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How do you hold your hammer?

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AndyT

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Holding at the end of the hammer is good for knocking nails in fast, but there are many other uses for a hammer. If you watch some of Ken Hawley's films of Sheffield craftsmen forging tools all day long you'll often see a very controlled grip up near the head of a heavy hammer.

For example, in this film of John Ridge making gimlets:

john ridge hammer.png

As Ken says in the commentary, every hammer blow counts and every gimlet gets the minimum number of blows. Nevertheless, the hammer handle would soon develop a distinctive wear pattern and get very slender where the owner's hand gripped it.
 

sunnybob

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Index finger along a hammer handle is going to give you a sore hand. i wouldnt recommend that on any serious bashing.
 

novocaine

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I've been told it's nice to have end choked up on occasion. Pair that with a willingness to move up and down the shaft and the odd finger round the head and I've been informed you can get a good pounding that shows fantastic results. Obviously your mileage may differ. I've also been informed it changes somewhat with age but you can now get all sorts of aids to keep you banging away well in to your 70s.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Always seemed to me that hammering nails is a little like golf.

Play infrequently and airshots and divots predominate. With a hammer the wood suffers dings.

Proper golfers go equipped with different clubs for different jobs which they carry around in a bag. We generally have but one or two hammers, not a full selection of different weights and handle lengths.

So we use hammers in a compromise mode - like a golfer with only a putter, wedge and driver for company.

As we become more proficient in either endeavour we learn to use the tool more effectively in compromise mode, improving grip (which should be at the end), speed of stroke, accuracy etc.
 

clogs

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music man ok but never with a hammer....

seen people using a hammer with the thumb behind/back of the SHAFT.....oh dear.....
bought a double headed copper mallet about 8lbs (Thor I think) with a 24"ish shaft so sweet to use...from Macsalvors, Cambourne...
still remember the training with a 14lbs sledge...... you lift/swing but the head does the work....
can still use one accurately but not for too long...just getting old....hahaha...
 

robgul

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Always at the end of the handle to give maximum control - adjusting the size of hammer/mallet for the job, be it nailing, hitting a chisel . . . . or persuasion of any sort. I must have about 7 or 8 hammers of varying sizes and functions together with classic carpentry mallets in two sizes.
 

Bm101

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Holding at the end of the hammer is good for knocking nails in fast, but there are many other uses for a hammer. If you watch some of Ken Hawley's films of Sheffield craftsmen forging tools all day long you'll often see a very controlled grip up near the head of a heavy hammer.



View attachment 92876

As Ken says in the commentary, every hammer blow counts and every gimlet gets the minimum number of blows. Nevertheless, the hammer handle would soon develop a distinctive wear pattern and get very slender where the owner's hand gripped it.
Yeh but he was only in the trade for 75 years Andy.
What would he know?

A first fix chippy I worked with once told me off for holding a hammer half way up the handle. Lectured me a bit. Nice guy mind.
A couple of days later I walked into a part of an extension we were building and there he was. Hand half way up his handle. Red Handed!
Ohhhhhhh! Ohhhh! I got you now!
He didn't live that down for days.
Another hammer expert was a guy I workeed for in Snowdonia. Landscaping a small garden entirely from slate. Guy came on the job and raged at me for using a bolster with a club hammer to split slate blocks. *You're wasting time! Whack it! Just whack it!*
He proceeded to demonstrate by clumping this great block of slate all over while it smashed and chipped into tiny fragments in front of me and SilentKev (remember him?) Didn't split at all. Obviously.
Ok Martin I said. Gotcha. I can see why you're the boss. Thanks for the help.
As he left I picked up my sharp bolster gave it three taps and cleaved it clean along the grain.
SilentKev looked at me and I winked. Possibly. Long time ago now.

For me it depends what I'm doing. No hard and fast rule except what works best just the most efficient use for each job is important.
 

novocaine

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Guess im a pro if we use the golf analogue.
20200923_170830.jpg

These are just the ones that stay out. Theres a toolbox draw woth another load. Then there's the builders hammers, the chipping hammers, the claw hammers, oh you get the drift.
 

JSW

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Watch a Master at work, Larry Haun Framing a Wall
Loads of good tips in this vid, nail pouch behind you so you can stay bent while nailing, using the claw of the hammer to pick timbers up etc etc
One tap to start the nail, then two shots (often just one) to drive the nail home.
He was 80 years old when this video was made o_O
 

AndyT

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Watch a Master at work, Larry Haun Framing a Wall
Loads of good tips in this vid, nail pouch behind you so you can stay bent while nailing, using the claw of the hammer to pick timbers up etc etc
One tap to start the nail, then two shots (often just one) to drive the nail home.
He was 80 years old when this video was made o_O
Thanks for that. He certainly knew what he was doing!
Always nice to watch an expert.
 

Bm101

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Watch a Master at work, Larry Haun Framing a Wall
Loads of good tips in this vid, nail pouch behind you so you can stay bent while nailing, using the claw of the hammer to pick timbers up etc etc
One tap to start the nail, then two shots (often just one) to drive the nail home.
He was 80 years old when this video was made o_O
I remember the first time I realised a garden hoe was supposed to be sharp. Proper sharp.
Now I have to sharpen the claw on my hammer. ;)
 

JSW

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If you're in the mood for it, there's a series of 3 videos (around an hour apiece) on Youtube featuring Larry framing out a BIG house, just incrdible how much two guys can get done between them. I watched them all a couple of years ago, it's compelling viewing (y)
 

Ollie78

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I find if I am actually bashing in nails I hold it at the end but if I am using it to hit a chisel I move up to the middle for more control.
Now I realise I am being extremely controversial by hitting my chisels with a hammer but I find a wooden mallet cumbersome and not heavy enough, I do have hoops on my chisel handles though. I prefer to let the weight do the effort than have to add force by swinging at it.

Ollie
 

AJB Temple

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Very good video of Larry. Nailing on the ground gives him a lot of momentum. Top quality. I hope I am that fit if I ever reach 80.
 

AJB Temple

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Whoever said you can get by with two hammers:

Two smithing hammers
Upholstery hammer with fine and wide tips for decorative tacking
Tacking / pin hammer
Three or four aluminium shaping hammers and variety of formers
Small and large ball pein (both ex my dad)
Ludicrously large ball pein (ex may dad)
Three claw hammers (so offspring and I each have one)
Two lump hammers
One square head sledge
One round head sledge
Thor: 1 1lb, 2 lb, 3lb x2 5lb (variety of copper and leather)
10lb and 15ln framing mallets
A few carving mallets ( I like old ones)
Wood mallet I have had since I was a kid
Bricklayers hammer
Slate splitting hammer
Brass hammer that came with some chisels I think
Japanese hammer that is very cool for use with Japanese chisels
Two German wedge hammers (came with tool kits - pretty useless)
Two rubber mallets (white and black)
Small leather / copper faced hammer that is very old - came from my grandfather

From memory, that has about nailed it. Could be looking at 38-40 hammers there. :ROFLMAO:
 

Trevanion

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Larry Haun is what happens when hyper-intelligence meets the trades, in another life he could've been Einstein.
 

AndyT

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Whoever said you can get by with two hammers:

Two smithing hammers
Upholstery hammer with fine and wide tips for decorative tacking
Tacking / pin hammer
Three or four aluminium shaping hammers and variety of formers
Small and large ball pein (both ex my dad)
Ludicrously large ball pein (ex may dad)
Three claw hammers (so offspring and I each have one)
Two lump hammers
One square head sledge
One round head sledge
Thor: 1 1lb, 2 lb, 3lb x2 5lb (variety of copper and leather)
10lb and 15ln framing mallets
A few carving mallets ( I like old ones)
Wood mallet I have had since I was a kid
Bricklayers hammer
Slate splitting hammer
Brass hammer that came with some chisels I think
Japanese hammer that is very cool for use with Japanese chisels
Two German wedge hammers (came with tool kits - pretty useless)
Two rubber mallets (white and black)
Small leather / copper faced hammer that is very old - came from my grandfather

From memory, that has about nailed it. Could be looking at 38-40 hammers there. :ROFLMAO:
Adrian, that's quite a list, but... How can I put this politely, in line with the forum rules...? You have some way to go...

 
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