Hammer a Nail Safely With Cardboard





Introduction: Hammer a Nail Safely With Cardboard

About: Former Instructables employee. Living in San Francisco amidst the fog. I love getting my hands dirty by taking on new projects, developing unique skills and learning fun facts.
Not so handy with a hammer? Use a piece of cardboard to hold the nail instead.



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    25 Discussions

    This might come in handy when I'm teaching kids to use a hammer. I find the pliers trick is sometimes too "wobbly" in the hands of a child, and they don't want me to hold it for them, they want to do it themselves.

    Very clever idea. I will have to try it. Perhaps by using thin clear plastic like from a 2 litre coke or other soft drink you could do the same and have advantage of being able to see exactly where your nail is going.

    I always used pliers to hold the nail. Your idea was good though.

    I was always taught to hold nails between two fingers with the fingers pads upwards. If you miss, you hit the pads of your fingers, which is much less painful than hitting a finger nail.

    It also helps if you keep the face of the hammer clean. Rub it on your jeans or other coarse cloth. You can also use a scrap of paper for small nails, then tear it away when nail has started.

    I encourage everyone to learn how to hammer a nail the old fashioned way. It's not difficult, and it's much faster than this method.

    Simply purchase a 2x4 like the one shown in the video, cut it in half, lay the pieces on top of each other, and attempt to hammer nails into them until you get it right.

    Get a small box of 8d sinkers and a small box of 16d sinkers. You've got it right when you can reliably hammer an 8d all the way in with 6-9 blows, and a 16d with 8-12 blows. Have someone who knows what they're doing watch you and give you tips.

    Learning to overcome your fear of mashing your thumb is tricky, but once you've crossed that hurdle, you never go back.

    1 reply

    That's fine for large nails going into not-hard wood, Maxa. But the tip above is great for curtain-rod-nails going into plaster walls.

    If you cant hammer a nail without hitting your thumb maybe you shouldnt be doing DIY.

    1 reply

    This is a very old method of holding veneer pins, very fiddly especially short one's.
    We use to use thin off cuts of timber lying around the workshop cut a slot up the end grain with a tenon saw, today we use gas, compressed air or electric nail guns i haven't hit a nail in ten years.

    love the music ,
    how can I get it ???

    By the way, the 1st thing to learn about driving a nail is how to handle the hammer, as it's done in the video : by the end of the handle so it's the weight of the hammer that does the driving job with the help of the wrist which should be the only movement done. Hand and arms shouldn't move and this helps in directing the hammer head where it should, on the nail not your fingers.

    Then again your brilliant idea is more suited for very small nails, the big copper nail showed on the video should be held more efficiently by being wedged between index and forefinger the hand laying flat on the board : with a few strokes the nail is driven and held in place into the wood then it's pounded down as usual. In fact index and forefingers have the same function than the cardboard. That's how people did in ancient times when cisors and cardboard were scarce and mammoth steaks hard to get at ! … :D

    needle nose pliers. fewer steps and already MADE

    This tip would be helpful too if driving nails in a finish piece where you'd want to avoid leaving a dimple in the wood. Once the nail head meets the cardboard, remove the card and finish with a nail set.

    As for the number of blows to drive a nail, it's all a matter of practice. If you don't use a hammer often, take your time. Accuracy is more important than speed. I've seen framers drive a 16d sinker in two blows, but they do this all day long.

    Nice for starting a nail over (above) your head, or one that's just out of reach..

    OR alternately, you could learn to use a hammer!

    I've always kept a comb and a fork in the toolbox for this purpose. For smaller nails, use the fine end of the comb, for medium nails, use the bigger end. For big nails, use the fork, which can also be magnetized to help stabilize the nail.

    The advantage of these over your method is that you can see what you're pounding into, and also you don't waste a piece of cardboard every time.

    Very clever. It's one of those "Why didn't I think of that" ideas. Maybe I didn't think of it because someone once showed me the proper way to start a nail. If you hold the nail just below the head, not down next to the wood, and use a series of gentle blows to get the nail started, your thumb will be safe. Even if you do miss the nail head and strike your thumb, you will suffer only a light tap and your thumb will not be pinched between the hammer and the wood. Take your hand away as soon as the nail is set into the wood far enough to stay upright and gradually increase the strength of the hammer blows. To avoid missing the nail in the first place, use your wrist to move the hammer up and down rather than your elbow or shoulder. LET THE HAMMER DO THE WORK! It's the weight of the hammer head that drives the nail. The harder you try to hit, the less accurate your blow will be.