How to properly use a hammer on nails?

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I rarely use hammers & nails as I typically prefer to use screws over nails.
However once in a while I need to use nails.
I have to do some mending of framing in the attic and I need to nail wood gussets to a joint. The space in the attic is tight and angle is awkward. I cannot get enough leverage so I end up bending and messing up the nails as I hammer them in. I don't think this is productive...
Is there a proper way to use a hammer to stop the nails from being bent?
or is there a proper tool to do what I am doing without a hammer? I cannot use a nail gun, I need to use 10d nails.
Unless I can use screws to serve the same purpose and drive them using a power drill with a tight angle attachment.
Thanks,
MC
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MiamiCuse wrote:

    You might consider using lag bolts to secure the items. They can be tightened with a wrench since they have a hex head or square head, and that allows tightening in confined spaces.
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Since this is a mending task, the Simpson connectors will spread the force over a wider area and typically connect faces rather than edges. They can also be "formed" to fit slightly different angles than they start with. The short, fat nails that are used with them are plenty strong. I have used both bright and galvanized versions. A palm nailer is the tool of choice for driving these short nails.
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Thanks but I hesitate to use lag bolts because they need much bigger holes and tend to take away too much materials from the framing.
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MiamiCuse wrote:

This may sound "different" but have you considered "glue"? There are some spectacular "glues" out there these days.
Lou
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"MiamiCuse" wrote:

Yes, practice. :)
Jon
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Screws have their good points- but remember that their shear strength is the weak spot.

I haven't used one- but I have been thinking about picking one up for a tight spot like you've got there- Air palm hammer- $30 http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber496
I also saw this one in a sears flyer last week battery operated hammer- $100 http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00911818000P
The sears tool might work- but I think I'd spend $30 on a tool and $100 on a compressor before I blew $100 on something that might just get used once.

The right-angle attachment might make getting a good hold on the screw. And I doubt you'd be able to get screws with enough shear strength for your purpose. [especially if you are in Miami where shear strength in attic framing is all important]
Jim
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wrote:

I bought one of those when it was on sale, and so far it works great. I still bent a few roofing nails putting up concrete backerboard, but it sure made the job easy. Just another reason to have a good compressor.
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Would like to know if anybody has tried one of these yet? Would be a nice toy to have around beings that they don't create a lot of vibration and would be great to use in a pinch on attaching things to plaster.
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On Dec 29, 2:01am, JustWondering

I saw it in the store, no demo out but it looks like light duty.
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Yeah, I just got one of these - swell little device.
Sumbitch will drive a railroad spike into a steel I-beam!
It's got a itty-bitty piston inside that uses 90psi of air-pressure to throw a slammer gizmo about 1/4" But it does this about a thousand times a minute and in less time than it takes to swing a hammer the nail is driven home (or bent into a pretzel and firmly imbedded in the work where it adds a quaint patina to the project).
Mine came with several "bits." There's the regular bit of course, then one with a magnet to hold the nail, another for finishing nails (it's smaller in diameter), and one that just knocks without any pretense of holding a nail. I don't know what you'd use the last one for - maybe scootching a board into position?
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Nail guns that use a 22 explosive shell drive big nails
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On Wed, 24 Dec 2008 06:08:27 -0800 (PST), ransley
-snip-

But will they fit in a space that doesn't allow you much hammer swinging room?
Jim [my pneumatic gun will drive a full headed 3 1/2 inch nail but I wouldn't try to 'touch up' attic framing with it]
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There are a few models, one is like a large pistol you pull a trigger, so it fits in tight places and works at angles when there is no room to swing a hammer.
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as
cannot
1. So long as fasteners hold securely, in hidden locations it does not matter if they are bent or damaged by hammering. 2. Reconsider what type of fastener you need. You may find screws (set in predrilled holes) or staples are functionally OK in this location -- perhaps even just glue, if appropriately braced/clamped while it sets.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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MiamiCuse wrote:

1. The force being applied by the hammer to the nail needs to be parallel to the nail.
2. Hit them square & centered on the nail head
3. Use a hammer with a waffle pattern on the hammer head
--

dadiOH
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Try using a few 'steel' nails in the 'awkward' spots. They don't bend so easily! Also sometimes you can use the flat 'side' of the hammer head; takes longer (more blows) but avoids changing over tools.
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MiamiCuse wrote:

You might want to look at the various framing ties and brackets made by Simpson supplemented with predrilled blocking or whatever is required and use lag bolts (*not* drywall screws) and a small ratchet to allow you to work in a confined space.
http://www.strongtie.com /
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MC-
I was quite handy with a hammer (when younger & much more practiced). As I have gotten older one trick that works for me is a mill faced hammer. The milled face keeps hammer from slipping off the nail head & reduces the tendency to bend the nails.
But in your situation, since this is going to be a "one off" project, I would suggest a palm nailer. I bought my Senco used on ebay but I'm sure Harbor Freight has a cheap knock off.
You could also use a Senco 16 gage 7/16" crown stapler w/ 2" staples. And staple the crap out of the plywood gussets. Based on some strength & stiffness tests I did .......... I figured two staples have "about" the same capacity as one 10d nail.
Another nice thing about staples is that the "trauma" to the wood is a lot less than that for large diameter nails.
cheers Bob
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Hi Bob,
I've always wondered about staples, does their shear strength differ in the two direction, parallel to the crown and perpendicular to the crown?
Thanks, Wayne
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