What hammer for chisels?

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stidy

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I have a set of Irwin chisels, blue plastic handle with a steel cap. What type of hammer or chisel would be your choice? I just use a normal claw hammer at the moment, I know many use a nylon hammer but I was wondering how long it will last against the metal cap before the ends need replacing.
lots of answers! I have used these exact chisels on my sites, along with ten carpenters, for 20 years- everyone uses the claw hammer, they are specifically designed for use with a steel hammer- hence the aluminium cap. I did at first use my beech mallet which became damaged by the chisel. I will add that these Irwin chisels are brilliant on a building site but do need a lot of sharpening for second fix work, they don't keep an edge for long. Always had a set of Marples plastic too and more recently wooden handled vintage chisels ( that do indeed get the odd tap with my Estwing, but I get a simple pleasure turning new handles from time to time )
 

Jacob

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@Jacob Yes, I'd end up with hamburger hands.

I wonder if the light commercial beech mallets have done an injustice to heavier traditional mallets and put people off using them.
I've got a massive oak round mallet which belonged to a stone mason. It's not a lot of use for woodwork - just too heavy. But a stone mason doesn't hammer chisels into the stone and then pull them out, he splits stone with a wedge action or knocks of shards which fall away
 

Adam W.

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It's a different action with stone carving and masonry, much quicker taking smaller chunks off and they rely on the mallet bouncing off the tool to save energy.
 

Jacob

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lots of answers! I have used these exact chisels on my sites, along with ten carpenters, for 20 years- everyone uses the claw hammer, they are specifically designed for use with a steel hammer- hence the aluminium cap. I did at first use my beech mallet which became damaged by the chisel. I will add that these Irwin chisels are brilliant on a building site but do need a lot of sharpening for second fix work, they don't keep an edge for long. Always had a set of Marples plastic too and more recently wooden handled vintage chisels ( that do indeed get the odd tap with my Estwing, but I get a simple pleasure turning new handles from time to time )
I've got some Axminster cheapies with steel caps which, as you say, damage a wooden mallet. Just use them for rough work, with a lump hammer, very occasionally.
 

JohnPW

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Round mallets are for carving where the angle of the chisel or gouge is constantly changing.

Rectangular mallets are for chopping mortices, ie carpentry/woodwork/joinery.
 

Jacob

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Round mallets are for carving where the angle of the chisel or gouge is constantly changing.

Rectangular mallets are for chopping mortices, ie carpentry/woodwork/joinery.
Well yes but you can use either for either. The rectangular mallet has the added advantage of a flat face which is better for knocking frames together/apart and general woodwork bashing with less risk of denting the wood.
So it's flat face ones for bashing wood, round for chisels and hammers for nails.
 
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I have a set of Irwin chisels, blue plastic handle with a steel cap. What type of hammer or chisel would be your choice? I just use a normal claw hammer at the moment, I know many use a nylon hammer but I was wondering how long it will last against the metal cap before the ends need replacing getting neck to the o
Getting back to the OPs question... my choice would smaller metal sledge. These are clearly designed to take the punishment of being whacked with a metal hammer on site, taking big dirty chunks of wood out as quickly as possible. I personally wouldn't use a claw hammer but it's your knuckles.

On the other topics, looking back to my time in trade school, its was very much 'hammers are for nails!' but I suspect they was more about not damaging the chisels than any rational reason. Like always lying planes on their sides. I guess the teachers had enough to do without adding the need to turn new handles every term.

Beech mallets are a bit rubbish for anything other then light work, a certain Englishman talks about using knotty fruitwood for making mallets, which i guess is heavier. I've a bunch of un-named tropical hardwood table legs that provide suitably heavy heads.

In short, hit the thing with whatever you want, and own the consequences.
 

Jacob

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......

On the other topics, looking back to my time in trade school, its was very much 'hammers are for nails!' but I suspect they was more about not damaging the chisels than any rational reason.
Also for not accidentally hitting your hand while you are looking at the pointy end
..

Beech mallets are a bit rubbish for anything other then light work,
I've used them a lot for morticing. If you can hit the chisel hard enough to embed it firmly so it takes a bit of wiggle to get it out, then that's hard enough. Any harder and you are making work for yourself, both in lifting a heavier mallet and pulling out the nailed-in chisel.

PS This leads on inevitably to mortice chopping technique, which for beginners is probably a much bigger problem than which tool to misuse.
The technique is to do all cuts perpendicular to the surface, each cut paring down the face of the previous cut. Seems slow for first few cuts but rapidly speeds up as it deepens. No levering, just a wiggle to loosen the chisel. Chippings take care of themselves, you cut though them, but you may have to prise out the last few bits, or poke them through a through mortice.
It's much the same action as a hand operated machine mortice.
 
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TRITON

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On the subject of hammers, mallets et all. The local 2nd hand store near me has an unusual large mallet type hammer. It has a solid aluminum head. About 800mm long

Anyone got any idea what that might have been used for ?.
Pics here
 

Jacob

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On the subject of hammers, mallets et all. The local 2nd hand store near me has an unusual large mallet type hammer. It has a solid aluminum head. About 800mm long

Anyone got any idea what that might have been used for ?.
Pics here
Croquet?
 

rogxwhit

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With a round mallet you have more fluency about directing the angle of impact, and at the same time it can intrude into the sight-line less. Joiners tend more to work in straight lines, and a rectangular mallet feels more regulated in that regard ...
 

rogxwhit

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On the subject of hammers, mallets et all. The local 2nd hand store near me has an unusual large mallet type hammer. It has a solid aluminum head. About 800mm long

Anyone got any idea what that might have been used for ?.
Pics here
It's for people with weak arms ...
 

Richard_C

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I was impressed by Hepworth workshop too. No fancy tools at all!
If you enjoyed that you might also like the Henry Moore foundation at Perry Green, Herts. Much bigger, but the workshops are preserved and if memory serves me well, round mallets alongside the gouges. He too worked in Elm, reclining figure being a 7 year 'trunk to finish' project.
 

Jacob

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With a round mallet you have more fluency about directing the angle of impact, and at the same time it can intrude into the sight-line less. Joiners tend more to work in straight lines, and a rectangular mallet feels more regulated in that regard ...
Also you can use the whole circumference of the mallet instead of just the two faces, so they are going to last a lot longer before the surface starts deteriorating
 

Jacob

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If you enjoyed that you might also like the Henry Moore foundation at Perry Green, Herts. Much bigger, but the workshops are preserved and if memory serves me well, round mallets alongside the gouges. He too worked in Elm, reclining figure being a 7 year 'trunk to finish' project.
Her workshop I saw in St Ives. Hepworth in Wakefield is good too. The Hepworth Wakefield
 

Jameshow

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On the subject of hammers, mallets et all. The local 2nd hand store near me has an unusual large mallet type hammer. It has a solid aluminum head. About 800mm long

Anyone got any idea what that might have been used for ?.
Pics here
Panel beating?

Marquee errection?
 

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