A tack hammer is a hammer with a small head designed for pounding in small nails. Tack hammers are commonly used for cabinetwork, molding, trim, and upholstery. They have a wooden handle about 10 inches long and a head weighing 5 to 8 ounces. Some models have a slotted, magnetic face that holds nails for starting them, and a plain face to drive them flush. Others have a small nail-removing claw instead of the magnetic face. Choose a tack hammer with a forged head.
An alternative to the tack hammer is a cross-peen hammer. The head of this hammer has two striking faces: one is flat; the other, the peen, is rounded and tapered. The tapered peen lets you hold a small nail in place to start it without hitting your fingers. Head weights range from 3-1/2 to 12 ounces. Handles range from 10-1/2 to 15 inches long.