How to Use a Tack Hammer (4-Step Guide)

Are you trying to use a tack hammer to attach upholstery to furniture, and you don’t know how to use it properly?

As an experienced carpenter, I use tack hammers regularly to drive nails into different types of furniture. Knowing how to use tack hammers properly will help you avoid causing any damage to your furniture or yourself. Tack hammers are versatile tools you can use to hit nails into furniture and do other upholstery tasks. Most tack hammers are magnetized to help you draw tack nails from a toolbox without hurting your fingers.

To drive nails into various surfaces with a tack hammer:

  • Grip the handle of the hammer near the end — away from the head
  • Position the nail on the surface of your material
  • Nest the nail within the bristles of a hair comb to avoid hurting your fingers
  • Hit it with light blows on the head of the nail
  • Use the claw side of the hammer’s head to remove wrongly-oriented nails

I’ll go into more detail below.

Step 1: How To Grip the Handle

man gripping the handle of tack hammer
Video | Deco Bliss

To use a tack hammer, do not grip near the head of the tack hammer. Instead, grab the hammer close to the end of the handle. That way, you will avoid accidents.

Holding the hammer near the handle’s end increases the force directly proportional to the perpendicular linear distance against the object you’re trying to hammer into.

Next, hold the nail on the surface where you want to drive it through with the other free hand. I recommend using a comb to grab the nail. Using a comb to hold the nail reduces the chances of hitting your fingers while striking the nail with the tack hammer.

hammer and comb

A tack hammer is used to hit small nails; hence the probability of missing the mail’s head is high. So, securing the nails within the comb bristles is safer.

Step 2: Deliver Light Taps on The Nail’s Head

man positioning the tack hammer
Video | Deco Bliss

After positioning the nail on your material, hammer the head of the nail lightly — do not use a lot of pressure.

Throughout hammering, keep the handle grip steady and firm. Otherwise, the hammer might slip, resulting in damage.

Step 3: Release the Nail from the Comb

comb and nail

The nail will rapidly settle on the surface after a few swift blows on the head. Remove the comb from the nail after noticing the nail sticking on the surface without support.

Apply force to push the nail into the material to prevent it from coming off when you hit it again.

Then, hit the nail on the head again. Make the secondary hits slightly stronger than the former blows. Be consistent and stable when striking the nail; heavier hits can destroy the material in question.

Besides, materials that use small nails/tack nails are usually fragile and can get damaged.

Step 4: Nail Removal

Hammering the nail will not always go well. The nail can bend or appear awkward on the surface. Use the tack hammer’s head’s claw side to pull the nail from the surface.

You may construct a lever with a minute piece of wood or fabric to simplify the process. Tuck the lever underneath the handle, adjacent to the head of the hammer, and press the tack hammer against it to lift the nail. In most cases, the nail will get lifted easily.

After successfully removing the wrongly-oriented nail, repeat steps one through four to hammer the nail into the surface. Replace the nail if it is badly damaged or bent.

Note: You can use the tack hammers magnet(usually included on the top of the hammer) to pull the nails out of the toolbox and other upholstery activities. That way, you will avert the possibility of getting hurt by the nails. They are tiny, and one can accidentally get punctured by the nails while looking through the toolbox. (1, 2)

tack hammer
Video | Deco Bliss

Do not use a tack hammer with a loose handle for this task. And if there are numerous dents, chips, or cracks in the tack hammer, replace it immediately.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) magnet –
(2) upholstery activities –

Video References

Deco Bliss


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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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