How to Use an Air Hammer (Step-by-Step Guide)

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to use an air hammer safely and easily.

Air hammers have many uses and come in handy in various situations. With an air hammer, you can carve in stone and easily cut or break metal objects. Without the proper knowledge of the usage of the hammer, you can injure yourself quite easily, so you’ll need a good understanding of this tool.

In general, to use an air hammer with an air compressor for any task:

  • Pick the right chisel/hammer bit for your task.
  • Insert the bit into the air hammer.
  • Connect the air hammer and air compressor.
  • Wear Protection for your eyes and ears.
  • Start your task.

You’ll find more detail below.

Many Uses of an Air Hammer

The air hammer, aka air chisel, has many uses for carpenters. With an adaptable toolset and different execution methods, these air hammers come with the following attachments.

  • Hammer bits
  • Chisel bits
  • Tapered punches
  • Various separating and cutting tools

You can use these attachments for:

  • Loosen corroded and frozen rivets, nuts, and hinge pins
  • Cut through exhaust pipes, old mufflers, and sheet metal
  • Flatten and shape aluminum, steel, and sheet metal
  • Chisel wood
  • Separate ball joints
  • Chipping and removing bricks, tiles, and other masonry materials
  • Break up grout

Do I Need an Air Compressor for My Air Hammer?

air compressor
Video | seejanedrill

Well, that depends on the task.

If you plan to use the air hammer continuously for a long period, you might need an air compressor. For instance, Trow and Holden air hammers require a considerable amount of air supply. These air hammers require 90-100 PSI of air pressure. So, having an air compressor at home is not the worst idea.

With that in mind, I’m hoping to teach you how to use an air hammer with the air compressor in this guide.

Easy Steps to Get started with Your Air Hammer

In this guide, I’ll first focus on connecting the chisel or hammer bits. Then, I’ll explain how you can connect the air hammer to the air compressor.

Step 1 – Pick the Right Chisel/Hammer Bit

Choosing the right kind of bit entirely depends on the task.

If you plan to hammer something, you’ll have to use a hammer bit. If you plan to chisel, use a chisel bit from your set.

Or use the flatten bit to flatten metal objects. With that in mind, here are some guidelines you should follow while choosing any kind of bit.

  • Don’t use worn-out or cracked bits.
  • Only use a bit that fits perfectly with the air hammer.

Step 2 – Insert the Bit Into the Air Hammer

After that, get the user’s manual for your air hammer model. Find the “How to Insert the Bit” part and read the instruction carefully.

Be mindful of: It is important to read the manual. Depending on the type of air hammer, you may have to change the technique while inserting the bit.

Now lubricate the air hammer and the bit with suitable oil. You might be able to find this type of oil in a hardware store.

Then, insert the bit into the air hammer and tighten the chucks.

Step 3 – Connect the Air Hammer and The Air Compressor

air hammer and air compressor
Video | seejanedrill

For this demonstration, I’m using a portable air compressor. It has a capacity of 21 gallons which is more than enough for my air hammer. If you are using a more powerful air hammer, you may need a larger air compressor. So, always check the rated PSI value of the air tool with the air compressor PSI rating.

safety valve
Video | seejanedrill

Next, check the safety valve. This valve will release the compressed air in case of an emergency, such as unsafe air pressure in the tank. So, make sure the safety valve is working fine. To test it, pull the valve toward you. If you can hear the sound of releasing compressed air, the valve is working.

Tip of the Day: Remember to check the safety valve at least once a week while using an air compressor.

Set Up the Hose Line

hose line
Video | seejanedrill

Next, choose a suitable coupler and plug for your air hammer. Use the industrial coupler for this demonstration. Connect the coupler and plug. Then, connect the filter and the other parts together.

connect the hose to the air hammer
Video | seejanedrill

The filter can remove the dirt and moisture in the compressed air before it travels to the tool. Lastly, connect the hose to the air hammer. Connect the other end of the hose to the air compressor’s filtered line. (1)

Step 4 – Wear Safety Gear

Before using the air hammer, you’ll have to wear the appropriate safety gear.

  • Wear safety gloves to protect your hands.
  • Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
  • Wear some earplugs or earmuffs to protect your ears.

Be mindful that wearing earplugs or earmuffs is a must-follow step while using an air hammer.

Step 5 – Start Your Task

working with the air chisel

If you follow the above four steps correctly, you can start working with the air chisel.

Always start with low settings. If needed, increase the speed gradually. Also, hold the air hammer tightly while it is operational. For instance, when you use a hammer bit with high speed, the air hammer produces a considerable amount of force. So, hold the hammer tightly. (2)

Be mindful: Check the locking mechanism between the chunks and the bit. Without a proper locking mechanism, the bit might fly away unceremoniously.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) moisture -
(2) amount of force –

Video References

Simple Little Life


RJ The Bike Guy

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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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