This thread reminded mw of an old tune by the Man in Black (John Cash):
"John Henry's pappy woke him up one midnight
He said, "'Fore the sheriff comes I wanna tell you - listen boy!
Said, Learn to ball a jack, learn to lay a track, learn to pick and shovel
And take my hammer! It'll do anything you tell it to.
John Henry's mammy had about a dozen babies,
John Henry's pappy broke jail about a dozen times
The babies all got sick and when the doctor wanted money,
He said, I'll pay you quarter at a time startin' tomorrow
That's the pay for a steel driver on this line.
Then the section foreman said, Hey - hammer swinger!
I see you brought you own hammer boy, but what else can all those muscles do
And he said, I can turn a jack, I can lay a track, I can pick and shovel too
(Can you swing a hammer boy?)"
My dad was a shop teacher for more than 20 years. Here's what he told me
about hammering technique:
* Hold the hammer near the end of the handle. Don't choke up. You'll get
a longer lever and the hammer will do more of the work. (Dad actually
advocated holding the hammer with thumb and two fingers, but I never
could get that to work. Maybe it was his little joke.)
* Don't hammer by bending your wrist -- use your whole arm. This gives
you more power, but it takes practice.
* Watch the nail head, not the hammer.
* Nails get bent when the face of the hammer strikes the nail at an
angle. Don't do that.
I had a chance to teach a woman how to hammer just yesterday at a
Habitat for Humanity work site. She was there putting in her hours so
she can buy a house. She was proud of the work she was doing for someone
else, and I was proud to help her. Please consider donating a few hours
to your local Habitat project.
In my hands, it makes a big difference whether the "standard" hammer
a flat or a bell (convex) face. On a project where I was nailing
siding on a garage all day long, the flat face was an enormous help.
tired hands don't dead-center the hammer face on the nail, the nail
in nice and straight.
The waffle-face framing hammers, suggested by others, work well too;
are designed to have the same advantage. And for big nails they are
than a 16 oz hammer.
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