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Why do I keep bending nails?

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cambournepete

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OK, it's stupid question time, but please don't laugh too much....

I'm building a new shed as the previous one was far too small. It's held together with lots of nails, but when I try and hit the nails on the head I all too often miss the nail, or hit it off-centre bending it.:oops: :oops: Why? There must be a proper technique for hammering in nails, but what is it?

Pete (waiting for the hysterical laughter to die down..)

The 4" nails I'm using are these nails from screwfix, which have a cross-section that is basically a "+" - i.e. the grooves are longitudinal.

I've bought myself a new hammer(which together with this drill bit set costs just over the magical £45) so that's not the problem.
 

Woodythepecker

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Pete, its not a stupid question. You would be surprised at how many people do exactly the same.

Now the answer may sound stupid but here goes. Try rubbing the head of your hammer across a piece of 60/80 or 100 grit sandpaper a dozen times, and this may help.

By the way do you have to use nails? Screws would be much better, because what with wind and natural movement nails have a tendency to work loose, allowing the panels to move. Just a thought.

Regards

Woody
 

Noel

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Pete, how are you actually hitting the nails? - I prefer a kinda of circular wrist action rather than a simple up and down. The circular action tends to induce a better rhythm.
Nice hammer BTW. Got that set of drills recently, not overly impressed with them, at least 2 are not straight, and the others leave quite a bit of tear out, at least compared to the Brimarc german bits I have (which don't come in half sizes).

Noel
 

Gill

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I was once told that the technique for hammering nails is to hold the hammer in the appropriate position, then bend the elbow to about 45 degrees and bring the hammer head down so that when it strikes the nail a 90 degree angle is formed at the elbow.

Dunno if this helps :roll:

Gill
 

chiba

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Hammered lots of nails one summer (thanks Dad). Tap the point of the nail with the hammer to squish the point, locate nail on wood, two gentle taps to seat it, then increase your swing to drive it in, moving your hand out of way when it's running true. Let the hammer do the work, always watch the nail head, try not to think about nails. Wax on, wax off. Nail Zen. 8)
 

cambournepete

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Woody - thanks, I'll try the sandpaper trick. I don't have to use nails, but at 4" they're not going far - especially judging by the effort required to remove the bent ones (it very hard even with a 3ft jemmy!! :shock:). The other nails I'm using are all annular ring shank nails and also very hard to shift.

Noel, what direction wrist action - is this circle across the body or to and from the body? Yup, the hammer's a good 'un, and the drill bits are the ones recommended by Alf in a separate thread.

Cheers,

Pete
 

ike

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I prefer a kinda of circular wrist action rather than a simple up and down. The circular action tends to induce a better rhythm.
:shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D :D :D
 

dedee

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Pete, have you got sufficeint weight behind the wood you are hammering into to stop the wood (and nail) from bouncing. If not and if you have not get a spare pair of hands then using screws may be better.

Also for years my father would always say to me "let the hammer do the work". I think this means that the weight of the hammer should be enough to drive the nail rather than excessive force from the arm.

Andy
 

Adam

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Are you holding the hammer at the end? - most people hold them too high - which means you don't strike the nail at right angles.

Adam
 

Noel

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Ike, stop sniggering.....
Pete, circular as in the plane of the shaft of the hammer. Try it, it'll soon become 2nd nature. Leave your grip about an inch or two from the end of the handle.

Noel
 

RogerS

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I second what Adam said. I read somewhere recently of an apprentice who came back to find that the handle of his hammer had been cut-off leaving about a third. His tutor told him that when he started using the hammer properly then he could have another one :D
 

tombo

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Hold the nail with pin nose pliers near the top, works really well with very small/ thin pins and nails that have been bent and then re straightened

Tom

or you could buy a nail gun ;)
 

samlarsen

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Ditto the circular motion - so you are pushing the hammer away from you across the nail head when you hit it. This stops the mail bending towards you.

Incidentally. I have two hammers, a cheap rubbish steel shafted job for outdoor use (when I'm desperate for breaking bricks etc), and a fibre shafted one for better work.

With the better hammer every nail goes in without bending, with the rubbish one every nail bends! The moral is (?).....find a hammer that suits you and use only it so you get good pratace with it only.

cheers

sam
 

SimonA

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Pete, I've heard a couple of people complain about the new Estwing hammers and thought that it was all rubbish until I tried out out for myself. I've always had an Estwing as I class them as probably one of the best hammers around. I use a 22oz one and can knock a 4" nail down in two swift wacks (just call me heavy handed), but I have to admit I couldn't get use to the new version. I found there to be far to much weight at the tip and the head seemed to be angled a little more than I was used to and due to these two things it felt as if the handle just wasn't long enough. Needless to say I was happen to go back to my old one.....my friends who have stuck with them said they now love them more than the old ones as it takes less power to knock the nails in.

So stick with it fella!

Simon
 

tim

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Pete,

I built my workshop last year using those nails and that hammer - along with about 2000 of the 50mm nails for all the featheredge. The hammer does take some getting used to and I also found that those nails while giving great holding power actually coat the hammer head with excess zinc galv. Therefore I ended up carrying a piece of 180 grit in my pocket all the time and wiping it every 15 mins or so.(which takes about 2 secs).

The prob I had with the hammer was I think entirely due to the perceived length of the handle. For some reason with this design it is much easier to hammer straight if you imagine that the handle is longer than it is ie if you stand further from the nail head. Also maybe worth comparing the length of handle with your current hammer since there is significant difference in the way the two lengths handle.

I am now a big fan of this hammer and find it really easy to use - the nails aren't bad either. So I would suggest that it is just a case of you getting used to the tool rather than the tool being at fault. This is unusual in my workshop where so many tools are to blame for errors. :lol:

Cheers

Tim
 

ProShop

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This is the hand & eye co-ordination thing isn't it. A bit like trying to hit a golf ball in what they call "the sweet spot".
I always look directly at the nail head not the hammer head and I was always taught to hold the hammer at or very near to the end of the shaft, I've seen some people holding the shaft half way up or even more, the only thing happening with this is your in danger of being charged with assault & battery or malicious bruising of a nail head :D
 
A

Anonymous

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I had exactley the same problem and i found that it was the type of hammer it may sound silly but for as long as i can remember i have always used a hammer with a wooden handle so when i changed to one of these fibre glass handles i startyed missing nails bending nails etc so one day i picked up my wooden handled hammer and sure enough i hit the nail everytime.

Cheerrs,
Derek.
 

Noel

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To continue the golfing analogy the perceived difference between hickory, fibreglass and steel is the weight and balance and therefore your muscle memory may find it strange switching from one to the other.
 

frank

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pete are you putting the pointy bit of the nail on the wood and hitting the the other end, the the flat bit of the nail with the hammer , cos if you do it the other way round you will bend the nails :wink: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

UKTony

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Pete

Please forgive me but using my 13 years olds words as he was standing over me




"Wasssee expect when eees ammer comes from Star Trek" :shock: :) :) :) :)
 
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