Everyone knows that Hammers drive nails, but there are different hammers for different jobs. Knowing exactly what types you need in your tool box depends on the nature of DIY activities you expect to be tackling.

Claw Hammer

If you buy only one hammer in your life, make it a Claw hammer. This will drive all but the smallest nails, hammer in wall plugs and generally knock things together and apart. Thanks to the curved claw opposite the hammer head, it will also pull out nails and can, at a pinch, be used as a small crowbar.

Head weights range from 450 to 680 grams (16 to 24oz - imperial weights are still used for hammer heads).

Handles come in a variety of materials, including wood, hickory is best, steel or glass fibre, the last two come with moulded-on rubber hand grips.

Length - the majority of Claw hammers are approximately 330mm long.

Cross-pein / Warrington Hammer

Also known as a Warrington hammer, the Cross-pein is the woodworker's choice for driving nails. Opposite the head is a wedge-shaped section (the pein), which you use to start a nail, held between finger and thumb. Once it is set, you then drive it in fully with the hammer head. A smaller and lighter version known as a pin hammer is useful for driving the smallest pins into mouldings and veneers.

Head weights range from 170 to 450 grams (6 to 16oz), while the pin hammer usually has a 110 gram (4oz) head.

Handles are normally wood, Ash is best.

Length ranges from 280 to 330mm.

Ball-pein Hammer

The Ball-pein is really a metalworker's and engineer's hammer. The round pein is intended for jobs such as bending soft metal and shaping rivets, while the hammer head is for striking cold chisels and punches. However, you can also use it for most general woodwork.

Head weights range from 110 to 1360 grams (0.25 to 3 lbs).

Handles are either wood, Ash or Hickory, or glass fibre with a moulded rubber hand grip.

Length ranges from 280 to 430mm.

Club Hammer

The Club or Lump hammer has a heavy square-sectioned head and is mainly used to drive masonry nails and strike cold chisels and brick bolsters when carrying out masonry work. It can also be used for knocking down brickwork.

Head weights range from 800 to 1800 grams (1.75 to 4lbs).

Handles are wood, usually Hickory, or synthetic resin.

Length is usually about 255mm.

Wood Mallet

The Carpenter's mallet is an all-wood tool used for knocking woodworking components together (or apart) without marking the wood. It is also used to strike wooden-handled chisels that would be damaged by a steel hammer. However, most chisels now have synthetic handles that can be hammered.

Head weight ranges from 175 to 850 grams (6 to 30oz).

Handle and head are both wood, Beech or Lignum Vitae.

Length ranges from 250 to 300mm.

Rubber Mallet / Soft Face Hammer

The head or the striking faces of this hammer are made from rubber or plastic. They are used for surfaces that need to be struck but are vulnerable to being damaged by a metal hammer or wood mallet.


Punches are steel tools you strike with a hammer. The centre punch has a point and is used to mark starting holes in wood or metal. The pin punch has a flat or concave tip and is used to punch in small nails and pins either flush or below the surface, and without the hammer denting the surrounding surface. Tip diameters range from 1.5 to 9mm, and overall length from 100 to 150mm.

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