Most types of hammers come in a variety of head weights and handle lengths.
Handles made of ash, hickory, tubular steel(with a rubber grip), or fiberglass absorb the shock well, are comfortable to hold, and provide a good grip. The head should be cleanly forged (not cast) of quality steel.
The face of a hammer intended for general use should be smooth and have slightly beveled edges. A textured face clings to nails and is best for long nailing sessions. However, a textured face will mar the work surface. A smooth face, found on open peen hammers, mallets, and sledges, is designed to strike either a work surface or other tools, such as a chisel or a punch.
Types of Hammers
The basic household hammer is a 16-ounce curved claw hammer. For rough construction work, choose a 22-ounce straight claw, called a ripping hammer; for finish carpentry, use a light 12-ounce hammer.
Instead of a claw, these hammers have a second striking surface, called a peen. The rounded ball peen is used to bend and shape soft metal. The hammer used by cabinetmakers has a long, thin cross peen to start a brad and a flat face to drive a nail. A bricklayer's hammer has a flat end to settle masonry into place and a long chisel-like face to score bricks before they are cut.
Mallets and sledges.
To strike woodworking chisels and assemble wood parts, use a carpenter's mallet. Assemble other projects and pound out dents in metal with a rubber mallet. Sledgehammers have a solid steel head weighing from 2 to 28 pounds. Long-handled heavy sledges are used for demolition work, such as breaking up concrete. The lighter, short-handled type is used to drive stakes and spikes in place.
If your wood hammer handle is loose, put it in a jar of linseed oil for about an hour. The wood fibers swell in the oil, making for a snugger fit. If the handle cracks or breaks, replace it or discard the hammer. To attach a new handle, first shape it to fit. Then coat the handle tip with 5- minute epoxy, insert it in the hammer-head, drive in the end wedges, and let the epoxy cure for 24 hours.