my Old Workshop

The joys of a framing hammer

While the magic nail gun threatens to make it an antique, the framing hammer still belongs in every DIYers toolbox. A framing hammer is a larger claw hammer, with a head weighing anywhere from 20 ounces to 2 lbs, a longer handle, a straighter claw, and usually a milled face. That extra weight and the longer leverage means you can whack in a framing nail a lot faster than you could with a lighter hammer.

Of course, the weight can become an issue when you’re hammering overhead, causing you to wear out your arm or choke up embarrasingly on the handle. So try out a few different weights before choosing. But framing a wall on the ground couldn’t be sweeter. Raise the hammer, and let the weight do the work as you swing down. Two or three hits can drive in a big framing nail with little effort.

The longer handle and additional weight have other advantages. You can use your framing hammer to “persuade” a wall into position. You can use it to extend your reach when lifting, or grab the claw into something and use it to maneuver yourself out of a tight position. You can use the straighter claw as a prybar to pry two boards apart. And you can look a little tougher on the job – gazing down your nose at smaller hammers and nail guns.