When someone says they're bringing in the hammer, they're talking about something with a lot of power behind it. See more pictures of hand tools.

Most home toolboxes should have a hammer or two for pounding fasteners into wood.

What Is a Hammer?

A hammer is a simple tool designed to manually drive nails, brads, and other fasteners into softer materials, such as wood or drywall. A hammer has a head and a handle, or shaft. The components of the head depend on the type and use of the hammer, but most have a face that strikes the fastener behind the bell and neck, which holds the handle. The opposite end of the head may have a forked nail-puller (called a claw hammer) or a peen (small face for driving pins or tacks). Most construction and household hammers are claw hammers with heads weighing 7, 10, 13, 16, or 20 ounces.

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How to Safely Use a Hammer

To safely use a claw hammer, select the weight appropriate to the fastener to be struck. A 7-, 10-, or 13-ounce hammer is adequate for tacks, brads, and small finish nails; 16- and 20-ounce hammers are used for framing and roofing with 8-d (eight penny) nails or larger. Firmly grasp the lower half of the handle, slowly swing the head face, and touch the fastener head squarely to determine trajectory. Make sure your hand will not be struck by the hammer head or handle. Then swing the hammer with more force to drive the head into the wood. Continue striking the fastener head squarely to drive it into the material.

How to Maintain a Hammer

No maintenance is required for hammers. The head of a wood-handled hammer can be replaced; replacement handles and installation wedges are available at larger hardware stores.

Tools Related to the Hammer

Other useful tools for attaching fasteners include pneumatic nailers, staple guns, and screwdrivers.

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