If you work with ball peen hammers, you will know there are soft faced ball peen hammers and hard faced ball peen hammers and each one has a different use. These days, neither is used as much for their original functions of metalworking. Ball peen hammers were once very popular to use in a process known as peening. Ball peen hammers are different from point peen or chisel peen hammers because of the shape of the heads as well as their different uses.
Hard Faced Ball Peen Hammers
A hard faced ball peen hammer is exactly what it claims to be. The face is made of forged high carbon steel that’s been heat treated although it can also be manufactured from alloy steel. It is made for tough jobs and is ideal for work on metal. It’s no coincidence that it’s the hammer of choice for many engineers and machinists. It’s excellent for closing rivets and also for shaping metal—you will also commonly find blacksmiths using them.
Hard face ball peen hammers are used on hard metal where it’s necessary to pound in order to shape the material. The hammers are graded by weight, although weights of eight ounces to 12 ounces are the ones most commonly used. You can, however, buy hard faced ball peen hammers that range in weight from four ounces all the way up to two pounds.
The handles of hard faced ball peen hammers will generally be made of wood, most notably hickory or ash. However, you can also buy them with handles made of fiberglass. Because the face of the hammers are so hard, you can use these kinds of ball peen hammers for the really tough jobs on metal. The rounded surface means they won’t cause excessive damage to the material being worked on.
Soft Faced Ball Peen Hammers
There’s far more variation in soft faced ball peen hammers as the head can be made of several different things. Brass or plastic are the most common materials used although you can also find them with heads made of lead or rawhide that’s been tightly wound. Because of this, the uses of soft faced ball peen hammers are different from their hard faced counterparts. They’re usually used on soft metals where a hard face could cause damage. They can also be used for cutting gaskets.
The problem with soft faced ball peen hammers is that the heads will wear out over time or become deformed from regular use. This means that they need to be replaced regularly. Limited life guarantees a market among those who use them regularly, although most people tend to utilize them very carefully. They’re ideal for shaping metals like bronze or copper where a hard head would cause dents.
Again, soft faced ball peen hammers come in different weights although these will generally be lower than for hard faced ball peen hammers. The handles will usually be made from wood or fiberglass. Generally, if people are buying one ball peen hammer, they’ll tend to buy a lighter weight hard faced one because soft faced ball peen hammers have more specialized uses and are generally only purchased by those who need them for specific things.