Building your shoemaking toolkit: Tools for hammering

Before I studied shoemaking, I didn't realise how many types of hammers there are (I didn't really spend much time in the tool section of my local hardware store!) If you're just beginning to work with leather for shoe or accessory making at home, you can definitely use any basic hammer for most purposes (except hammering punches - more about that below), but I thought you might find it interesting to see a couple of other types of hammers too.

Basic hammer: A regular household hammer such as the one pictured above is perfectly fine for gently hammering leather after glueing (this helps to ensure a strong bond which is especially important when attaching soles to your shoes). Just make sure that the surface on the end of the hammer is smooth as any scratches or bumps in the surface can mark your leather. It's also good if your hammer has a very slightly rounded surface as it prevents the edge of the hammer head marking your leather.  

Nylon or polymer mallet: I mentioned the nylon mallet in the previous post about punching holes, but thought it might be useful to include it here too. You'll need one of these kinds of hammers/mallets if you are using a drive punch or slot punch to pierce holes in your insole so that you don't damage  your punch. (As I said in the previous post, you can avoid the need for this and for expensive punches when you're starting out by using a rotary punch instead).

Folding hammer: This tool is by no means necessary when you are starting to make your own shoes, but as it's one of my favourite tools, I thought I would include it here. Known as a folding hammer, you simply grip your hand around the bulging section and either use the circular end as a hammer or the flatter end to smooth out seams. It's definitely not necessary for making the Silver Sands Sandals, but I may demonstrate its use in future shoe and bag patterns.

If you're looking to purchase your own hammers, both the regular basic hammer and the nylon mallet should be readily available at your local hardware store. The folding hammer will need to be purchased from a specialist shoemaking supplier.