Ball-peen hammer

Ball-peen hammer
A 15" (380 mm) ball-peen hammer.

A ball-peen (also spelled pein and pane[1]) hammer, also known as a machinist's hammer, is a type of peening hammer used in metalworking. It is distinguished from a point-peen hammer or chisel-peen hammer by having a hemispherical head. Though the process of peening has become rarer in metal fabrication, the ball-peen hammer remains useful for many tasks, such as striking punches and chisels.



The original function of the hammer was to peen riveted or welded material, which makes it as flexible as the surrounding metal. Today, the ball end of the hammer is used to cut gaskets, expand and shape the free end of copper roves, light rivets, and "set" rivets (which completes the joint).


A. Ball-peen hammer B. Straight-peen hammer C. Cross-peen hammer

Variants include the straight-peen, diagonal-peen, and cross-peen hammer. These hammers have a wedge-shaped head instead of a ball-shaped head. This wedge shape spreads the metal perpendicular to the edge of the head. The straight-peen hammer has the wedge oriented parallel to the hammer's handle, while the cross-peen hammer's wedge is oriented perpendicular. The diagonal-peen hammer's head, as the name implies, is at a 45° angle from the handle. They are commonly used by blacksmiths during the forging process to deliver blows to a forging or strike other forging tools.

Head materials

Ball-peen hammers have two types of heads: hard-faced and soft-faced. The head of a hard-faced hammer is made of heat treated forged high-carbon steel[2] or alloy steel; it is harder than the face of a claw hammer.[3] The soft-faced hammers are made from brass, lead, tightly wound rawhide, or plastic. These hammers usually have replaceable heads or faces, because they will deform, wear out, or break over time. They are used to prevent damage to a striking surface,[4] and are graded by the weight of the head.


  1. ^ Audel, Theodore (1962), Audels new mechanical dictionary for technical trades, Theodore Audel, p. 54, 
  2. ^ Cavette, Chris, How hammer is made,, retrieved 2008-12-19 
  3. ^ Benford, p. 36.
  4. ^ Szykitka, p. 435.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ball-peen hammer — [bôl′pēn΄] n. a hammer with one end of the head rounded and the other end flat: see HAMMER, illus …   English World dictionary

  • ball peen hammer — noun : a machinist s hammer having a head with a cylindrical convex faced surface at one end and a ball peen at the other * * * ball peen hammer, a hammer the head of which has a rounded end opposite its face, used especially by machinists …   Useful english dictionary

  • ball-peen hammer — ball′ peen ham mer [[t]ˈbɔlˌpin[/t]] n. bui a hammer with a hemispherical peen(ball′ peen ) for beating metal …   From formal English to slang

  • ball-peen hammer — /bawl peen / a hammer having a hemispherical peen (ball peen) for beating metal. See illus. under hammer. * * * …   Universalium

  • ball-peen hammer — hammer with a flat striking head on one side and a rounded head on the other (used primarily in metalworking) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ball-peen hammer — noun Date: circa 1876 a hammer having a hemispherical peen at one end of its head …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ball-peen hammer — noun A hammer having, besides the normal flat head, an opposite, rounded or peening head. Syn: engineers hammer, machinists hammer …   Wiktionary

  • ball peen hammer — A hammer with two ends on the head. One is round and the other is flat. They are best used for hammering and shaping metal. Also spelled ball pien …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • ball-peen hammer — noun a hammer with one round and one flat end; used in working metal • Hypernyms: ↑hammer …   Useful english dictionary

  • ball pien hammer — A hammer with two ends on the head. One is round and the other is flat. They are best used for hammering and shaping metal. Also spelled ball peen …   Dictionary of automotive terms

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