A hammer is one of the most versatile tools in any handyman’s arsenal. Even if you are an amateur DIYer, there is a very good chance that you have at least one hammer in your toolbox. It is a must no matter what level of skill you are.
The claw hammer is perhaps the most classic, the OG of hammers. As it turns out, there are more things to know about claw hammers than you may have realized. Here’s what you need to know about this versatile tool.
Pretty much everyone knows what a hammer is. It has a heavy head that is attached to a handle. A claw hammer has a forked point on the back that is used primarily for pulling nails. Despite the simple appearance, it is great for a variety of uses around the house.
Hammers can come in a variety of styles and materials, but the claw hammer is always pretty straightforward. Hammers have been around for centuries in one way or another and the modern claw hammer has become a staple for most handy people.
Claw hammers are generally made from forged steel, though you won’t be hard-pressed to find titanium heads. The face of the hammer is a circular anvil, typically about an inch in diameter, that is mostly used for driving nails into surfaces like wood.
That said, they serve other purposes. They can be used for framing and other heavy-duty construction uses. Claw hammers can also be used in the installation and removal of doors, windows, and trim around the home, as well as any other light construction projects. They make for a great demo item as well, capable of handling small areas without needing to get something bigger like a sledgehammer.
The design might be pretty simplistic but there are actually a few different types to choose from. The different variations make one better for a specific purpose than another kind of claw hammer.
Utility hammer. The utility hammer is the one most people have somewhere in the house. Usually, these are around 16 ounces or a bit lighter and have an elongated neck. The curve of the claws makes them great for pulling nails as well. You will find utility hammers made out of fiberglass, hardwood (like hickory), or steel.
Electrician’s hammer. The electrician’s hammer has claws that are straight, similar to a framing hammer. That said, it is a touch lighter – around 18 ounces or so – while also having a long neck. That extra length makes it better to use in tighter quarters, perfect for electricians.
Framing hammer. Framing hammers are generally more heavy-duty than your average utility hammer. They run from 20 to 24 ounces and have a larger face, which can be either smooth or serrated. The face of a framing hammer is a bit shorter to provide better accuracy when pounding. The claws are straight, and the handle is a touch longer than a utility hammer. These can be made of wood, fiberglass, or metal.
Flat-top hammer. These are generally manufactured overseas and have three features that aren’t typically going to be found in North American hammers. The long neck is actually longer than the electrician’s hammer. The claws are pointed and the cheeks have been molded for better pounding. The claws are curved enough to act as a pry bar, capable of digging into wood and pulling out sunken nails. These aren’t nearly as common, though, so they might be tougher to find.