A rip claw hammer is a type of claw hammer which has been specifically designed for use in framing and ripping. This type of hammer is often carried by professional construction workers, along with other styles of claw hammer, and some people like to keep a rip claw hammer around the house for serious construction tasks. Many hardware stores stock this style of claw hammer, and it can also be ordered directly from a manufacturer or hardware supplier.
Claw hammers are double-ended hammers with a T-shape in profile. One side of the T has a flattened head for hammering, while the other side has a curved claw which can be used for tasks like pulling out nails and tearing boards apart. In a classic claw hammer, the claw is deeply curved, to make it easier to pull out nails. In a rip claw hammer, also known as a straight claw hammer, the claw is much flatter, to facilitate wedging the hammer between boards and other materials for the purpose of ripping things apart.
A variety of materials can be used to make rip claw hammers. The head is usually made from metal, for weight and strength, but the handle may be made from wood, fiberglass, or metals such as titanium. Many include shock absorbers which are designed to distribute the shock of hammer blows so that people are not injured while using the hammer, along with soft grips to make the hammer more comfortable to use.
Straight claw hammers are available in a variety of sizes, from small versions designed for woodworking to oversized hammers used primarily in demolition. Some examples of a way in which a rip claw hammer might be used include: stripping linoleum from a floor, pulling boards apart, and removing sheetrock and other walling materials. The hammer head can be used for an assortment of hammering tasks, ranging from getting nails in to dislodging a board so that the claw can be fitted inside to pull the board fully away.
When selecting a rip claw hammer, it pays to go to the hardware store and actually heft one, to see how the weight and balance feel. The hammer should be feel comfortable, with an easy swing, and it should not be so heavy that it causes strain. If a friend has a rip claw hammer, it may also help to ask him or her if it is possible to “test drive” the hammer on a project to see how it feels during actual work.