy released by downforce, the hammerheads are rapidly heated and cooled, changing the structure of the steel material. This assures that the impact area has a distinct grain type than the rest of the hammerhead and will not be harmed when utilized.
The next step is “shot blasting,” which cleans and smooths the hammerheads by firing small steel particles at high speeds, essentially smoothing the outer surface. The hammerhead is now finished and ready to be painted and polished.
Wood and metal are the most frequent materials for hammer handles, with the wood variety easily cut into the proper shape on a lathe. Following this, the wooden handle is clamped and a diagonal slit at the top is formed to connect the hammerhead and handle. The manufacturing of a metal hammer handle is identical to that of the hammerhead, with steel bars heated to tremendous temperatures and molten steel pressed into curved dies. Other materials can be added to the hammers’ centers to increase their strength and lifespan.
Once the hammer handles are finished, the wooden type is fixed using wedges and steel pins, and the metal handles are linked with epoxy resin. The finished product will next be visually inspected as well as tested for quality control. While all aspects of the hammer-making process are crucial, hardening the impact area is possibly the most significant – both in terms of safety and value for money for customers.
How to Safely Use a Hammer
A hammer is a versatile and useful instrument for a wide range of tasks. However, when using a hammer, you must take the necessary safety precautions and use the tool correctly to avoid injuring yourself or others. Wear safety eyewear to safeguard your eyes and make sure you have the correct hammer for the job. You can simply wield a hammer without injuring yourself with a little planning and attention to detail.
1. Before using the hammer, make sure it’s in good shape. If the hammer is rusted, the wood is splintering, or the head is loose, do not use it. Injuries can occur while using a hammer that is not in proper functioning order.
2. If the hammer is unclean, clean it before you begin. While inspecting the hammer, wipe it down with a clean cloth if you notice any dirt, oil, or debris. If you have oil or debris on your hammer, it may slip out of your hands when you use it.
3. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying objects. If a nail or other flying object strikes your eye, you could hurt or lose it. When putting on the safety glasses, make sure the entire eye area is covered and the strap is securely fastened.
4. To avoid harm, keep your attention on what you’re doing at all times. If you are distracted or daydreaming while working, you may inadvertently injure yourself. Maintain your focus on the hammer and stay present while you work. You are less likely to have an accident this way.
Types of Hammers and Its Uses
There are many different types of hammers which are all shaped perfectly to create an end result.
Because it is so basic yet so effective, it is no wonder that the claw hammer is one of the most often used hammers today. The hammerhead, which is popular in the construction sector and DIY market, is specifically curved with one side used to hammer nails into a material and the other side, split head, used to extricate nails.
The brick hammer, also known as a stonemason’s hammer, is meant to function as both a standard hammer and a simple chisel tool. The hammer’s blunt end is used to split stones and hard masonry, whereas the chisel shape is used to round off the edges and smaller pieces of stone.
The framing hammer is easily confused with a simple claw hammer, but there are several significant differences. The framing hammer is substantially heavier, roughly double the weight of a regular claw hammer, and is designed to strike huge nails with considerable force. When hammering in huge nails, the substantially longer handle, along with the gripping impact head, ensures less slippage. The claw element is also straight rather than curved, with a greater emphasis on separating materials such as skirting boards, etc. than extracting nails.
While hammer welding as an art form is rapidly fading from the modern world, a welder’s hammer is a handy memento of days gone by. With a pointed tool and a chisel tool on either side of the hammerhead, this instrument is used to remove waste material from around a weld.
There are some small distinctions between several different hammers that are precisely perfected duplicates of the conventional claw hammer. The claw tool on an electrician’s hammer is at a different angle, and the head is polished tempered steel for impact force. The handle is built of high-strength fiberglass that can withstand several strikes.
The drywall hammer is a novel instrument that may be far more useful than it appears at first glance. The conventional impact head has a beveled waffle design that allows you to hammer nails into drywall without damaging the outside layer. It also gives the wall a beveled effect, which is useful for applying new layers of plaster, etc. The other side of the hammerhead contains a basic nail extractor, an axe-shaped sharpened edge for scoring, and a helpful hook to allow many persons to carry drywall strips with their hammers.
Soft face hammer
A soft-face hammerhead is composed of non-ferrous materials such as wood and plastic, and it has two impact regions and a shaft made of wood, rubber, or fiberglass. The “soft” materials utilized limit bounce back because they absorb the great majority of the impact energy. They are, in many ways, a smaller version of the classic mallet designed for use in more delicate situations.
The tack hammer is used to secure upholstery with little nails or specialty tacks. The two sides of the hammerhead might differ from the usual smaller impact area to one that is magnetized for assistance in setting the tack or a little nail remover akin to a claw hammer. These hammers are compact and ideal for softly fixing upholstery.
The sledgehammer requires no introduction! With a reasonably broad head and a long handle, you can get substantial impact speed, which is ideal for jobs like smashing boulders and driving fence posts into the ground. The hammerhead is larger than usual, constructed of metal, and can withstand high impact force.
The blacksmith’s hammer has a fascinating history that dates back many centuries. It is effectively intended for multipurpose forging, allowing a blacksmith to bend and chip away at highly hot metal components in order to create a specific product. This is a specialized tool that is not intended for general usage.
In its most basic form, a bushing hammer is an essential masonry tool for texturizing stone and concrete. The hammerheads of these tools have a variety of little pyramid-like shapes that imprint onto the concrete and stone. They are used for decoration or to improve traction/adhesion where additional labor is necessary.
The task of hammering bolts or big screws into materials such as utility poles is typically connected with the lineman’s hammer. The structure and design may appear to be quite simple, but the idea is the same, with two rounded hammerheads and a handle designed to absorb impact – typically improved with rubber grips.
As you might expect, a mechanic’s hammer is useful for removing dents from automotive panels. The design differs greatly from that of a standard hammer, with a metal flat hammerhead complimented with a pointed impact tool. It’s a thrill and an art to watch a mechanic remove dents from a car panel.
A chasing hammer is not like your typical hammer, having a long rounded handle and a hammerhead that comprises of a flat impact region and a ball-peen. When used for metalwork and riveting, it provides a good combination of good old-fashioned force as well as the ball-peen tool required to sink rivets flat with the surface.
The ball-peen hammer, also known as a machinist hammer, is used in metalworking and has a small hammerhead with a flat impact surface and a rounded head tool. This is one of numerous hammers used for riveting, providing a one-stop instrument for punching the rivet into the metal and rounding it off.
The tinner’s hammer, which is forged from a single piece of metal, is primarily used in the metal roofing business. The hammerhead also has a slightly beveled flat head and a rounded cross peen. The rounded edge is ideal for hammering rivets into the roofing and sinking them.
The prospector’s hammer, more typically associated with geologists, has a flat edge hammerhead for breaking stones and a chiseled type tool for more intricate work. These are the kinds of hammers you see in movies where experts dig for fossils. They make breaking and chiseling look so simple!
While the toolmaker’s hammer is obviously associated with toolmakers, it is also used in a variety of other environments. While the size and material of the handle can vary, the hammerhead is the same with a flat impact area and a rounded tool. A magnifying lens is placed right below the hammerhead, providing an eye-catching appearance.
The dead-blow hammer, also known as a sort of mallet, is ideal for usage in small places. It is intended to minimize any damage to the contact area while also providing minimum rebound, which is useful when space is limited. This sort of hammer is made up of two similar hammerhead tools and can be used for a range of purposes.
Railroad-spike maul hammer
The railroad-spike maul hammer is a precision tool for hammering railroad spikes onto railroad track. The hammerhead and handle are both rather thin, yet the design, length of the handle, and hammerhead allow for maximum impact force.
The stone sledgehammer, as the name implies, is typically used to shatter large rocks into smaller pieces. When maximal impact force is required but precision is not critical, the long handle and relatively tiny head are ideal. This is the kind of hammer that relies on brute force.
The blacksmith’s sledgehammer, like many other blacksmith’s tools, has a long history and is used to form metals such as iron. The broad flat metal head and long grip enable for great impact force to be generated. While brute force is used to shape different pieces of metal, precision impact is also required.
The half-hatchet hammer is basically a hybrid between an axe and a hammer that provides the user with a number of alternatives. It is also known as a rigging axe and can be utilized in a variety of everyday situations.
A trim hammer, as the name implies, is more delicate than a standard nail hammer. These hammers are popular in the carpentry sector since they are small and lightweight. When hammering nails flush, the polished steel head and smooth texture leave no marks on the surface.
The club hammer is a tiny variant of a sledgehammer used for breaking down masonry, stones, and demolition operations. It can also be used as an impact tool while cutting stone/hard metal with a chisel if precision is not necessary.
Boiler scaling hammer
The name says it all: a boiler scaling hammer is an essential equipment in the toolbox of fitters and welders. The hammerhead is constructed of hardened metal and has a horizontal and vertical chisel head, making it ideal for removing scale from boiler plates. It can also be applied in other situations.
The piton hammer, also known as a rock climbing hammer, is similar in design to a basic metal spike that may be pushed into small cracks and crevices when rock climbers ascend a rock face. They have been around for a long time, but they provide a strong anchor and are one of the most crucial climbing aids.
The scutch hammer is commonly used in the construction sector for cutting and chiselling bricks, however it is not your standard hammer. The hammer comes with a single-ended or double-ended scutch that enables for the use of particular cutting accessories.
The gavel hammer has a centuries-long history of attracting the attention of the crowds to those in power. This small compact wooden hammer, commonly used by auctioneers, judges, and at public meetings, can undoubtedly demand control of any space!
Rubber hammer / rubber mallet
A rubber hammer, often known as a rubber mallet, is an exceptionally useful instrument when soft but firm strikes are required. This hammer is often used in upholstery, woodworking, and sheet metal work. Because the rubber head causes minimal damage, this hammer is ideal for forcing material into place, such as plasterboard.
There are several hammers used in the blacksmith trade, and the blocking hammer is one more to add to the list. Despite the usual wooden handle, this hammer has a flat square head on one side and a cylinder shaped head on the other. The blocking hammer is an excellent instrument for shaping metal on an anvil or a block.
The brass hammer, as the name implies, is a brass cylindrical double head that is ideal for striking steel pins into various materials without hurting the surrounding region. While it is useful in a variety of situations, it is most commonly used in the automotive industry and traditional woodwork shops.
Cross Peen hammer
The cross peen hammer is made up of a regular hammerhead and a wedge-shaped alternative. Those who have accidentally hit their fingers while attempting to position a panel pin or tack into wood or plasterboard will appreciate this hammer. The wedge side enables you to “start” the pin or tack without risking finger damage. The typical hammerhead allows you to complete the task.
Cross Peen Pin Hammer
The cross peen pin hammer is a smaller version of the cross peen hammer that is better suited to wood and not metal or other hard materials. It features the same small classic hammerhead and wedge head as the other tools and is more suitable for light joinery and complex cabinetwork. The cross peen pin hammer’s small weight makes it perfect for working with soft materials.
The engineering hammer is a tough, long-lasting instrument that has traditionally been used for locomotive maintenance and other similar tasks. It has a rounded head and a cross peen, making it perfect for tricky repairs. Ball peen hammers and rounded double head hammers are further examples of the phrase.
The hatchet hammer is a combination of a hammer and an axe. The axe blade is wielded in the same way as a standard axe, but it also has a classic hammerhead on the other side. In theory, the hatchet hammer can be useful in a variety of situations, although it is most commonly linked with survival/emergency situations. Over the years, the ability to cut with an axe and hammer in a traditional manner has saved many lives.
A planishing hammer is a small hammer that has traditionally been used to fine-shape and smooth metal. It has two comparable hammerheads, one slightly convex and the other with a peen point and a cylindrical die. Because of the design of the hammerheads, it is feasible to exert significant force while causing minimal damage to the metal.
A power hammer, as the name implies, is capable of exerting tremendous pressure by using compressed air to propel a massive piston. The hydraulic system is ideal for shaping steel and other similar materials that are less flexible when shaped with more typical hand hammers. When you consider that the piston head can go up and down up to 200 times per minute, you can see the potential power.
The Rip hammer, as the name suggests, is employed not just in construction but also in demolition. Some describe it as the professional’s answer to a claw hammer because it is heavier in weight and the claw component is straight rather than curved like a traditional claw hammer. This has to be one of the more durable hammers used in construction and demolition for tasks ranging from digging holes to demolishing wood and brickwork.
A rock hammer is commonly used in geology and excavation. It allows you to not only chisel out stones and bricks, but also crush tiny rocks with the flathead. We’ve also seen different types of rock hammers used by bricklayers to loosen and split brick work joints. The pick hammer’s length has also proven handy while digging narrow holes.
The scaling hammer is an odd-looking tool that consists of a vertical chisel and a pick. This hammer is highly good for removing not only scale and rust, but also incredibly hard coatings that can accumulate within boilers over time. Because the points are relatively thin, you can get beneath the surface of the scaling/rust and draw it out.
The shingle hammer is a cross between several hammers and is commonly referred to as a roofing hammer. It has a spiked and squared head, and it usually has a little claw for ripping out nails. The spike is used to make nail holes in shingle and slate that would otherwise shatter and break if a standard hammer was used. After drilling the hole, the square head is used to push the nail through the slate/shingle and secure it to a roof or similar structure.
Spike maul hammer
This is a typical hammer used to drive spikes into the earth that hold train rails in place. There are two varieties of spike maul hammers, one with a square tapered head that matches the main driving block and the other without. There is also a bell version with two long thin cylindrical heads, one thicker and one longer. It is impossible to grasp the enormous amount of work required to install track and guarantee that each spike is securely in place.
Straight peen hammer
The straight peen hammer is quite similar to the cross peen hammer and is ideal for shaping metal and nailing. The main difference between this and a cross peen hammer is that the peen (the pointy end) is parallel to the hammer shaft rather than vertical. The size and variance of the peen, as well as the block hammer end, might vary.
Knife edged hammer
A knife-edged hammer is essentially the same as an axe with a flat square hammerhead on the opposite side. It is quite easy to cut and split wood with the knife edge, while the flat surface is useful when looking to hammer the wood. The combination of softening the wood (or driving a wedge into it) and splitting with the knife edge is ideal.
Rock climbing hammer
Rock climbing hammers, also known as wall hammers, assistance hammers, and giant wall hammers, are essential tools for rock climbing. They enable the climber to attach and detach pitons, copper heads, and fixed anchors. The hammerhead’s pointed end assists in positioning/loosening the anchors (bolts), while the blunt end is ideal for pounding them home.
Splitting maul hammer
A splitting maul hammer resembles a cross between a sledgehammer and an axe. The axe head is sharpened and is used to split wood. The sledgehammer side of the hammerhead can be used to pound the wood or, more typically, to press a wedge as deep as possible into the wood, allowing the axe tool to enter. Both sides of the head are designed in such a way that they are less likely to become stuck in the wood.
A slaters hammer is a very handy tool that has a claw head for removing nails, a sharp pointed head for punching holes into slate, and a sheer edge that allows the slate to be molded to fit properly. There is also a traditional hammer-shaped head that allows the nails to be hammered in place. That’s four tools in one!
While dentistry has advanced in recent years, it was not long ago that primitive dental hammers were used during treatment. They were traditionally one cylindrical shape with two flat ends, or two flat discs put either side of a steel ball. We can only image how painful they must have been, yet they were employed to condense filler material following therapy. It’s unclear what kind of success rate they had, given the pressure and constant tapping on the filling and teeth.
We’ve seen many various sorts of reflex hammers throughout the years, but they always produce the same result. Modern reflex hammers, with their rubberlike heads, are used to evaluate reflexes by tapping on a deep tendon. Because the hammer head is made of a rubber-like material with varying shapes, it can deliver significant force while causing no actual damage. Chest percussion is also done with reflex hammers.
Hammer and Chain
While hammers and chains are available in a variety of sizes and materials, they are most commonly used for fire alarms. We’ve all seen the panic glass on storage facilities, complete with chain and hammer. It only takes a sharp jolt with the hammerhead to eliminate the risk of being cut when using your hands.
War hammers are probably exactly what you think they are: strong hammerheads on long shafts with a lot of leverage. The style evolved over time, but the foundation was always a sharply pointed head (akin to an ice axe) and a standard hammer block. The spike would inflict substantial harm on a person, whilst the hammerhead did not even need to breach armor to cause a potentially fatal concussion.
Copper and Hide hammers
While copper and hide hammers are not as well-known as the other ones on this list, they are excellent for shaping metal without penetrating it. The hammerhead has a copper side and a rawhide side. This enables metal, such as vehicle bodywork, to be reshaped without causing harm. It may be old-fashioned, but it is extremely effective!
A lath hammer is used to shape the thin flat strips of wood that form the foundations of a plaster wall. The axe head shapes the wood, the notch aids in nail removal, and the classic hammer-striking head is used when hammering nails into the wood. Lath hammers are made of metal and have a rubber handle that absorbs impact pressures.
Many people will be shocked to hear how far back we can trace the use of hammers, starting with stone and progressing to various forms of metal. Individual hammer design, angling, and structure are perfectly aligned to produce the desired impact force. They are also available in a variety of materials, some of which are considered “soft” in comparison to the classic hard hammerhead.
Despite the availability of many automatic hammers and other comparable goods today, the good old-fashioned claw hammer and its many contemporaries continue to play an important role in the construction industry and in everyday life!