How to Hold a Hammer

The secret to hitting nails more efficiently.

By Jennifer Jafarzadeh
Woman holding a hammer and nailCon Poulos

How many hammer hits does it take you to drive a nail? Habitat for Humanity International volunteers who lack experience initially use 16 to 30 strokes. But the volunteers quickly learn how to hold a hammer more efficiently. “By the end of the day, you see them driving a nail in six to eight strokes,” says public-relations director Joedy Isert. You can too, with these tips.

  • To set a nail in place, hold it midway up the handle and use light to medium taps from a six-inch distance. Paige Hemmis, a carpenter and designer on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, suggests placing the nail tip through the teeth of a comb.
  • Once the nail is set, choke down on your grip. The key to driving a nail efficiently is holding the hammer about two inches from the base. That grip will give you maximum swinging force, says Hemmis.
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