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How many kinds of hammers are there? Actually, there are about l5, including claw, sledge, bricklayer's, peen, chipping, tack, and soft faced. Maybe you can think of others. The following suggestions can help to keep you from injuring yourself or ruining the tool, no matter what kind of hammer you use. 

1. USE THE RIGHT TYPE AND SIZE HAMMER FOR THE JOB. Use a carpenter's hammer, for example, for driving or pulling nails. Not for striking star drills or cold chisels. Don't use a lightweight hammer for a heavy job. You'll work harder and increase the chances of hurting yourself or damaging the tool. 

2. STRIKE THE SURFACE SQUARELY, always using the head of the hammer and never the side. A glancing blow increases your chances of striking a finger or chipping the hammer head. Don't strike one hammer with another. Hammerheads are made of hardened steel, and pieces may chip off and fly. 

3. CONTROL THE HAMMER by holding it toward the end of the handle. Beginners have a tendency to choke up on the handle, reducing the force of the blow and making it difficult to hit the target squarely.

4. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES to protect your eyes against flying chips when striking objects such as chisels, punches, and drills.

5. BE SURE THE TARGET IS STATIONARY AND FIRM. When driving stakes or hitting a large cold chisel, be sure the person holding the work uses tongs. This will protect him from being hit a glancing blow.

6. KEEP HAMMERS CLEAN AND IN GOOD CONDITION. You can get into trouble by using a hammer with a loose or worn head, or one that has a cracked or broken handle.

In baseball it's three strikes and you're out. But it takes only one strike when you're using a worn hammer, the wrong hammer -or even when you're using the right hammer incorrectly.