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These are the most commonly used Pounding and Hammering Tools with tips on using them safely and effectively.
A sledgehammer with a 6- to 8-pound head and a 3 foot-long handle is most useful for trail work. It can be used to crush rock into gravel (stone sledge) for trail repair, and for driving stakes or rebar (driving sledge) to secure waterbars and turnpikes. Because of differences in tempering, the stone and driving sledges are not interchangeable. Before swinging, you should make sure others are clear and you have a firm stance with feet spread to shoulder width and firmly planted. Even more than other striking tools, the sledge holds the potential for serious injury because of its greater, more awkward weight. Use only short controlled swings, never using all your might.
Safety tip: Sledgehammers can cause stone chips to fly. Protect yourself by wearing a hardhat, eye protection, long pants, and boots.
A single-jack (3- to 4-pound head with short handle) hammer can be used with a star drill to punch holes in rock. The single-jack can also be used to drive bridge spikes and for other jobs that are too demanding for a regular claw-hammer, but do not require the heavy-duty blows of a sledge.
Safety tip: Wear a hardhat and eye protection at all times.
Star drills are usually about a foot long and weigh a pound. They are used with single-jack hammers to punch holes in rock or open a seam or crack.
Safety tip: Wear a hardhat, gloves, and eye protection when using a star drill.