View Full Version : I thought I knew how to use a hammer

Don Morris
03-28-2018, 4:57 PM
Does anyone else have trouble hammering in those large metal staples? The ones that are 1" x 1/2". I don't often use them, and usually not for woodworking. But once in a while, they come in handy tying in two pieces of wood together, or holding a large cable in place (which is shown on the box). But when I try to hammer them in very carefully, with either a 16oz claw hammer, or a 4 lb, hammer, it doesn't matter, I lose about 1/4 to 1/3 of them because they go off center, no matter how I try to keep them centered. There must be some trick or process which people who use them often know, but of which I'm completely unaware. If you know the trick, or process, please, please let me know. I'm getting to the end of the box, it's an old box of them, as I said, I don't use them much, but it will hurt my pride having to go and purchase another because i can't hammer them in straight.

Jim Koepke
03-28-2018, 5:23 PM
My hammering improved greatly after acquiring Audel's Carpenter and Builders Guide. One of the main tips was keeping the elbow and the spot being struck in the same plane.

My driving in staples or poultry fence nails came from reshaping them so the two sides of the staple were more parallel. When they are splayed, one of the legs might catch more wood grain than the other and pull to one side.


Don Morris
03-28-2018, 6:28 PM
I've often thought that I might make some effort to make sure the legs were absolutely parallel. That makes sense. When I pull the staples out of the box, some are surely not parallel. I'll give that a try next time. Thanks for the input.

Larry Edgerton
03-28-2018, 6:30 PM
When I was younger I could drive a 16 with a tap to set and one swat. But for most of my career I could not drive an electricians staple to save my butt.

Just this year I asked my electrician as I noticed he had no problem. He showed me that you start the long side first, and the short side will follow. Works. But he can't drive a 16 worth a darn, so we are even.

Lee Schierer
03-28-2018, 8:56 PM
I usually use a 12 oz hammer on staples.

Tom M King
03-28-2018, 9:23 PM
Boxes of fencing staples make a trip to the anvil before the fence. For wiring staples, I like the kind with two little nails that slide in the cross piece.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-3-4-in-White-Plastic-Staples-for-Non-Metallic-Cable-175-Pack-PS-175J/100196642 I've never had a helper short out a wire by hitting one too hard.

Lee Schierer
03-29-2018, 8:09 AM
I use those as well. They are much better than the U-shaped metal ones.

John K Jordan
03-29-2018, 2:20 PM
I've hammered zillions of fence staples for barbed wire, high tensile wire, and woven wire farm fencing. These staples are probably bigger than what you are using but this might still work, I bought a staple driver that holds the staple straight while you hammering the end. I hammer the staple about 1/2 way with the driver then the rest of the way directly. Works like a charm and saves fingers too. Unlike when not using the driver, the staples always go in straight, even if the staple is not completely straight. I use a pretty big hammer.

If you do any metal working I don't think it would be hard to make one for any size staple or maybe someone makes one for your staple size. It's exactly like this one: http://www.rammfence.com/fence/horse-fencing-accessories/tools/barbed-staple-driver.html

I did make a modification - I drilled a hole through the flat section at the end and epoxied a small cylindrical super magnet so it holds the staple in the driver while positioning and starting. The magnet also serves another purpose - instead of grabbing a staple with my fingers I stick the driver in the box and pull out a staple or two with the magnet.


Don Morris
03-30-2018, 1:44 PM
Wow, lots of good ideas. I like the two nail type. That almost looks idiot proof. That's for me. I don't do enough to justify trying to make or have someone make a holder, unless a task comes up that requires a ton of staples, then I would go that route. Neat idea about the magnet. Next to HD to look for the twin nail type staples. In the meantime, I'll hit the long side first. And I'll use the "need to use a 12 oz hammer" as an excuse to buy one. Thanks all for the input.

Jim Koepke
03-30-2018, 3:15 PM
I don't do enough to justify trying to make or have someone make a holder, unless a task comes up that requires a ton of staples, then I would go that route.

When working with poultry wire staples an old pair of pliers comes in handy. First it can bend the staples so the legs are straighter (more parallel). Then it can hold the staple for the first tap with a hammer.

These are the ones that work best for me:


The opening in the wire cutting area is just about right for the legs on poultry staples to squeeze them together.


lowell holmes
04-01-2018, 1:47 PM
I have two pliers like that in my shop and I very seldom do any thing to do with electrical tasks.

Jim Koepke
04-01-2018, 2:25 PM
I have two pliers like that in my shop and I very seldom do any thing to do with electrical tasks.

The name, "lineman's pliers" likely comes from the days when these were used by telegraph linemen to twist splice telegraph wires. During my few years working for a telephone company the particular splice was referred to as a "western union" splice. Here is an example:


The pliers allowed one to quickly twist two pieces of wire together neatly. One wire can feed along the handle while spinning it around the other. This way of holding wires together was also used to hold lines to an insulator. If you are walking along train tracks with open wire above, you will likely be able to spot a few of these splices.


Kevin Groenke
04-01-2018, 3:45 PM
Maybe it's time for an upgrade to your hammer?