Hammers / Chisels / Punches
This lesson’s content was recently updated and may differ slightly from the lesson video.
The lesson video is scheduled to be updated soon.
Table of Contents
The “go to” hammer in an automotive shop is the ball-peen hammer. They are sized by the weight of their head in ounces. A 32 oz and up hammer is a must for doing suspension work. You can now find these hammers in the dead blow style (as covered later in this lesson).
Plastic tipped hammers are used to prevent the marring of a surface. The better hammers have replaceable tips. These hammers are not as popular since the release of the all plastic dead blow hammers as shown next in this lesson.
Dead Blow Hammer
Dead blow hammers come in all plastic versions like this one and with a version that looks like a ball-peen hammer. The magic is in the head which is hollow and full of lead shot. When the hammer hits its mark and the lead shot hits internally it delivers a “dead blow” with no bounce. It is hard to describe, but when you hit something with a dead blow hammer, you get the feeling that it is hitting hard.
Claw Hammer – Has No Use In Automotive Repair
Do not bring a carpenter’s claw hammer to an automotive shop, especially as a rookie. There are no nails to pull on a car and it often generates a lot of jokes/kidding about the rookie’s hammer. The ball-peen hammer is a smarter choice.
Wikipedia: Cold Chisel
So, what exactly is a cold chisel? It is a term leftover from the blacksmithing era when there were two main chisel designs. One for working with hot metal (metal just pulled from a forge and glowing red) and another chisel designed to cut cold metal (not pulled from a forge and glowing red). So, all chisels used in the automotive service industry are cold chisels and should just be identified as chisels.
The flat chisel is the most popular of the chisel designs and is used for basic metal cutting. Flat chisels are sized by the width of their cutting edge. The chisels in the set above are 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″ and 7/8″. Note that chisel sizes could be in metric dimensions (depending on the country of origin and the target market).
Diamond Point Chisel
The diamond point chisel has a diamond-shaped cutting face for cutting V grooves or sharp internal corners.
The cape chisel has a long taper on the top and bottom of the cutting end and a narrow edge. In the metal working, it is used for cutting keyways and similar flat grooves. In an automotive shop it is often used to cut thin metal such as an exhaust pipe.
Starter punches are sized by the diameter of their tip. The starter punch in the image above is marked 5/16″ on the body. A starter punch tapers up from the tip size to the body size which is a stronger design than a pin punch. Starter punches are typically used to get a pin moving and then switch over to a pin pinch to drive the pin fully out.
Pin punches are sized by the diameter of their tip and the pin punch in the image above is marked 5/16″ on the body. A pin punch maintains the tip diameter and does not taper up to the body size like a starter punch does. Since this design is weaker than a starter punch, you typically get a pin moving with a starter punch and then move over to a pin pinch to drive the pin fully out.
The center punch is mainly used to create an indention in material to aid in the drilling of a hole at a precise location.
A transfer punch is used to mark the center of a hole in a part onto another piece of stock. Watch the video below for the best understanding of this punch. If you are doing much fabrication this is a time saver.