skip to content skip to search skip to navigation Listen Live skip to logon
Wednesday 17th September 2014
Max 23°C | Min 16°C

Why is it called a sledgehammer?

sledgehammer.jpgQuestion

All the hammers have self-explanatory names - toffee hammer, nail hammer, claw hammer, club hammer - but why is a sledgehammer so called?
Dave, London

Answer

** Joint Definitive **
Name: Barry, Battersea
Qualification: Comes from a family of shipbuilders
Answer: I originally come from Jarrow, on the River Tyne and a lot of my family work in shipbuilding. The timber racking that held the boat upright before it reached the river was called a sledge. Inside the timber were big oak wedges, which needed to be knocked out to launch the boat. These were hit with a big hammer, which was then called a sledgehammer.

** Joint Definitive **
Name: Marcus
Answer: When they build big boats, they build them on big sledges that go down into the sea. They are chocced up to make sure they don't slide into the sea and they knock those big chocs out with hammers, which are called sledgehammers.