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Learn Mechanical Engineering at Home Series 6 – Hand Tools (Hammers)

written by: Ricky • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/6/2008

Have you ever wondered what mechanical engineering is all about? I cannot make you a certified mechanical engineer but certainly you can learn a lot about mechanical engineering by reading this Learn from Home series on mechanical engineering.

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    We leant about various types of pliers used in mechanical engineering in the previous article. In this article we will learn about various types of hammers and their common uses.

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    Hand Hammer

    Hand Hammer  

    As seen in the above figure it is one of the most commonly used hammers (most probably you have a similar one or something very near to it in your toolkit) and is also known by the name of ball pein hammer. This name is because of the fact that the one of sides of the head (the metallic part on top of the wooden handle) is known as the pein while the other side is known as the face. There is a slot in the middle of the head which is used to insert the wooden handle which is used to hold the hammer. There is a steel wedge inside the slot so that the head does not fly off from the handle during hitting operations.

    To use this hammer normally one would hold it at a distance of 2/3 length from the head for heavy striking such as riveting or something similar; while for light tapping it can be held from very near the head so that force can be applied gently. The head is made out of tough cast steel or forged steel and for normal sized hammers is upto 2 – 3 pounds in weight.

    Sledge Hammer

    Sledge Hammer  

    A sledge hammer is quite similar to the previously described hand held or pein hammer with the difference that it has flat faces on both sides rather than having a pein on one side. It is also bulkier as compared to a normal hand held hammer having nearly 4-6 times the weight of the head because of its intended use. It has a long shaft or handle and normally the user is expected to hold it with both hands at nearly 3/4ths the length from the head. It is used in forging and black smiths work and used to deliver heavy blows to the required objects. It can also be used for driving large sized gears, bosses, keys etc into place by striking with appropriate force and placing a buffer in between to prevent damage to the parts. The handle is normally made of Hickory or Ash wood which should be seasoned properly.

    Hide Faced Hammer

    Hide Faced Hammer  

    This is a special type of hammer used in places where force needs to be applied but gently in order to prevent damage to relatively delicate materials which are either in finished or semi-finished state. It consists of a steel tube with the wooden handle but instead of the solid metal faces, it has got leather, copper or rubber faces which are glued to both sides of the tube. The exact material which is used depends on the nature of the work for which it is intended to be used.

    Hence in this article we saw various types of hammers and their uses. We will study various types of chisels in the next article.