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Hammer tackers are a type of one handed stapler that can be used by striking them against an object. The basic function is similar to a traditional stapler or staple gun, though hammer tackers can be slightly simpler in design. Most hammer tackers resemble the top half of regular stapler with a handle attached to one end. Instead of pushing the top of the unit into the bottom like a regular stapler, the mechanism in a hammer tacker can be forced upwards when it hits a solid object. Many traditional staplers can be used in the same manner as hammer tackers, though they may be less robust.
Staple guns and hammer tackers have a number of different commercial and industrial uses, and each device has its own strengths. A hammer tacker will typically be much slimmer in design than a staple gun and have a simpler mechanism. Staple guns can offer more precise stapling, though hammer tackers can quickly secure an object if exact placement isn't a concern. Some common uses for hammer tackers are to rapidly set a carpet pad in place, hang insulation, or secure roofing paper.
Heavy duty hammer tackers may be able to drive staples through sheet metal or wood, though they are typically not designed with this purpose in mind. Hammer tackers are generally meant to secure less dense materials to wood, so driving a staple through one wooden object and into another may damage the mechanism. The connection formed by a hammer tacker may also not be as structurally sound as a nail when joining two pieces of wood together.
A variety of different sizes and configurations of hammer tackers are often available. They are commonly around one foot (about 30 centimeters) long, though larger and smaller devices may be found. Hammer tackers may also accept staples of different lengths. A common size of hammer tacker staple is about eight to 10 millimeters (about 5/16 to 3/8 inches) long, and some units may be able to accept more than one size. Hammer tackers of different sizes and various lengths of staples may be useful for installing different types of materials.
Many traditional desk staplers have a release on the bottom that can allow them to swing wide open. A stapler that has been opened in this manner may be used by striking it against a surface, though the mechanism might be more fragile than that found in a hammer tacker. One possible application for a regular stapler used in this manner might be to attach paper to a bulletin board.