The debate between the claw hammer and framing hammers are quite heated. There are many opinions on both sides. Some say that they have different advantages over each other. Let’s see what experts think about it:
Claw Hammer Vs Framing Hammer: Pros And Cons Of Both Tools?
1) Claws : The claws make the job easier because they provide better leverage when working with nails or screws.
They are not only effective but they also look pretty too!
2) Nails : Claws do not scratch the surface of the wall so there is no risk of getting a nail stuck inside.
Also, nails don’t get caught in the teeth and cause damage to your hand while trying to remove them from the wall.
3) Screws : Claws are useful for removing screws without damaging them.
If you want to save time, then you can buy a screwdriver first before buying a claw.
4) Cost : Claws cost less than framing hammers and they are easy to carry around with you.
You will need to purchase some tools for using them.
5) Durability : Claws are durable enough to work even if you hit something hard with it.
Frames tend to break easily especially if used frequently like nails do. That’s why they are heavier and meant to be used a lot less than claws.
6) Sides : Unlike frames, claws have two different sides for the claw and the ball-peen.
If you get one side stuck then you can try the other one! If the framing hammer gets stuck then you might have to use a lot of force to get it out.
7) Ease Of Use : Claws are lighter than frames so they are easier to use.
8) Maintanance : Since claws have more moving parts then frames, it is likely that it will require more maintenance than a frame.
You need to oil them and sharpen the claws after some time.
9) Specialized : The claws can be used for multiple purposes whether for carpentry or for your tool box but the frames are extremely specialized.
10) Durability : Claws are more durable than frames but both can last for a very long time if they are used carefully.
The Claw Hammer vs Framing Hammer Debate: Which One To Pick?
While using claws, always remember to take some oil so that you can keep them well-maintained. The claws are useful for working with wood and are preferable over hammers in some situations. They are also lighter to use. If you are a carpenter then you definitely need a claw. The framing hammers are best if you want to drive large nails into a surface. They are heavy for a good reason and can cause quite some harm if used by someone who doesn’t know how to use it properly. They can also be used to remove heavy objects from places too.
People have their preferences but the choice ultimately lies with you. If you are a beginner, then you should definitely go with the claw because it is more versatile. As you become more experienced, you can move on to the framing hammer and try your hand at removal and fixing.
Also, if you are a hobbyist then you can buy both types of hammers for different uses. You will never know when one of them will come in handy for you!
The ClawHammer: A Brief History
As you may have noticed, the claw hammer is a lot older than the framing hammer. The oldest form of claw hammer dates back to around 1700 when a man named James Dyson invented them. The claw part was used for ripping out tough wooden materials.
Carpenters and Builders loved using them because it saved a lot of time by ripping out materials instead of disassembling them.
The claw part was flat at the back so that it could be used as a hammer. It was only in 1827 that the first framing hammer was created and it was immediately popular with builders for driving nails into wood.
These two types of hammers have been used ever since but they have become more technologically advanced over time. There are more heavier types of both available on the market which you can use for harder jobs!
How to Hold a ClawHammer Correctly?
Holding a claw hammer correctly is something that a lot of people don’t take seriously but it actually makes a big difference in terms of your efficiency. If you don’t hold it right then you can end up with a sprained wrist or hand after a long day of work. Not only will this make your work slower but also more painful.
When it comes to claw hammers, you basically have two types of grips that you can use:
The Standard Grip: This is the most common grip that carpenters use. Your fingers should be curled around the handle while your thumb is placed right above the hammerhead (claw part). The hammer should rest securely in the ‘c’ shape made by your thumb and index finger.
This grip gives you a lot of control over your hammer.
The Nail Holding Grip: This grip is less common but a lot of carpenters prefer it because you can use it for two major purposes. You can use it to hold nails or even wooden pegs in place when needed. The hold is similar to the standard grip but your index finger and middle finger are placed over the head of the hammer.
This grip gives you more finesse when holding nails in place.
When you are holding the hammer, the head should never face downward. This can cause the hammer to slip off your fingers and fall to the ground, which is very dangerous. Instead, hold it with the head slightly pointing toward you but away from your body a bit.
This will keep it from falling off and causing an accident.
How to Hold a FramingHammer Correctly?
You can use two basic grips when using a framing hammer. You can hold the framing hammer like a knife in your hand or you can place your fingers through the holes to get more power behind each swing. Both grips have their own advantages and disadvantages so you should choose one that you feel comfortable with.
When it comes to the knife grip, hold the framing hammer near the head with your index finger and thumb. Curl your other fingers around the handle until they touch the bottom part of your thumb. This should give you a solid grip on the hammer.
You can also use your other hand to wrap your fingers around the base of the handle and give it an extra squeeze for more security.
The knife grip works best when you need to place a lot of precision behind each swing. It also allows you to use your wrist a little more freely than the next grip because the base of the handle can move around in a full circle. This makes it easier to get into tighter spaces.
The second grip that you can use mimics the way that you hold a meat cleaver. Your hand should fit all the way over the handle of the hammer with your fingers resting on the top side. Curl your fingers towards the hammerhead as you slide them down to the bottom of the handle.
This grip allows you to get more power behind each swing but it’s not as good for precision work. You also don’t have as much freedom when it comes to wrist movement.
When it comes to choosing which grip is best for you, that really depends on what you plan on using it for. Someone who does a lot of framing work will get a lot more use out of the power grip because they’ll need to drive lots of nails into beams and other pieces of wood. The precision grip works well for someone who does a lot of sculpting.
It can precision placement when it comes to chipping away pieces of stone that you don’t need anymore.
How to Hold a Masonry Hammer Correctly?
When you are looking at how to hold a masonry hammer, you need to make sure that you get good contact between your hand and the hammer head. If there is less contact area, then you are likely to injure your hand because all the energy from the swing is transferred to that small area.
As with the framing hammer, you can use two different grips. The first one is similar to the knife grip that you would use with a framing hammer. Grip the masonry hammer so that your index finger and thumb are right at the edge of the hammerhead.
Your palm should be facing you. Wrap your fingers around the handle and hook your last finger over the back of the hammer. This will give you more control over your strikes.
The second grip is known as the baseball grip. It’s designed to help increase the power of your swing. The first thing that you need to do is grip the hammer with your thumb and middle finger.
Make sure that they are sitting right on top of the edge of the head. Rest your pointer and ring finger on the other side so that they are parallel to the head. Now curl them around and hook them on the backside. Your hand should be in a fist. This grip locks your hand in place so that you have more power behind your swings. It is important that you keep your wrist straight and don’t hyper-extend it since this can cause injury.
Since the masonry hammer is heavier than the framing hammer, you don’t need as much precision behind each swing. That’s why the baseball grip is a good option because it helps you put more force into each swing.
How to Choose the Right Hammer?
Now that you know how to grip and use each style of hammer safely, it’s time to choose which one you are going to buy. You should look for three main things when you are making your selection. They are size, weight, and balance.
Size is probably the most important thing to consider since you don’t want to get a hammer that is too big or too small for your needs. If it’s too small, then it won’t be very useful. If it’s too big, then it can cause more harm than good.
You want to find a hammer that will feel comfortable in your hand and not cause fatigue when you use it for extended periods of time.
In terms of size, masonry hammers come in five different head sizes: 5 oz, 7 oz, 14 oz, 18 oz, and 24 oz. The weight is listed in ounces. The size that you need really depends upon how much hammering you have to do as well as your strength.
Someone who does a lot of overhead work will need an 18 oz or 24 oz. If you are doing a lot of brick work, then you might want to get a 20 oz hammer. Most people will find that a 14 oz or 16 oz is the right size for them.
Keep in mind that larger hammers do not always mean more power. The best masonry hammer is the one that feels right in your hand. If you are a small female, then you probably don’t want an 18 oz just because the guy at the supply store told you it was the best one.
The weight of a hammer does not mean as much as size when it comes to choosing the right one for you. Some people might prefer the feel of a heavier hammer while others like the feel of a lighter hammer. It is all a matter of personal opinion and what feels comfortable to you and allows you to work the best.
You also need to think about the balance of the hammer. This refers to where the weight is distributed when you hold it in your hand. A hammer can be well balanced, end heavy, or head heavy.
An well balanced hammer means that the weight is spread out evenly. An end heavy hammer has most of the weight closer to the edge of the hammerhead. A head heavy hammer has the weight concentrated at the opposite end of the hammerhead.
The well balanced hammer is the best for general work. It allows you to feel in control of the hammer and reduces fatigue. An end heavy hammer is going to be a little harder to control but it can work if that’s the only hammer available.
A head heavy hammer is not something you want to use for anything, it’s far too unwieldy.
There are also some specialty hammers that you might see but they are not necessary for most people. A ball peen hammer is a cross between a tack hammer and a machinist’s hammer. It is mainly used for making precise indentations in metal or wood.
This isn’t something that the average person is going to need. Another specialty hammer is the riveting hammer. It has a large and very hard head that can deal a powerful blow to metal. It also has a peen (meaning another head on the opposite end) that is used to form rivets. This too is something that the average person isn’t going to need to buy.
Most people will be able to get by with just a 16 oz and 24 oz hammer for general work. These two sizes will allow you to handle any masonry job that you will need to do.
There are several different types of mason’s hammers but they all have a good purpose and are designed for different tasks.
These are small hammers with a head size of less than 2 ounces. They are used for fine chiseling and carving work.
These are specialized mason’s hammers that have a very large striking surface. The head can be from 4 to 6 inches and the handle is usually longer than that of a normal hammer. This allows a mason to use all his weight to drive a chisel in hard materials such as granite or dense bricks.
These are small and have a very hard and smooth striking surface. They are used to strike brass or bronze with enough force without marring the materials.
These are heavy and have a medium size head from 2 to 4 inches. The chisel end is straight and without a hammerhead unlike other mason’s hammers. They are used to chop out chunks of old mortar that are stuck in the joints of bricks.
These are similar to the mason’s hammer but they have a narrower chisel edge and a thinner claw. They are used for precision work such as cutting drywall or placing it.
These have a very small head (less than 1 inch) with no hammerhead at all. They are used for fine chiseling and cleaning work in general.
These are short handled curved mason’s hammers that have a wide chisel edge and are very thin. They are used to break up bricks or tile for reuse rather than having to buy new materials.
These have a long slender head that is triangular in shape. They are used to remove old mortar from joints without damaging the bricks or stone.
These have a very large head that is often much larger than the handle. They are used to dress stone by shaping and carving it. They are also used to dress the mortar from between large stones.
These are small and have a flat head on one side and a chisel edge on the other. They are used for fine work such as fine chiseling or carving.
There are other specialty hammers such as those used for stone setting, glazing, and roofing, however these are not commonly used by most masons and aren’t usually found in the average toolbox.
Mortar and Grout Tools
As a mason you will be working with two main types of mortar on a regular basis; hydrated lime mortar and polymer emulsion mortar.
Hydrated Lime Mortar
This type of mortar is made with sand, water, and hydrated lime. It hardens through a chemical process and is very strong and durable when cured. It also requires the use of clean non-abrasive sand in order to ensure proper adhesion.
Polymer Emulsion Mortar
This is a chemical based mortar that hardens through a reaction with water. It doesn’t require sand but does require clean concrete or masonary that is free of any oils or other chemicals. This type of mortar is often used in areas that are hard to reach such as between bricks or tight inside your wooden formwork.
You will be using a lot of sand as an additive to your mortar to ensure the strength and adhesion of your joints. As a mason you will know the type and grade of sand to use in any situation.
Formboards and Forms
As a mason you will commonly work with formwork which are temporary structures built from wood or metal that are used to shape concrete or plaster into certain shapes such as walls or columns.
Wooden formwork is used when building with brick or stone as it is rigid enough to hold its shape while the mortar or plaster is setting. It is also used when building a concrete wall that has wooden reinforcement.
Metal formwork is used when building with rebar as it is flexible enough to follow the contours of a curved wall.
Bricklayers also use metal formwork in situations where very precise measurements are needed such as with firewalls. The metal formwork allows for an exact fit between the different wall sections.
You may also be called upon to build formwork for plasterers or tilers when you are working on a project that involves decorative shapes or tile work.
Role: Trowel Trades: Mason Dates: 1800’s-Present
A trowel is one of the most common tools used by masons. It is used for tasks such as spreading mortar and removing old mortar from brick joints. It has a long wood or metal handle with a flat metal blade and is used by tapping the blade with a hammer to drive it into mortar joints.
There are several different types of trowel from large rugged ones used for rough work to small delicate ones used for fine decorative work. You will most commonly use the standard mortar trowel for most of your work.
Role: Tuck Pointer Trades: Plasterer Dates: 1800’s-Present
Also known as a rose trowel this tool is used for fine decorative plastering. It is like a large trowel with a long metal stem and a thin metal blade (rose) that is used to apply and texture plaster. The stem can be straight or have a slight curvature and is attached to the handle with a metal ferrule.
As a tuck pointer you would use this tool to texture and repair ornate ceilings and plaster walls.
You will often work with a plasterer who does the rough work of spreading the wet plaster while you do the fine finishing work. Together you will make an excellent team that produces high quality decorative finishes.
Your tools will include a variety of metal and wooden trowels and tins of decorative textures, venetian plasters and oils.
Role: Fireclay Worker Trades: Tile Setter Dates: 1800’s-Present
Tile setting is an ancient craft that has been used to build everything from Roman water systems to medieval churches. If you work as a tile setter you will use your hands and simple tools to create an art form that has been admired for over 5000 years.
As a tile setter you will work with wet clay and dry pressed units of various shapes and sizes. You will use these materials to create decorative wall panels and floor tiles that are fired in a kiln at very high temperatures.
Your work will be used to line chimneys, fireplaces, ovens, walls and floors. You may also be called upon to create decorative tiles in a wide variety of designs.
Tile setting is a skilled job that requires years of apprenticeship and on the job training. Your work will primarily be with architectural and building tiles that are used in homes, businesses and public buildings.
You will often work closely with masons, bricklayers and other tradespeople to complete your task. You will also be required to follow plans and design specifications from architects and building engineers.
Since the invention of cheap vinyl and tile your trade has declined but it is still used for artistic and aesthetic purposes in the construction of buildings.
Qualifications: Experience in a related trade such as bricklaying or carpentry or formal training in a school program.
Tools: Trowel, float (large and small), snap cutter, straight edge, pencils, rulers and various hand tools.
Seller: Gift Shop
There are many different types of buildings from homes, to churches, to factories and everything in between. Each building type has a typical style depending on the time period and geographical region where they are found.
If you work in architecture or construction you may find a job working on any of the many different types of buildings.
Some of the major building types are:
Apartment – multi-level residential building for lease or sale to individuals who do not own the land it is built upon.
Bank – a business establishment where money and valuables are kept safe from theft by careful bookkeeping, security devices and locks.
Barn – a large building used to store hay, grain or machinery and to shelter farm animals.
Church – a place of worship for Christians.
Civil Defense Shelter – a bomb shelter built by the authorities during the Cold War for the protection of the population in the event of a nuclear attack.
Fire Station – houses fire-fighting equipment and firefighters.
Fort – a defensive military building or structure.
Gas Station – a filling station where fuel in the form of gasoline or diesel is stored and sold to motor vehicle drivers.
House – a free-standing man-made shelter used as a home.
Lumber Yard – a place where trees are cut and stored before they are turned into useful objects.
Railroad Station – a building at which trains stop to allow passengers to board and disembark.
School – a building in which children receive education.
Shop – a building where goods are sold.
Store – a building where goods are sold.
Vault – a room or cellar where valuables are kept safe.
Warehouse – a large storehouse for storage of goods.
Bricklayers build with bricks, which are rectangular blocks made from clay and baked in a kiln. They help to construct walls, chimneys, fireplaces, and other structures. They may also be glaziers if they put panes of glass in windows.
They make sure that buildings are structurally sound and watertight and sometimes build additions to existing buildings. They must be able to lift heavy loads and work with others in a cooperative way. They need experience and training in addition to formal education.
Qualifications: Formal training and experience.
Tools: Trowel, mortarboard, plumb line, water bucket, bricks, and blocks.
Seller: Gift Shop
BRICKMAKERS MAKE BRICKS AND OTHER CLAY BUILDING BLOCKS.
To make bricks they start with sand, shale, or clay, and sometimes mix in coal dust or powdered tile and subject the mixture to intense heat. The harder the clay the better because it has to withstand great pressure when it is fired in a furnace. When the bricks are taken out of the oven they are stacked on a cart until cool.
Each type of brick has its own identifying mark, such as a code for the factory that made them or the identifying symbol of that factory.
Brickmakers usually work either outside where there is plenty of sunlight or in a special building with huge furnaces called an oven House. The best place to make bricks is where there is plenty of sunshine, so many factories are located in rural areas or even out in the desert.
Qualifications: Brickmakers need to be strong because they work with very heavy material. They must be able to work well with others because a team effort is required to make sure that enough bricks are made to meet factory quotas. They must also be very careful because it is easy to get burned or hurt when working with hot bricks.
Wages: $4 to $5 dollars a day in 1937.
Work Week: 40 to 48 hours a week. Some factories work 7 days a week, but this can vary depending on demand for bricks.
Tools: Trowel, brick cart, furnace rake.
Seller: Gift Shop
Cement is a mixture of sand, lime, and clay that is used to make concrete. It is made in a factory or a cement plant and then delivered to construction sites by truck. Cement masons or concrete finishers work at building sites making sure the concrete and cement is mixed properly and moving it around so that it dries evenly.
They must be sure that the concrete or cement is not contaminated with dirt or other materials. They finish or polish the concrete when it is poured. This includes leveling and smoothing floor surfaces and walls, cleaning off wooden forms used to give shape to the concrete, using trowels, floats, or screeds, and using power tools such as jackhammers, grinders, and sandblasters.
Qualifications: Other than strength, the main requirement of a cement mason is knowledge of concrete and cement. This requires good eyesight because you must be able to detect the beginning of mold or mildew formation so that it can be wiped off before it spreads.
Work Week: 40 to 48 hours a week and more during deadlines. Overtime is usually voluntary. Some cement masons work 7 days a week if the factory or building site is operating on a 7 day schedule.
Tools: Trowel, float, shovel, broom, rake, jackhammer, grinders, and sandblasters.
Seller: Gift Shop
Brickmasons make and lay bricks to form walls and chimneys for buildings. They must have a good sense of design because they have to make their work fit into the general structure of the building. They are also called building masons.
Qualifications: Brickmasons should enjoy working with their hands because they spend most of their time using them. They must have good balance to work at great heights and be able to count as they lay the bricks. Many brickmasons are part of a team, so they must be able to get along well with others.
When working at great heights they must also be extremely careful.
Work Week: Most of the week is spent working, with little time off for good behavior. Some masons work 7 days a week if there is a deadline to meet or a demand for their work. Long hours of physical labor are also required.
Tools: Trowel, brick cart, plumb bob, spirit level, line level, bullnose, wallboard saw, and power saws.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Hammer construction with shock absorbing means (CM Lay – US Patent 2,884,969, 1959 – Google Patents)
- Claw hammer with improved fulcrum (M Lombardi – US Patent 4,290,583, 1981 – Google Patents)
- Combination hammer and lumber manipulating tool (JJ Karsnia – US Patent 5,850,650, 1998 – Google Patents)
- Deadblow claw hammer (H Chow – US Patent 6,311,582, 2001 – Google Patents)