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Home > Just For Kids

Let's Pound Some Nails!

Now that we know how to hammer, let’s pound some nails.  For younger children use a roofing nail (see nail chart).  It has a large head that is much easier to hit.  Grab a piece of 2x4 and using a 1 ¼” long nail (a rule of thumb is that the nail should be about 2/3 the depth of the piece or pieces of wood it’s going in).  Holding the hammer towards the end of the handle, pinch the nail between the pointer finger and thumb.  Tap the nail a couple of times to get it started.  Now here’s how most people new to using a hammer start out:  They just keep on tapping the nails with short swings because they’re afraid of missing the nail, don’t be.  Swing like you mean it! Remember what we talked about with swinging the hammer through a wide arc to increase momentum, (see Lesson 3 in Woodshop 101 for Kids for more information on swinging a hammer correctly).   Wouldn’t you rather hit a nail five times to sink it into the wood than twenty-five times?  Sure, in the beginning you may bend a few nails while you’re getting the hang of it, but so what? You know how to pull them back out!  One way to make sure that the hammer face hits the nail head squarely is to have the nail and wood positioned at waist level.  This is where the face of the hammer naturally squares up to the head of the nail.  Keep pounding nails until you have the hang of it and feel completely comfortable using the hammer.

Now hammer a few nails in but this time stop short of putting it all the way into the wood.  Using the claw portion of the hammer pull the nails back out.  If you need more leverage try putting a block of wood under the hammer.