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Woodworking hammers. From left to right: Medium weight claw head, Warrington, French/German, two of my lightweight claw hammers

Woodworking hammers, from left to right: Medium-weight claw head; Warrington; French/German; two of my lightweight claw hammers.

After concluding my very subjective series on the best design for round-headed mallets, I decided to dedicate one (or two) entries to the cabinetmaker’s hammer. Traditionally, hammers are used for driving nails head on, driving nails using a nail set, and for persuading stubborn furniture parts to get together during glue-ups. But because the craft of making quality furniture has became predominantly associated with wooden joinery techniques, and with the advent of rubber, rawhide and plastic no-mar mallets, the role of hammers in our shops has diminished. 

However, with the contemporary interest in high-quality hand tools and the return of heirloom nails in furniture construction (see Christopher Schwarz’s blog entries on nails)  I hope that we might be on the verge of a cabinetmaker’s hammer renaissance.

What is a Cabinetmaker Hammer?

It is essentially a hammer with a long and tapered cross peen (also spelled “pein”) that comes in two patterns, English and French/German.


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