How to Use a Hammer


A hammer is the most popular tools owned by the average person, including DIYers and professional contractors. It is made up of a head usually made from heavy metal and a handle known as the haft or helve. The hammer has one primary function; it is used to drive nails into wood or metals. There are different types of nails that can be used for other purposes, including breaking rocks and removing nails. Most hammers are built with a steel head that has been treated with heat to harden it and a handle made of wood or plastic.

The hammer handle is contoured and has a bulge around the middle. It is usually designed with tough and durable materials that can absorb shock waves from the hammerhead. Different types of hammers differ in shape and sizes and are used for various purposes including the claw hammer, mallet, sledgehammers.

Hammers have been in use for centuries, and it has improved over time, giving the user much control over it. The first hammers were built without handles; it just had sticks wrapped with leather attached to the stones. Now the hammer is the most common tool used for building, protection and even for food. To know more about how hammers are designed, see How are Hammers Made?

When using the hammer, both your hands and the hammer plays a part. The usual way to use a hammer is to swing it above your head and bring it down to hit the head of the nails. However, the hammer has its momentum in that when it travels towards the nail, it gains impulse and transfers its energy unto the nail or surface it’s in contact with. Despite how popular the hammer is, a lot of people don’t know how to use it safely. In this article, we’ll look into the safe ways to use and handle a hammer.

Types of Hammer

There’s a wide variety of hammer used for different projects and different purposes. There are some specialized hammers that perform other various tasks. Below are a few of the different types of hammers

Claw Hammer

The claw hammer is a multifunctional hammer that is built to punch and remove nails. One side of its head has a flat and smooth surface, and it used to strike the nail head or a surface. The other side of the head curves down and divides to form a “V”, this part is used to remove nails from wood.

Sledge Hammer

This hammer is much bigger and heavier than the regular hammer. It has a large and flat head and a long handle. It is so heavy that it has to be handled with two hands and force used to hit the surface requires the swinging action of your torso. It is mostly used in demolition projects to break drywall or masonry walls.

Hatchet Hammer

The hatchet hammer is a single-headed hammer that looks a lot like the axe. Its head has a sharp blade at one side that is used to cut wood, and a hammerhead on the other side used to push nails or break wood.


The mallet is also a type of hammer made of rubber or wood. It has a large head with a striking surface softer than steel. There are many different types of mallet made from various materials like wood or aluminium used for unique purposes. See Types of Hammers for more about the different types of hammers available.

How to Use a Hammer to Drive Nails

The first thing to do when using a hammer to drive nails is to locate the spot you want the nail to be. Once you’ve found the spot, hold the nail against that spot with one hand and then use your hammer to gently drive it into the wall until you can no longer hold the nail. When doing this, use very light swings and little force to push the nails. After your hand is removed, use the hammer to push the rest of the nail into the wall, use bigger hits to push the nail in completely.

If you need part of the nail hanging out, be careful not to push the nail too deep into the wall. If the nail is deeper than your desired depth, you can use the claw side of the claw hammer to pull out the nail, but you may likely bend the nail or ruin your wall.

As a beginner, you should not take big swings when using the hammer because using too much force may destroy the material or cause accidents. Start by using little force to drive the nails. To do this, hold the hammer very close to the nail and hit it softly. This helps you achieve your desired angle and improves consistency. When you have mastered the technique, you can now use more force to drive nails.

How to Safely Use a Hammer

If you are new to DIY projects that require hammers, the first thing you need to learn is how to use it properly. The best way to learn how to use this tool is to understand the process and practice each technique patiently. Below are the ways you can use the hammer accident-free.

  • Before you use your hammer, check if the hammerhead is properly attached to the handle. If it has a wooden handle, check to see if the wedges securing the head are not loose. You can use a smaller hammer to push the loose wedges back in place.
  • It is advisable to wear a pair of safety glasses if you are working with materials that may chip easily. This is to protect your eyes from flying debris or dust.
  • The importance of protecting your hands when using the hammer cannot be overemphasized. Wear thick gloves to prevent chipped materials or splinters from getting into your skin.


The hammer is a very common tool and has been in existence for a long time. There are many different types of nails made from various materials. Some are designed with a wooden handle while some have both the head and the body made of metal. When using the hammer, it is important to follow safety precaution to avoid injury. To become a professional at using the hammer, you can practice the procedures often.