When you are buying a hammer you may notice that some of the claws on the hammer are straight while others are curved. This is intentional and the reason for this basically boils down to a couple of things. What do you intend to use the hammer for? Obviously, to hammer nails but what other functions are you looking for? Is this just going to be your standard hammer to have around the house or are you planning on doing a big job with this hammer? The answer to that question will help you decide on what kind of product that you need.
Curved Claw Hammer
The curved claw as shown below is geared towards more novice carpenters or for the typical weekend do-it-yourselfer. It will get the job done and will also allow you to easily extract nails out of two by fours, trim work, or any other kind of material. This is the standard hammer that most people are familiar with and is the product that most of you will end up buying.
Rip Claw Hammer
The straight, or rip, claw on other hammers are mainly meant for professionals. I say this because the straightened claw on a hammer has a multitude of uses such as demolition, prying apart boards, splitting wood, and yes even for pulling nails out. Many people describe the straight edge as a makeshift hatchet and that is the best way to think about it. This mini hatchet will allow you to wedge it in between boards or other materials and then to pry them apart. Another way to think of it as a pry-bar.
The rip claw hammers are typically more expensive and also come in at larger sizes. Not all rip claws are framing hammers but most framing hammers are rip claws. I wrote a few articles on these hammers the other day that you may find interesting. You can find them by clicking here for the the best framing hammers or by clicking here for the best rip hammers.
Rather your buying a claw or a rip hammer it’s best to know what you are getting into before your purchase. Will you spend the extra money for the straigthened claw or will you go with the standard hammer purchase? The choice is up to you but I hope that I was able to answer your question.
Alec John Johnson