When Framing Hammers Are Preferable Over Pneumatic Nailers

A pneumatic nailer, or nail gun, can make most construction projects very easy. The pneumatic nailer is quickly replacing the use of an old fashioned framing hammer. Framing hammers are still quite useful though, and you will find many instances when it’s better to use the old fashioned hammer in lieu of the higher powered, faster, nail gun.  So the question is, when do you use them?


A lot of roofers will use the nail gun to secure everything quickly and easily. However, some roofers prefer using framing hammers. This may be more work, and more time consuming, but the people who believe this method is best will tell you that a roof put together or repaired with a framing hammer will last longer. They believe that using elbow grease is the best way to have a quality, lifelong roof installed. You have more precision with a framing hammer, and ultimately more control over the quality.

Framing Small Items

If you are framing a house, a nail gun will work best on the large parts of the frame. But when it comes to smaller, more precise connections a framing hammer will do a better job. Especially when you are working with smaller portions or width of wood the nail gun may provide to much pressure.  You may find situations like this when working with window frames, window boxes, planter boxes, closet corners, and many other places where framing is necessary but difficult to reach. You can control the amount of pressure more accurately by using a framing hammer and nailing it by hand.

Indoor Projects

For safety’s sake, it’s also best to leave the nail gun to large projects outside the house. Using a nail gun inside can cause damage to your property and to people. The pressure produced by the pneumatic nailer can force a nail much farther than you anticipate. There are many horror stories of people injuring themselves while trying to use a nail gun in the house. If you have a simple project, like shelving units or book cases, you may want to avoid the nail gun. Anytime you are working on an indoor project it’s best to stick to a framing hammer and elbow grease.

Awkward Angles

In many projects you will encounter having to place a nail in an awkward corner or angle. Using a pneumatic nailer for this can be much harder than just using a framing hammer. If you have the nail in the wrong place, it’s much easier to remove if you’ve hand nailed it. If you’ve used a gun the nail may be near impossible to remove.