What is a Pick Hammer?

Misty Amber Brighton

A pick hammer is a tool that is often used in excavating, geology or fossil-hunting. It somewhat resembles a construction hammer, except that it usually has a long, pointed tip on the end. It is designed to chisel through and break up rock in locations where using powered equipment might be impractical.

Pick hammers are commonly used when unearthing fossils.
Pick hammers are commonly used when unearthing fossils.

This product comes in many different sizes. Which one an individual chooses to use may depend on the job being performed. It can also vary based on the size and strength of the person performing the work.

A small pick hammer usually weighs around 13 ounces (.37 kg). It can be around 12 and 1/2 inches (31.75 cm) long. The head, or solid metal part, of the hammer is approximately 7 inches (17.78 cm) in length. This type is best suited for children to use when they are breaking hard rocks into smaller pieces.

Medium-sized tools can weigh approximately 32 ounces (.9 kg). Even though this item is heavier than smaller varieties, it is typically has a shorter handle and head. The handle of a medium-sized pick hammer is normally 11 inches (27.94 cm) with a 7-inch (17.78 cm) head. This size is normally chosen for cracking into cracks or crevices. It can also be used to drive a chisel, which is a short rod with a cutting edge, into this material.

A large pick hammer can weigh as much as 64 ounces (1.81 kg). This tool is usually around 16 inches (40.64 cm) long, with a head that measures about 5 inches (12.57 cm). This size is mainly used whenever there are large areas of very hard rock that need to be broken up.

The handle of a pick hammer is usually made of wood. It may be covered with a vinyl coating to help absorb the shock felt by a user when the tool strikes a hard surface. The head is normally made of steel. The pointed end of this section could be very sharp or might have a squared edge to it.

Safety should be considered whenever people are using pick hammers. Goggles ought to be worn to protect the eyes from particles that break off when a person pounds the rock. Work boots with a steel toe inside them can keep the feet from being injured should a worker accidentally hit it with the sharp end of this tool.

People who need to break up heavy materials can often accomplish this by using a pick hammer. There is normally no special training needed in order to work with this piece of equipment. A common tool, it can usually be purchased at a local hardware store, for a fairly inexpensive price.

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