This is actually biased on a Meme: Floppy Hammer Know Your Meme

But I was curious if we can actually prove if a floppy hammer applies more force/energy to a nail, than a regular straight hammer? (or prove it does not)

My first thought was that it could be possible because of how a bow and arrow can store and release kinetic energy with more power then just throwing an arrow. But also, I don't think you magically get more energy from the floppy hammer just because its floppy?

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    $\begingroup$ Although it's technically a floppy stick. A whip used properly will have a tip speed far greater than it's rigid counterpart. $\endgroup$ Mar 4 at 1:40
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    $\begingroup$ I would have thought the main advantage to the user is less violent transfer of kinetic energy back into their hands and arms when the head connects. $\endgroup$ Mar 4 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ The common tool name is "dead-blow hammer" $\endgroup$
    – keshlam
    Mar 4 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ @StevanV.Saban - Good point. But an essential part of a whip's tip speed is the smooth taper from handle to tip. The speed increases as it travels up the whip. This can't be used to speed the head of a sledge hammer without making it too heavy to use. $\endgroup$
    – mmesser314
    Mar 4 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @keshlam I have a dead blow hammer--it's not floppy. The movement is inside. $\endgroup$ Mar 4 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


Most of the kinetic energy of a sledge hammer is in the head. It will have more kinetic energy if the head is more massive and/or moves faster.

This handle looks longer than the usual sledge hammer. This might make it possible to swing it faster.

Being floppy might too. When the workers wind up, the head is farther back than for a straight handle. This means it travels a longer path. If the worker applies a force over a longer path, the head will gain more kinetic energy.

Drawbacks? A longer, floppy handle is harder to aim. Especially if it flops sideways.

A longer stroke means each stroke takes longer. The worker can't make as many strikes per hour.

In general, tools that take muscle need to be tuned to what people can produce. In the 1800's shoveling coal employed many people. One employer decided to see if he could make shoveling work better. He had a series of shovels built in various sizes. Workers could choose what fit them best. It turned out that workers were more comfortable with a bigger shovel that lifted more coal with each stroke. Productivity went up.

I expect sledge hammers have been created with the length and mass that fits most people best. If the floppy hammer gets away from optimum, it won't catch on.

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    $\begingroup$ Impedance matching. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 4 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ One interesting thing about ergonomics is that people have got taller and better nourished since a lot of designs were standardised (kitchen worktops/counters are a case in point, but changing gender roles also play a part in that as men are taller on average than women). Coming back to sledgehammers, to some extent you can fake a shorter handle by gripping differently, but not a longer one. And a short strong user may want a heavier head and shorter handle than someone like me who isn't massively strong but with a good swing can get the head coming down from over 3m above the ground $\endgroup$
    – Chris H
    Mar 4 at 14:58

Looking at the video linked in the OP I don't believe the intent is to hit harder, but rather to transmit less shock to the user. If you're going to be hitting over and over and over the depicted floppy hammer looks a lot more comfortable.


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