Hammers / Chisels / Punches


Ball Peen

Ball Peen Hammer

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 32oz 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

Plastic Tipped Hammer

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

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.

YouTube: How Its Made Dead Blow Hammers

Chisels (Cold)

Section Overview

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.

Wikipedia: Cold Chisel

Flat Chisel

Flat Chisel Set

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

Diamond Point Chisel

The diamond point chisel has a diamond-shaped cutting face for cutting V grooves or sharp internal corners.

Cape Chisel

Cape Chisel

The cape chisel has a long taper on the top and bottom of the cutting end and a narrow edge. In a metal working environment it is used for cutting keyways and similar flat grooves. In an automotive shop it could be used to cut thin metal such as an exhaust pipe.


Starter Punch

Starter Punch

Starter punches are sized by the diameter of their tip and the starter punch in the image above is marked 5/16″ on the body. The punch increases in size as you move from the 5/16″ tip to the main body. This makes for a strong punch design, but you will not be able to drive a 5/16″ pin very far without the punch getting stuck. That is why it is called a starter punch, it is primarily used to start a pin moving. To finish driving out a pin you need to switch over to a pin punch.

Pin Punch

Pin Punch

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.

Center Punch

Center Punch

The center punch is mainly used to create an indention in material to aid in the drilling of a hole at a precise location.

Transfer Punch

Transfer Punch

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.

YouTube – You Need This Tool – Transfer Punch Set

Lesson Resources

Wikipedia: Weber State University – Hammers, Chisels, and Punches