Claw hammers are the most common type of hammers.
A claw hammer, also known as a nail hammer, is a tool used to drive nails into wood and remove nails and other fasteners from wood. It’s the kind of hammer most people are familiar with. It has two parts: a head, usually of steel, and a handle, made of metal, wood, and sometimes rubber coated to help the user hold the tool. The handle is usually gripped with one hand and rotated in the air to hit the nails. To remove the nails, the hammer is placed with the nail in the middle of the V-shaped claw and pressed against the wood in a prying motion. There are framing claw hammers for heavier jobs and finishing claw hammers for lighter jobs, while various weights, materials, and head and handle designs adapt both basic types to different uses and users.
Most claw hammers have the same design. The hammer’s handle is centered under the head, with the cylindrical surface of the head extending to one side and the claw extending to the other side. More recently, a frame hammer design known as the “forward weight hammer” has been developed. It has an off-center handle that is much closer to the impact surface, which barely extends beyond the handle.
There are two types of claw hammers in relation to hammer claw. The straight claw hammer has a relatively straight claw. The curved claw hammer is probably the most familiar form of claw hammer. The curved nature of the claw is usually better for pulling nails, especially long, wooden nails.
Claw hammer frame hammer type is also called rip hammer. Compared to a finishing hammer, it usually has a longer handle, a heavier head, and often a flatter grip. The handle of a frame hammer can be made of wood, fiberglass or steel, or alternatively the entire hammer can be made of titanium, with a steel cap on the impact surface.
The impact surface of a frame hammer usually comes with a smooth finish option, a milled surface, or a waffle face. Both the waffle face and the milled surface are made to hold the nail better. The waffle face has a scalloped, waffle-like surface, while the milled surface has diamond-shaped protruding edges. Unlike the waffle face and smooth finish, a milled surface can mark the wood. A smooth finish, however, is more likely to slip off the nail head being hit.
Framing hammers may have some special features. A nail starter – a recessed magnetic holder to help place the nail correctly – can be built into the head. The head or handle of a frame hammer with a wooden, fiberglass or steel handle can be replaced. Titanium hammers, on the other hand, can be designed to allow the owner to change the steel cap that fits over the impact end of the head, allowing for a switch between a smooth finish, a waffle face, or a milled surface. In addition, a worn surface can be replaced.
The claw-style finishing hammer is the usual choice for household chores and when driving small or thin nails. A finishing hammer typically has a wooden handle, a smooth surface, and a light head. In most cases, it has a shorter handle than a frame hammer and a claw with a larger curve. The defining characteristic of a finishing hammer, as opposed to a frame hammer, is that a finishing hammer weighs less than 20 ounces (567 g) and is less than 16 in. (40.6 cm) long. Variations on finishing hammer designs include the long neck and trumpet-shaped head of the so-called “Japanese finishing hammer” and miniature claw hammers, or non-marring hammers, which can be 7 in. (17.8 cm) in length or less.