How To Use A Shrinking Hammer – A Proper & Effective Way!

How To Use A Shrinking Hammer

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A shrinking head hammer is usually the instrument we choose when we don’t have many other alternatives. But unfortunately, that is why we frequently find it difficult to use and dismiss it as useless.

But, if you know how to use a shrinking hammer in a proper way, mark my words, you can repair any small dents with it as perfectly as any other tool.

Here, in my article, I will share my skills and each detail you need to know about a shrinking hammer and how to use it properly. So, let’s continue!

What is a Shrinking Hammer

A shrinking hammer is an odd-looking hammer that is used on a certain sort of anvil and for vehicle repairs, especially in eliminating dents. The surface of the shrinking hammer has a succession of points. Technically, these are meant to grasp and pull the metal together. They can operate on a smooth curving surface, but it takes skill.

How To Use a Shrinking Hammer

As I previously stated, a shrinking hammer is used on a certain type of anvil and for automobile repairs, particularly in removing dents. I won’t show you how to fix a dent; instead, I’ll show you how you can use a shrinking hammer effectively.

Many people believe that when hammering and dollying, you should find the shape of the metal with the dolly and strike directly on it as if you’re attempting to make that shape in that piece of metal. But unfortunately, that is not the case, and it is a common misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, I used to do this when I didn’t know better. When you’re hitting on the dolly, that’s stretching the metal. You’re pinching the metal in between two hardened surfaces and stretching it. 

Every time you heat that metal and pinch it between two hard surfaces and hear the “ting”, that is actually stretching it. So, you don’t want to hear that right now.

Actually, the results of the process are determined by how you hit the hammer and hold the dolly. A firm grip on the panel intensifies the contact, while a slack grip allows the dolly to bounce, limiting the amount of metal stretching. Each dent is caused by strained metal. Although most tiny dents may be treated without shrinking, larger dents almost always need shrinking.

So, let’s just get started on the process. 

First, mark the dents, and start just one by one, smoothing everything out. Then, go over it multiple times. Like I said before, about the hammer on dolly off technique, that means that the high spots are where I’m hitting down, and the dolly is pushing up on the low spots. 

Additionally, don’t hold the dolly directly under where you’re hitting, just push it up on anything low. Finally, make the dolly touch the bottom of the dent and hammer down on the high ridge. 

Remember that the dolly is pushing up on the lows, while the hammer is pushing down on the highs. That is exactly what you must do. Simply go through it.

Two suggestions, first is, to use a gauge (it can be a curve gauge or a flat depending on your surface) to measure the dent. The second is don’t put too much pressure on the hammer. Just smooth but continuous tips are fine for denting.

Dolly for Shrinking Hammer

To back up the metal against the hammer is the main purpose of the dolly. There is no specific perfect dolly for anything. You want to have a variety of dollies. You can use different shapes of metals as dollies though they are not. In some situations, your Hammers become the dollies too. 

It’s all hardened steel. If you want to buy all those dolly’s, it will make you spend a lot of money, instead, you can make dolly by yourself with pieces of metal. It will bring you a large collection of self-made dollies.


Here are some of the most often asked questions about the shrinking hammers.

Can I use a wooden handle for my shrinking hammer?

You certainly can. The finest grip is on a wooden handle. It may even reduce the weight and increase the hammerhead motion. So, you can use the wooden handle.

Does a shrinking hammer work?

Yes, it works, but it requires skill. Technically, Shrinking Hammers are meant to grip and pull metal together. It will definitely work if you know how to properly use it.

Can you planish metal with a shrinking hammer?

Among all 4 metal forming operations; flanging, rapid stretching, and shrinking, planishing require the lowest power. So, you can try, but without a planishing hammer, you will not achieve perfection.


So that’s everything you need to know about shrinking hammers. Of course, there may be various ways to employ a shrinking hammer. But, in the end, it all boils down to the root I mentioned before.

And at last, many users regard the shrinking hammer as an ineffective instrument because they don’t know how to use a shrinking hammer properly. But you know how to put it to good use. So, while working, feel assured.

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