This Tool was forgot to be deſcribed in Joinery, though they uſe Hammers too, and therefore I bring it in here. Its chief Uſe is for driving Nails into Work, and drawing Nails out of Work.
There is required a pretty skill in driving a Nail; for if (when you ſet the point of a Nail) you be not curious in obſerving to ſtrike the flat face of the Hammer perpendicularly down upon the perpendicular of the Shank, the Nail (unleſs it have good entrance) will ſtart aſide, or bow, or break; and then you will be forced to draw it out again with the Claw of the Hammer. Therefore you may ſee a reaſon when you buy a Hammer, to chuſe one with a true flat Face.
A little trick is ſometimes uſed among ſome (that would be thought cunning Carpenters) privately to touch the Head of the Nail with a little Ear-wax, and then lay a Wager with a Stranger to the Trick, that he ſhall not drive that Nail up to the Head with ſo many blows.
The ſtranger thinks he ſhall aſſuredly win, but does aſſuredly loſe; for the Hammer no ſooner touches the Head of the Nail, but inſtead of entring the Wood it flies away, notwithſtanding his utmoſt care in ſtriking it down-right.
Mechanick Exercises: Or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works – 1683