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Old 05-15-2011, 11:25 PM   #1
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Why do i suck with a hammer


Alright I probably only hammered in about 10 nails in my life but today reached a new level of embarassment when I had to do it in front of my future father in law. I suck badly and have no coordination with it. I pretty much just wreck nails, the wood around it, and my self esteem ha...

For the normal ones out there, is there any hope? Does it just take practice? Did you suck badly when you first started using a hammer?

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Old 05-16-2011, 01:02 AM   #2
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Why do i suck with a hammer


Practice, practice, and more practice. Don't choke up on the hammer, hold it near the end of the handle. Use your arm, not your wrist. Practice, practice, and more practice.

Use the right hammer for the job and your experience - examples, a 16 oz hammer is most commonly used - but for framing a heavier hammer. Get a good hammer, not something cheap - the tool does make a difference. A tap to set the nail and get your aim, then a couple three good whacks to drive it home. Finish nails - use a nail set so as not to mar the work's finish.

I used to be pretty good with a hammer and nail. But a few years ago I lost most of the vision in one eye. One of the most frustrating things for me now is driving a nail -I miss and bend, badly. Therefore I use pnumatic nail guns (framing, finish, brad, palm) for most everything and also have one of those Craftsman battery powered hammers for light nailing.

Get some wood - nails - and practice, practice, and more practice.

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Last edited by vsheetz; 05-16-2011 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
whiteryno;648977]Alright I probably only hammered in about 10 nails in my life but today reached a new level of embarassment when I had to do it in front of my future father in law. I suck badly and have no coordination with it. I pretty much just wreck nails, the wood around it, and my self esteem ha...
well, there is some hope for you. I didn't read "fingers" in that list.

Quote:
For the normal ones out there, is there any hope? Does it just take practice? Did you suck badly when you first started using a hammer?
it takes a lot of practice.

a couple of suggestions:

make sure you and anybody around you wear safety glasses. Whacking nails off kilter can cause them to go flying about and obviously they were be very hazardous to your eyes.


If you are rough framing or something where the dings aren't a big deal, I like a hammer with a cross hatch face. A crosshatch face leaves a cross hatch ding and it is kind of ugly. The cross hatch makes up for some of my errant aiming. While I sucked badly when I first started, since I am an electrician and not a carpenter and don't get a lot of practice, while I have progressed and no longer "suck badly", there are still times where I definitely still fit in the "I suck" category. Some days I make it all the way to the "not too bad" category. I doubt I will ever reach the "good job" or even the "pretty good" category as I don't practice enough.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:28 AM   #4
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Darn good advice from both of these guys. Because they have been there, done this. Find you some scrap pieces of 2x4's, some 16d nails, and nail away. As stated, use your arm, not your wrist. When you feel you are better at driving nails, start nailing some boards set at right angles, such as wall studs would meet the bottom plate. Cut and try all sorts of different types of angles, putting more than one board together, just anything for practice. I got my start with a framing carpenter when I was 14 years old. He was one rough S.O.B and would call you out to the rest of the crew for bending any nail or hitting it more than three times. You learned real fast how to hit a 16d nail only three times with him, unless you wanted the crew on your case all day.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:32 AM   #5
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Check this out.

http://www.contractortalk.com/f11/ha...er-poll-93685/
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:44 AM   #6
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Not everyone is born to pick up a hammer, the world needs salesmen too.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Why do i suck with a hammer


Couple of pieces of advice I picked up from my old boss Bob Buza about nailing.

1. We were on a construction site, and the apprentice carpenter was nailing siding to the wall. Bob noticed that he was throwing away about every other nail. Bob asked him why, and the apprentice said that the nails were facing the wrong direction. Bob explained to him that there was no need to throw those nails away, we used them on the other side of the house.

2. I was nailing 16d framing one day and most of the nails were bending. Very irritating. We looked at the box, and observed that the nails were made in ******. No kidding. They were so wimpy you couldn't nail them. Advice is to get good nails as well as a good hammer.

3. Those who have done this enough know that the best way to avoid bending a nail is to hit it dead center and very hard. Light taps are sure to bend it.

4. If you are nailing to a piece that is not solid, most of the energy goes into moving the piece and not driving the nail. Very frustrating. Here's a little tip that will make you look like a pro. Back the piece up with something heavy like a short piece of 4x4. The extra mass on the back side will cause most of the energy to go into the nail rather than the piece of wood, and you can drive the nail in.

By the way, I still have my father's old 16 oz framing hammer, it is at least 50 years old, hickory handle, good as new. Treat your hammer well and it will repay you over many years.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:50 AM   #8
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Why do i suck with a hammer


I'd second using good tools. I often use a hammer that most of the guys here would consider too light, but I don't swing a hammer often enough to have built up some good strong hammering muscles. I am more accurate with the lighter model.

Also, don't use your good hammer to do anything other than hammer nails.

Lastly, depending on what kind of guy your F-I-L is, you could ask him for some advice. My Father-in-law loves to 'show me how to do it 'right'. Even if I don't use his suggestions, it garners me some brownie points.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
Not everyone is born to pick up a hammer, the world needs salesmen too.
Haha good point. As I get older though I appreciate the honest work of a tradesman versus the bs of a salesman.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:34 PM   #10
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Thanks. It has to have something to do with hand/eye coordination I would assume. I'm sure some people can just pick it up and do a bang up job right away. Plus I'm kind of ambidextrious so I do things with different hands depending on the task. With hammering though I suck equally the same with either hand
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:48 PM   #11
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It's definetly about the technique, I was at a home and garden show once and they had a hammering competition up on a stage. After a couple of rounds of toughguys eliminating each other an old boy gets pushed towards the stage by his wife. By old I mean 75+, he took 5 mins just to get to center stage!

He was definetly from the pre-air nailer generation like my grandfather because he smoked the competition! He barely looked like he was working and he would finish his 6 nails and look at the young bucks smiling as they caught up.

He was a rockstar that afternoon, went home undefeated too!
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:54 PM   #12
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Lastly, depending on what kind of guy your F-I-L is, you could ask him for some advice. My Father-in-law loves to 'show me how to do it 'right'. Even if I don't use his suggestions, it garners me some brownie points.
.............
Ditto what Leah said. Born nail bangers are few and far between. Don't expect paying top dollar for the newest hammer will improve things while in noobie nail banger stage, either. A good quality, well balanced(that's the key) one will suffice.
Never will forget this one helper guy we had on a framing crew we nicknamed Gabby, as he never would shutup. Came in one day bragging about this loddy-da hammer he just bought.
All day long we could hear "fling" "fling" "fling" where he was glancing nails and they'd ricochete all through the house.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:49 PM   #13
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I prefer "MAZE" nails, made in Peru, Illinois. I only bent one in hundreds, and that was my fault.

The "those nails go on the other side of the house" bit is a Three Stooges gag, btw.

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Old 05-16-2011, 07:02 PM   #14
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I think you are confused. You don't "suck with a hammer", you suck with a vacuum. You hammer with a hammer. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:21 PM   #15
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I think you are confused. You don't "suck with a hammer", you suck with a vacuum. You hammer with a hammer. Hope this helps.
Ok how's this rusty...working with a hammer sucks the life right out of me figuratively speaking.

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