The claw hammer is probably the most common type of hammer and the form we use it in today is one which has been around for hundreds of years, albeit with many attempts to perfect the age old design. With head weights ranging from 8oz all the way up to 30oz and 4 different types of handle to choose from, every person will have a hammer which feels right for them.
The next decision is what head weight to go for, a heavier head will provide good force, but will also be tiring to swing and hard to keep accurate for a period of time. A lighter head will be a lot easier to swing, reducing fatigue, and will be a lot easier to keep accurate. However it will require a lot more blows to an object that needs high force.The first decision to make when choosing a claw hammer is what type to go for; straight claw, curved claw or a Framing hammer. A curved claw is so called due to the extreme curve on the claw which is used for pulling nails, a good curved claw will pull the heaviest nails even when the nail head is damaged. Although called a straight claw, they are not perfectly straight and the claw on these are primarily used for pulling apart boards and ripping wood, (hence sometimes being referred to as a ‘rip claw’). They can also be used for pulling nails but will not be as effective as their more curved counterparts. Framing hammers are, as the name suggests, hammers designed for wood framing. They have a straight claw, heavy head and long handle to provide high power when building wood frames.
Once you have decided on head type and weight, you can decide which type of handle to use. Toolbank offers four different types of handles, these are; Wooden, Fibreglass, Steel and Failed to find Class. Each time has their own pros and cons:
A wooden handle provides good shock resistance, but is vulnerable to wear and tear and can be broken more easily than their counterparts. However, they can be replaced. A steel handle will provide a lot more reliability than a wooden handle, being virtually unbreakable under normal use. However, the rigidity of the steel does not offer much protection against the vibration from the hammer. A fibreglass handle will take the best of both bits and sit in the middle, being very sturdy and hard to break yet also absorbing a lot of shock. They may not be quite as comfortable as wooden handles, but definitely provide more absorption than the steel. The Failed to find Product attempts to further the fibreglass handle by using graphite. This can boast even more strength and better absorption which is a feature a lot of people are willing to pay for.