Any carpenters left who hand drive?

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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 06-30-2013 07:52 PM 1765 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13347 posts in 2641 days

06-30-2013 07:52 PM

Been wondering are any carpenters left who hand drive framing and trim work? It seems to me that using the right hammer for the job is better than dragging a compressor and air hose around all the time?

40 replies so far

View lew's profile


10469 posts in 2724 days

#1 posted 06-30-2013 08:04 PM

Until you get to be 60-65 years old and can no longer bend you elbow!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


9431 posts in 1652 days

#2 posted 06-30-2013 08:11 PM

One, don’t bend the elbow, use the entire arm for the swing

Two, Use a wood handled hammer

Three, I never shot a nail into me, using a hammer. using a framimg air nailer, though…...

Prefer to swing hammers, and not mess with air hoses and such. Might take a little longer….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2641 days

#3 posted 06-30-2013 08:17 PM

The cordless Paslode might be a option for me.

View Dallas's profile


3508 posts in 1456 days

#4 posted 06-30-2013 08:42 PM

Really late 50’s in age here. I still use my framing hammers and finishing hammers although I no longer swing the 28oz with the waffle head or the 32 oz with the smooth face.

Here in the park my boss will drag 200’ of 1/2” air line behind him to drive 10 nails, I would rather use my real hammers.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1286 posts in 1041 days

#5 posted 06-30-2013 09:00 PM

I hand drive all exterior cedar trim. Even siding guns leave impressions of some kind I don’t like. Use blue handled estwing hammer with great results. 20 oz, (maybe light for some but I have long arms) finish with nail set. Have several versions of cordless guns, when I don’t want to haul that compressor around.

-- Who is John Galt?

View cabmaker's profile


1361 posts in 1777 days

#6 posted 06-30-2013 10:06 PM

II have owned and used framing nailers in the past but that proved to be a real pain with exception to the buildup stage of framing jobs

I have not used one for approx. 25 yrs or so but still do a bit of framing ie: two room additions and one two story home last year.

Even if I had to go back to framing as a livelihood I would be hand nailing but not with the 28 to 32 oz previously mentioned. I currently use a 19oz rip claw with axe type handle made by Hart.

Not the best but pretty good.

I would recomend learning how to drive nails efficiently and go with it. At the end of the day I would challenge you to be any further along with a nailer.

A nailer is however very effective on the cornice work, subfloors and decking.

BTW I ve heard that some framers even use roof calculators to figure out their roof cutting.LOL I. Guess I ve heard it all now !

Enjoy the journey CJ

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2641 days

#7 posted 07-01-2013 12:39 AM

I am going to get Vaughan 20 oz milled face hammer for framing, I have a Estwing 16oz curved claw hammer but its for trim work.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1262 posts in 917 days

#8 posted 07-01-2013 01:16 AM

I still use hand thread nails for all skirt boards. When I was building scaffold, everything was hand pound even hand nailed the plywood to the steel pans. This is the best hammer I have ever used. I thought I was going to need elbow surgery till I got one. how can you go wrong with a hammer that weighs 15 OZ and swings like a 28 OZ framer. I started on a trim job a month ago and the first thing the super told me was to take my Billie club back to the truck. I bet him lunch mine was lighter than his 20 OZ estwing and he said your on. I tossed it to him and he was dumbfounded. needless to say he came into the job with pizza the next day.

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 1202 days

#9 posted 07-01-2013 01:25 AM

I still hand nail small amounts of trim with my beryllium/copper trim hammer. But when quality and quantity is needed my Grex micro pin gun and a tiny compressor can’t be beat.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Buckethead's profile


3038 posts in 837 days

#10 posted 07-01-2013 01:27 AM

I’ll second the stiletto hammers. I have a couple, though I prefer the wooden handles.

That said, I can produce more with a nail gun vs hand banging. I learned by hand.

A nail gun is as hard on the elbow as a hammer. They don’t make work easier, they just make your efforts more productive, as well as making some nails far easier… Such as toe nails.

Nailing off sheathing is exponentially faster with a gun, although most people will hang plywood/OSB by hand.

A smashed thumb or finger is far more painful than a nail from a nail gun. Neither are good.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1262 posts in 917 days

#11 posted 07-01-2013 01:32 AM

I went for the t-bone for scaffold building. A wood or fiberglass hammer would only last 2-3 months before the head would go flying. also I got mine for $165 with both heads.

View firefighterontheside's profile


9082 posts in 825 days

#12 posted 07-01-2013 01:44 AM

I use a 20 oz. Blue Grass smooth head hammer. When framing I rough up the head with a file. I use it almost exclusively when framing, not that I do that a lot. For trim work and wood working I use finish and brad nailers. I enjoy driving 16’s with my hammer. It’s a good way to relieve frustration.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2641 days

#13 posted 07-01-2013 02:07 AM

Well I learn carpentry by hand driving at trade school.

View Christophret's profile


149 posts in 970 days

#14 posted 07-01-2013 02:10 AM

I hand nailed many a roofs and framings until I could afford a compressor and pneumatic guns.
Callus is a virtue. It defines you.

-- I cut it twice and it's still too short!

View Christophret's profile


149 posts in 970 days

#15 posted 07-01-2013 02:14 AM

Bandit571 ,your hammer technique is so wrong it hurts. you never use your arm.
Proper hammering comes from the wrist.
That was pitiful advise.

-- I cut it twice and it's still too short!

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