What Is A Sledge Hammer Used For ?
Did you know that the ‘hammer’ criminals in your favorite TV shows or movies use to break large concrete slabs are not traditional hammers, but sledge hammers?
They are hand tools categorized under hammers, but are bigger than claw hammers and mallets. They have a longer and broader handle when compared to a standard hammer, which is usually made from wood.
Instead of having one flat side and a rip claw on the other side of the head like traditional hammers, sledge hammer tools have heads on both sides. The heads are usually made of metal and may weigh 20 pounds or 9 kg.
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Meant for heavy duty tasks
This is a tool that is not meant for light duty tasks. In fact, its big size and design make it perfect to use for those tasks that require extra force and effort than that produced by a standard hammer.
Its swinging action is however comparable to the swinging action made while using an axe and is not like a hammer’s action. You usually have to make the swinging action using both hands and the entire torso. So you see, this action is a lot different than the action and effort put while driving in nails using a hammer.
While you do need to have some strength to use a sledgehammer with full force, it’s mainly the long swinging range and heavy head that increases the resulting force and impact. Like a mallet, a sledgehammer distributes force over a wide area and not small areas like other hammers.
What weight sledgehammer do I need?
Different sledge hammers have different weights and handle lengths. While they are usually heavy with long handles, there are also smaller ones weighing less than 9 pounds available. These smaller versions are used for those tasks which a claw hammer cannot perform, but which requires less force than sledgehammers, like demolishing tight areas.
You have to choose and buy your best size sledgehammer based on what you need it for, and how comfortable you are carrying and using it. There is no point in buying a heavy duty sledgehammer if you will never be able to use it as it’s too heavy to carry!
Who should buy a sledgehammer?
As sledgehammers are perfect to use for demolition work, driving large things like stakes into the ground and for breaking through hard materials, they are most commonly used by those in the construction field, demolition experts, and DIY home renovation tasks.
Even bricklayers, real estate investors, railroad workers and the people who habitually put up large commercial tents for shows and performances like circuses also need sledgehammers.
Sledgehammers have been widely used for centuries, since the time railroads were built, particularly for driving railroad spikes. They make the perfect tool to use for demolition tasks, and even for splitting large logs and wood pieces with a small handled axe.
Removing concrete slabs
You never know when and why you may have to remove some concrete. But it’s not practical or possible to just lift and move large concrete slabs. It’s also expensive hiring pneumatic hammers to perform the job, and bulldozers are of no use if you don’t first break the concrete into smaller, easily manageable pieces.
This is where and why a sledgehammer proves useful as it uses the help of the sledgehammer weight and force to break up concrete. You generate kinetic energy while swinging it downwards which in turn reverberates through the concrete upon striking it. This leads to a crack in it, and repeatedly hitting the concrete with the sledgehammer eventually breaks it.
Driving bolts into concrete
It’s not easy drilling into dense concrete, and the drills with the power to drill through concrete are rather expensive to buy. So if you need to install a few hooks or bolts into concrete, it’s better to do so using a sledgehammer. However, this is suggested only if the bolt is made from steel, and if it’s thick enough to withstand the power of a sledgehammer’s swing.
Sledgehammers were originally made using metal and wood, consisting of a hammer and mallet. And are still used today in carnivals and other places where outdoor functions are common.
Rubber mallets or smaller versions of sledgehammers are better used for pounding small stakes into the ground. In case of larger stakes used for holding down large tents, they are better driven into the ground using sledgehammers, which do not damage the stakes.
Sledgehammers not only demolish concrete slabs but practically anything else that has to be demolished. This is why it’s used by contractors to strip down entire walls of sheet rock, plaster or drywall, wall studs and joists of interior walls, and heating and air conditioning ducts.
Sledge hammers also prove helpful at demolishing homes. So no matter if you have to pull down a wall, remove cabinets or sinks or break through any other heavy materials, sledgehammers can do it quickly and efficiently for you.
Removing exterior walls
Exterior walls are built strong to withstand the test of time and nature. Despite this strength, someone who’s skilled with the right sledgehammer size can easily pull down these strong walls with the right force and swings.
While concrete blocks and bricks are easily broken, solid concrete walls need a little longer to break. The more you hit the wall, the more the mortar cracks so that you can easily remove the walls.
Used by blacksmiths
Blacksmiths still use sledgehammers to shape large, heavy sections of iron. While sledgehammers are useful tools, they are however not seen much outside of construction and demolition sites.
So you can see, different tools have different uses and applications, including sledgehammers. They are most useful for demolishing work, and for work needing an extra effort like dislodging materials that have remained untouched for years.
Sledgehammers are available with different features and qualities for you to choose from. Whatever it’s size and weight may be, they are indeed tools worth investing in for both small and large destruction jobs. Besides, they are compact enough for easy storage and transportation to wherever needed.
However, you need to remember to take some precautionary measures before using sledgehammers. It’s safer and better to wear safety goggles while using them and to clear the work area of obstructions that may obstruct your swing.
Also, make it a point to check the handle’s and head’s stability before each use. This is to prevent accidents like the head dislodging from the handle while swinging the sledgehammer!