11 Types Of Woodworking Hammers – Woodworking Tools Guide

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We all know what a hammer is. But, did you know that there are at least 40 different types of hammers? Even though all the different kinds of hammers are not those that we use in woodworking, there is quite a number of them that we use for woodworking. In this article, we touch upon the different types of woodworking hammers that we can use while working on wood.

Traditionally, a hammer consists of a metallic head, typically quite heavy, attached to a wooden handle. The handle can be of plastic, nylon, or some other durable material.  Hammers trace their origin back to the prehistoric era of the world. You will see many pictures of cave dwellers wielding rudimentary hammers with stone heads.

Hammer. Image Credit: HomeSpot HQ

Different Types Of Woodworking Hammers

The basic structure and principle of a hammer have not changed much since the stone age. However, as society evolved, so did the hammer. The hammers of today have developed into some extremely specialized tools. In this article, we discuss the various types of woodworking hammers that you can get.

Claw Hammer

IRWIN Hammer, Fiberglass, General Purpose, Claw, 16 oz. (1954889)
Irwin Hammer Claw Hammer. See on Amazon.

The claw hammer doesn’t need any introduction, as all of us probably know what it is. This hammer is the most basic type, and when we think of a hammer, it is this hammer that we envisage. The head of a claw hammer has two ends, one for striking, which is roughly cylindrical, and the other side has a claw which helps us to pry nails from wood and to pry open box lids.


Wooden Mallet 4 ½" Bora 540049, The Well-Balanced Beechwood Woodworking Mallet That's Ideal for Solid, Damage-Free Striking
BORA Mallet. See on Amazon.

You could call the mallet one of the most critical tools in a DIY toolbox. If you need to strike something but with softened blows, a mallet is what you need. Of course, you can’t drive nails with a mallet, but you can strike chisels or use one to apply pressure to turn a wrench. The head of a mallet is typically non-metallic and is made of rubber, nylon, or wood.

Tack Hammer

Estwing Sure Strike Tack Hammer - 5 oz Forged Steel Head with Magnetic Face & Hickory Wood Handle - MRWT
Estwing Tack Hammer. See on Amazon.

As the name suggests, we use this hammer to drive tacks or carpet nails as we tend to call them. If you need to drive a carpet nail or tack into soft material in a deft but sharp striking motion, the tack hammer is what you need to get the job done. One end of the tack hammerhead is often magnetic. It enables you to hold the tack in position before hammering it in. Tack hammers are useful for upholstery work and working on stair carpets.

Dead Blow Hammer

Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody Molded | Checkered Grip | Spark and Rebound Resistant
Neiko Dead Blow Hammer. See on Amazon.

If you want to reduce the recoil from the material you are working on, you need a dead blow hammer. It also eliminates the possibility of damaging the surface on which you are working. The head of this type of hammer is hollow and contains a steel shot, lead shot, or sand to add to the weight. You can use a dead blow hammer in the same way as you would a mallet. These hammers can help you loosen stuck screws or move wrenches.

Trim Hammer

Eastwood Trim Hammer Stainless Steel Trim Hammer Tool Handle Smooth Face Drop-Forged Head
Eastwood Trim Hammer. See on Amazon.

We use a trim hammer to drive small nails designed for trim. This type of hammer has a relatively small head and a compact claw. You can remove fasteners with the claw. You will find a trim hammer very suitable for working in tight angles or for light woodworking.

Hatchet Hammer

Estwing Fireside Friend Axe - 14" Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip - E3-FF4
Estwing Hatchet Hammer. See on Amazon.

A cross between a hatchet and a hammer, the name of this hand tool says it all. Although we tend to focus on the impacting head of a hammer, with this one, people are keen on the hatchet-shaped peen. Unlike a regular hatchet, a hatchet hammer lets you join together pieces of wood, using a fastener.

Framing Hammer

Real Steel 0517 Ultra Framing Hammer with Milled Face, 21 oz
Real Steel Framing Hammer. See on Amazon.

The framing hammer is an advanced version of a basic nail driver. We use this type of hammer for building house frames. The claw of this hammer is short and straight, and the head is waffled, round and compact. Although the framing hammer isn’t as versatile as a claw hammer, it has all-round applications and is typically more expensive.

Ball-Peen Hammer

TEKTON 30403 Jacketed Fiberglass Ball Pein Hammer, 16-Ounce
Tekton Ball-Peen Hammer. See on Amazon.

A ball-peen hammer has a relatively smaller head, and a ball-shaped structure called the “peen” on the other side. Although we use the peen more for metal shaping work, this model of hammer finds various uses in a woodworking workshop. For this reason, we have added it to our list of hammers.

Drywall Hammer

Stanley FMHT51303 FatMax 14 oz Drywall Hammer
Stanley Drywall Hammer. See on Amazon.

We don’t consider drywall as wood, but because we use it in combination with wood, we included the drywall hammer in this list. The drywall hammer consists of a flat head for hammering fasteners and a hook opposite the head, which we use to tear off the wall material as required.

Joiners’ Mallet

Crown 4-1/2-inch Beechwood Mallet
Crown Joiners’ Mallet. See on Amazon.

The joiner’s mallet consists of all-wood construction. This mallet has a square-shaped head. We use it pretty much like a mallet to hammer chisels. However, the main job that we use this type of mallet is to hammer joints together without damaging the surface of the wood the way a hammer does. It is especially useful if you miss your mark, and you hit the surface of the workpiece instead. In such a case, the tool will not make an impact where it’s not supposed to.

Rubber Mallet

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce - Black
Tekton Rubber Mallet. See on Amazon.

When you are working on exceptionally delicate surfaces like pine, upholstery, or sheet metal, you will get the best benefit out of a rubber mallet. The force exerted by this mallet is enough to shape or position the material without damaging the surface.


After reading this article, we hope that you now know a bit more about the different types of woodworking hammers. You will agree that hammers occupy a crucial position in any woodworker’s workshop. Even the most basic woodworking setup would be incomplete without a hammer or two.

However, just having a collection of hammers without knowing their exact purpose is not enough. You need to be aware of the different functions of each woodworking hammer. In this article, we went into great efforts to highlight the specific purpose of each type of hammer. Hence, we hope that you will be able to get the most out of the woodworking hammers that you have.


Featured Image: Damien Pollet