It may surprise you to know that hammers require regular maintenance if you want them to be at their best. A blunt or damaged hammer will bend nails and cause damage to the material you are hammering into and its much easier to have an accident with a hammer that’s not in good condition
Five Ways to Take Care of Your Hammer
1. Keep the hammer’s face in good condition
It doesn’t take a lot of use for a hammers face to become marked or nicked in several places. It doesn’t really matter how expensive a hammer you buy, they are all susceptible to this type of wear and tear. Ideally they should be kept in a tool box or a tool bag.
Many people recommend using a file to work these marks out, but I have always found that a bench grinder is by far the best method. It is also the easiest way of getting a great finish.
Always try to make sure there is a slight bevel on the edges. This helps to stop marking the material you are hammering into and make sure to keep the face as flat as possible.
2. Keep the claws sharp
The claw part of your hammer will also need to be kept in good condition. It can have fine edges that damage easily if you are doing heavy work.
I like to use a small file to sharpen up the inside edges and a triangular file can be very useful if you want to make a deeper V.
You should also wipe the head of the hammer with a very light coating of oil. That odes help prevent any rust, where there may be the odd chip.
3. Always clean the face of your hammer after use
If you are using old nails or ones that are coated you might find you start to bend the nails instead of getting them straight in. This can be caused by particles of dirt getting stuck to the hammer face.
Steel wool or emery cloth is the best way to remove any residue and it does no harm to give it a clean every time you use it.
4. Restoring your hammer handle
Its rare for a hammer handle to break, its a more likely problem that it may become loose from the head. A good trick for wooden handles is to put it into a container with some linseed oil and let it soak over night.
This will swell the wood and is a good long term repair. In the rare event that the handle breaks and needs replaced then its a pretty easy replacement process, just a drop of epoxy resin and a 24 hour setting period will have the job done.
5. Make a hammer holder
You can easily make a handy hammer holder by drilling a couple of holes in a PVC coupling and putting a bit of strings between the holes. You can slide the handle down through the coupling and use the string to carry or hold the hammer.
Its amazing how tools will last if they are treated correctly. If you have an old hammer that you think might be past it then think again. Most hammers will last a lifetime and very few are beyond saving!
There are many different types of hammers available including Ballpein hammers, Lump hammers, Claw hammers, Sledge hammers to name just a few. Now although they are slightly different, the basic principle of maintenance on them is the same to take time to take care of your hammer and visit our other articles to get more information on all the various types that are available.
We have looked at every type and compiled buying guides and recommendations for you to make it easier to get the right hammer first time.