Over the years, there have been advances made in the raw materials and manufacturing process to make claw hammers, but these hammers are still basically the same and are used for driving in and pulling out nails. A rip hammer or framing hammer, which is a straight-claw hammer, is a must-have tool for framing professionals. The curved-claw hammer, which is the more common claw hammer design, is found in most households and toolboxes.
Use the face or striking surface side of the claw hammerhead as you would any hammer. Striking the face against a nail applies the force needed to set the nail.
Remove nails from wood with a curved-claw hammer by placing the opening between the two claws under a nail head and slowly apply upward pressure to the handle of the hammer to pull the nail out of the wood.
Pry two boards that have been nailed together apart by placing the claws into the opening between the boards and apply upward pressure on the handle. This is not the intended use for a curved-claw head because the claws will damage the wood, but it is possible to separate two nailed items with a curved-claw hammer when a straight-claw hammer is not available.
Use the face or striking surface side of the straight-claw hammerhead as you would any hammer. Striking the face against a nail applies the force needed to set the nail.
Use the straight claw of the rip hammer to pry boards apart by placing the claws between the two boards and applying upward pressure on the handle.
Use a rip hammer to pry nails from wood by placing the claws under the head of the nail and lifting the hammer up. The upward motion is not as smooth as you will find with the curved-claw hammer but it is effective for removing a nail when a curved-head hammer is not available.
About this Author
Based in Covington, Tenn., Cheryl Torrie has been writing how-to articles since 2008. Her articles appear on eHow. Torrie received a certificate in travel and tourism from South Eastern Academy and is enrolled in a computer information systems program at Tennessee Technology Center at Covington.