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Tools of the Trade: Hammer Time!
Armstrong Steel is adding a new feature to the First Time Builders Blog, called Tools of the Trade. Each month, we’ll highlight a hand tool, power tool or anything specifically used in the erection of an Armstrong Steel Building system. We’ll talk about what these tools are used for, and how they are used on your steel building.
When buying tools for building erection, we recommend that you only use industrial rated, top quality tools. In our experience, it shows that lighter duty tools, although cheaper initially, will not hold up and will cost more in the long run due to losses in time and the price of repairs.
Let’s start with hammers. It’s one of the most versatile tools in your toolbox. You and your crew will use several different hammers in the erection process. We get it – everyone knows how to use a hammer. You use it to drive nails, forge metal, fit parts, and break objects apart. But did you know the different types of hammers and their purpose? As a first time builder, arm yourself with the knowledge to wield these tools; you’ll get your steel building erected quickly and efficiently.
Carpenter’s Claw – The standard hammer used in erection. Everyone has experience with this type of hammer. It consists of a handle connected to a cleaved-peen piece of metal. One side, called the ‘face’ is a flat surface designed to drive a nail into material, while the other side is called the ‘claw’ and is used to extract bent or partially driven nails. The Armstrong Erection and Safety Manual recommends 1-2 of these hammers in your minimum basic tool package for 5-7 man erection crews.
Ball-peen hammer – Also known as a machinist’s hammer, this is a type of peening hammer primarily used in metalworking. Peening in the process of working a metal’s surface to improve its material properties. Ball-peen hammers have two ends as well. One side is a traditional flat surfaced hammerhead, while the other is ball-shaped. Ball-peen hammers are generally lighter than carpenter’s claw hammers, but the head is usually harder. Ball-peen hammers are used to strike and shape metal materials, remove dents in a steel building, and are most effectively used to set metal rivets by hand. The Armstrong Erection and Safety Manual recommends 2-5 of these hammers in your minimum basic tool package for 5-7 man erection crews.
Sledge – The sledgehammer is your heavy-duty, two handed tool used when more force is needed. Sledgehammers have two flat surfaces on the head, a longer handle and are used to drive spikes, shape thick metal and destroy objects. The Armstrong Erection and Safety Manual recommends 1-2 of these hammers in your minimum basic tool package for 5-7 man erection crews.
Rubber – This hammer is most often called a mallet, and is used when a softer blow is called for than that delivered by a metal hammer. Rubber hammers are also used to form sheet metal, and don’t typically leave scratches or marks. This is the ideal hammer for form-fitting metal pieces together. The Armstrong Erection and Safety Manual recommends 1-3 of these hammers in your minimum basic tool package for 5-7 man erection crews.
Welder’s Chipping – The welder’s chipping hammer makes it easy to clean and remove slag from welds. This hammer features a cone-shaped nose, with a sharp, flattened point and a beveled tail on the other side. These hammers can have a barrel spring, wooden, nylon, or plastic handle. The Armstrong Erection and Safety Manual recommends one of these hammers in the minimum basic tool package for 5-7 man erection crews.
Remember, maintaining equipment and tools in a safe and clean condition reduces injuries, lowers replacement expenses, and stimulates workers to take better care of equipment and have greater pride in their work.
Like blogs like this? Read our First Time Builders section, where we’ll profile a Tool of the Trade once a month. Be sure to check back frequently!Photo courtesy: Lenore Edman, Evan-Amos, Jeffqyzt, Shakespeare
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