How to Use a Hammer Safely

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Don't damage the workpiece - or yourself - when using a hammer. Play it safe and follow these simple instructions.

Things You'll Need

Instructions

  1. Use the right hammer for the job.

  2. Grip the hammer by the handle firmly.

  3. Keep your wrist straight and use your whole forearm to lift and drop the tool.

  4. Let the hammer do most of the work, using its weight to drive the nail, rather than pounding on it with your full force.

  5. Angle nails against the grain for better holding power and stagger them to avoid splitting the wood.

  6. Protect finished wood surfaces by placing a piece of pegboard over the nail before hammering. Then use a nail set to drive the nail even with the work surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • When nailing hardwoods, lubricate a nail with beeswax for easier driving. To avoid splitting, use a finishing nail in a drill to form a pilot hole.
  • Get better leverage and protect the wood when pulling nails with a claw by placing a scrap block of wood under the claw.
  • Always wear eye protection when using a hammer. Consider earplugs, as well, if you are doing a lot of hammering.

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