A Guide to the Parts of a Claw Hammer

The claw hammer is one of the most common types of hammer and definitely deserves a place of honor in any toolbox. This article is intended to serve as a handy guide to the the parts and functions of a claw hammer, to help you recognize whether or not it is the right tool for your task.


Typically forged from a piece of forged steel, the head of a claw hammer is usually flat and circular, with a diameter of approximately 1 inch. The principle use of a claw hammer is for hammering nails, so a larger head is rarely needed. However, larger claw hammers are available if your situation requires it. Claw hammers are ideally suited for wood, but are not recommended for working with metal because of the brittleness of the steel head.


The forged steel of the head terminates at the rear of the hammer in the eponymous "claw," two metal prongs that terminate about 1/8 inch apart. The claw is designed for prying nails out of a wooden surface when they are no longer wanted or needed.


A typical traditional claw hammer has a hickory handle on which the head is mounted. Heavier duty hammers may be a single piece of forged steel, while more modern alternatives may have a fiberglass handle.