What are the Different Kinds of Hammers?

The hammer is a basic tool used in many carpentry projects. Different hammers are used for work with wood, metal and stone. Most hammers are identified by size and weight as well as by the shape of the face, claw and handle. The face of the hammer is the striking surface. Depending on the work to perform, this surface is flat or rounded. Hammers may also have a claw, a chisel or a mallet at the opposing end.

Finishing Hammers

Hammers are used for wood, metal or stone work.
A finishing hammer is lightweight with a curved claw.

A finishing hammer has a lightweight head. The handle is made of metal or wood and is less than 16 inches in length. This type of hammer has a curved claw for pulling nails. It is used for general household tasks, such as hanging picture frames. Finishing hammers are designed to drive small nails into visible surfaces, leaving little to no damage to the surrounding area.

Framing Hammers

A framing hammer is designed from wood construction.

A framing hammer is designed for heavy jobs. This hammer is used in construction projects for securely driving large nails into lumber. Framing hammers are meant for you to use them with force. For this reason they have long, sturdy handles and heads that weigh 20 oz or more. The claw on a framing hammer is straight, and the surface is milled to provide extra gripping ability.

Ball Pein Hammers

A ball pein hammer does not have a claw.

Ball pein, or ball peen hammers have two faces, instead of a face and a claw. One face is flat and the other rounded. The ball hammer is designed for nailing rivets as well as bending and shaping metal. The flat face is used to drive the rivet while the rounded side is used to finish the metal surface. The ball pein hammer is also used for driving chisels when splitting wood surfaces.

Brick or Rock Hammers

A brick or rock hammer is designed for breaking stone.

A brick or rock hammer is used in stone work. This hammer has a square face with a sharp pick at the opposing end. The handle is long and narrow, constructed of wood or metal. Designed to break rock or brick with precision, this tool is used for geological research as well as for general brick construction work.


A sledgehammer is used in demolition work.

A sledgehammer is a heavyweight hammer used for driving stakes or wedges. This hammer is also commonly used for demolition projects. A sledgehammer can weigh between 8 and 16 lbs. The handle is wood or steel and is much longer than other hammers. The sledgehammer has two faces, both made for striking and pounding.

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