What Are Ball-Peen Hammers Used For?

What do you use the spherical end of a ball-peen hammer for? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that side of the hammer put to use.


Auto body guys pound out dents with them.

The ball is used in metalworking, usually to form curved surfaces. The peen is the flat face of any hammer.

Surreal, if you ever get the chance to watch “Motorcycle Mania” on the Discovery Channel, tune in. Master bike builder Jesse James is shown fashioning a gas tank out of a flat sheet of metal. He uses a ball-peen hammer to form the tank’s shape, then a kind of a twin-roller device to smooth out the surface.

You can hammer nails. But only if you have really good aim.

Brads if you have really, REALLY good aim.


That’s not right Big Jeff. Here’s what Merriam-Webster has to say:

Main Entry: [sup]2[/sup]peen
Function: noun
Etymology: probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian penn peen
Date: 1683
: a usually hemispherical or wedge-shaped end of the head of a hammer that is opposite the face and is used especially for bending, shaping, or cutting the material struck

I use ball peens regularly in armour working. Basically, the conical end is mostly used to peen rivets. A rivet looks a lot like a round headed nail, with no taper. Once it is put in place, the shaft of the rivet is mushroomed by tapping around its outer edge with the cone side of the hammer. Once it is sufficiently mushroomed, the flat side of the hammer is used to flatten the rivet.

The peen side can also, with a little modification, be used as a forming hammer, as it allows a large amount of force to be concentrated in a smaller, semi-spherical area, which shapes metal quite nicely into a curved or bowl like shape.

The correct answer, is of course, to make steel drums out of household objects…

Sounds like you’re talking about an English Wheel, a device also used in custom auto-body work. Here’s an example.

I, like all real macho guys, use a ball peen hammer in stead of a razor. I pound the whiskers in and bite them off on the inside.

The Sleeper has found the ball peen hammer to be a very useful tool of persuasion when applied liberally to the knee caps.

Just used my ball peen hammer yesterday to pound down a small finishing nail that was poking up out of my hardwood floor.

The nice round end hammered the nail back into place without leaving an unsightly dent in the floor.

      • Humph. “master” my foot: firstly, he uses aluminum not steel. Secondly, he doesn’t even weld his tanks, he brazes them…

How gauche!

The newbies are loving this thread aren’t they? But…

A ball peen hammer doesn’t have a conical end. Your explanation mentions cone side and flat side, but the cone side is the peen (see definition earlier). Surely you’re talking about two different hammers here?

Here’s someone else talking about peening rivets.

This is more of an example of making do with the tools available than using the ball-peen for what it’s intended. The real tool for this job was the nail set – much more accurate and less likely to leave gouges in your floor.

To peen your balls, what else?

They also make really good murder weapons for those of us not blessed with too much upper-body strength.

  • Mental note, don’t annoy Eve when she is carrying a hammer*

You are 100% correct Finagle ,however the OP asked, “What do you use the spherical end of a ball-peen hammer for?” not “What is the spherical end of a ball-peen hammer supposed to be used for?”

Not trying to be a smart-arse or anything :smiley: - just my interpretation of the question!