Knowing the Strength of a Hammer

The claw hammer is a tool that you will find in many homes up and down the UK. For the huge majority of people, it is simply a tool they use to whack a few nails into the wall. So why on earth, should they care about the strength of a hammer?

Let’s face it we have many other more important things to worry about.

That is true I guess, but for those of us, who take our DIY, or home projects more seriously, it is actually an important thing to understand.

Strength of a Hammer

Why Does Strength In A Hammer Matter?

The strength and durability of the hammer so actually matter quite a lot, depending on what job you are doing, and what type of hammer you are using.

On the marketplace, you can find a basic claw hammer being priced anything from £2-40. Why the big difference you may well ask?

It comes down to how the hammer is made, the quality of the metal being used, and how it is all engineered. Clearly not all hammers are created equally. Cheap hammers are usually made with a hollow steel handle, and a cheap steel head.

High quality hammers are from a one piece forged high quality piece of steel. They have also been weighted, the head has been properly milled and polished, and the handle covered in fibre glass or a good gripping rubber.

Something like the Stanley Fibreglass 20 Ounce Claw Hammer, is a great example of a high quality hammer.

The difference in how these perform is immense. Now for the average user, this will not matter a great deal. However for a serious DIY person, a professional or any good tradesman, it is the world of difference.

Cheap Hammer Problems

Yes these are easy on the pocket, but the reality is they don’t last long. If you are someone who only uses it a couple of times a month, then honestly they are fine. If like me though, you are a regular and frequent user, then don’t even consider buying one of those.

Tubular shafts twist and bend, and low quality steel will very quickly start to get a pitted head. The metal quality is poor and these are not made to be that durable. They lack strength, and they usually have a poor grip, which starts to slip and shift.

Hammers At Your Local Hardware Store

There is always a wide range and selection of hammers available at your local hardware store. Visit B&Q, or Screwfix and the array of hammers can be quite bewildering. You can read about the different types of hammers here.

In summary though there are claw, ball pein, club, sledge, brick, drywall, pin tack, dead blow, rubber mallets and even wooden mallets. They all do a different job. All of these come in really cheap options, and also in more expensive options. You will also almost always find that they come in different weights.

Our advice is always to buy the best one that you can afford at the time. They last longer, work much better and you have a tool for life. Cheaper ones will not be as efficient, they will break and that ends up costing you money.

How Are Hammers Made?

We found this very good video on YouTube, that explains how hammers are made. It is worth a watch for sure.

Why Is Strength In a Hammer Important?

single piece forged strong hammer

Single Piece Forged Strong Hammer

Some hammers are designed for doing the basic lightweight jobs around the home. Think of the basic tasks like hanging a picture, tacking down some wooden sheets or making a small shelf out of some boards.

The bottom line is that none of these jobs require a great deal of force. You do not need a large powerful swing to quickly tap a nail into a wall, to hang a picture.

The strength of these hammers can be much less than other types of hammers.

Now if you plan on making door frames, building fences or a decking then the strength of a hammer really matters. I always view these as more complex building projects. If you are contemplating one of those, then invest in good high quality strong tough hammers.

Driving a 4″ nail into a piece of wood is a whole different thing to tapping a nail or tack into a wall. You need strength, accuracy and enough weight to make the task as easy as possible.

Likewise if removing boards, you do not want a tubular steel handle, as that will just buckle. You need a really strong one piece construction, that will not buckle or twist.

The easy way to remember this is the heavier the materials are, the more important the strength of the hammer becomes. Well that is certainly true if you want to have the power behind the swing and do the job right the first time.

Hopefully we have convinced you, that buying a hammer with strength, is always a much better option than buying a cheap, poorly engineered one. When we look at the number of accidents with hammers in the UK, at over 5,000  a year, many of those are down to using either the wrong hammer, or a poor quality one.

Enda McLarnon
 

I enjoy writing about tools and gadgets of all kinds. As an electrician and with many years working in the building industry, I have used my fair share of all the leading tool brands. On this website I share my experiences of these along with my colleague Geoff.

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