This may seem intuitive, but many Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts and some construction professionals use hammers incorrectly which can damage your tools or result in injury. Taking care to use your hammer properly will ensure that it lasts longer and that your work doesn’t damage the wood or nails.
Strike the nail only with the face of the hammer. The side or ‘cheek’ is the weakest point and using this could damage the tool.
Position the nail, rest the face of the hammer on the nail head and then give it a gentle tap. This will help you to perfect your aim and will set the nail into the lumber.
Do not use a hammer that is weaker than the material you are striking as this will damage the tool. Always use the proper hammer for the job – you don’t want to use a framing hammer to drive in a finishing nail and you don’t want to use a light hammer to drive in a framing nail.
If you want to drive a nail beneath the surface of the wood, use a nail punch. Place your little finger on the surface, rest your nail punch against your finger with the head of the punch on the nail and then drive the nail 1/16” below the surface.
If you want to pull out a nail, slip the claw under the nail head and gently pull back until the nail shaft is vertical and slightly drawn. Now slip a piece of wood under the nail head and continue to draw the nail out. Don’t just keep pulling the nail as it will damage the wood as it pulls sideways and will bend the nail.