With every trade there requires a particular set of tools to complete the job and woodworking is no different. Anyone who’s into woodworking either for a profession or as a hobby knows that there is a tool for nearly every process to ensure an amazing end product. Here we have a list of the top 10 (alphabetically organised) hand tools that every woodworker should own in their workshop.
Adjustable and Combination Squares
There are two main types of squares that you can use in woodworking, both share some aspects such as making marks square to an edge as well as check the squareness of different wood faces.
An adjustable square like the one above is made up of an arm that is at right angles to the ruler. By adjusting the arm you can change the form of your square from an L shape to a T shape depending on your needs. Adjustable squares are quite often referred to as a double square.
A combination square is a multiple purpose tool for woodworking. It is made up of a ruler as well interchangeable heads that can allow for:
- Different measuring angles such as 90° and 45°.
- Determining the flatness of projects or finding the reference surface.
- Measuring the centre of a circular dowel.
- Depth gauge to transfer dimensions.
- Many more
There are many different types of chisels and each one has its intended use in woodworking. The construction of chisels varies from type to type in blade width or length as well as shape and hardness of the blade. Here is a brief list of types of chisels and their purpose:
- Butt Chisel – is a short chisel with a straight edge for creating joints and bevelled sides.
- Bevel Edge Chisel – used to get into acute angles.
- Carving Chisels – mainly used for intricate sculpting.
- Corner Chisel – has a cutting edge in the shape of an L to clean out square holes and corners with right angles.
- Dovetail Chisel – specifically used for cutting dovetail joints.
- Flooring Chisel – this chisel is used to cut and lift flooring material.
- Framing Chisel – is similar to a butt chisel although the framing chisel has a longer and slightly flexible blade.
- Mortise Chisel – has a rigid thick blade with slightly tapered sides to make mortise joints.
- Paring Chisel – is commonly used to clean grooves and tight spaces this is due to its long blade.
- Slick Chisel – a large chisel used by manual force not to be used with a mallet
- Skew Chisel – is used for finishing and trimming due to its 60° cutting angle
A file is a steel hand tool that has small sharp teeth on some or all of its surfaces. It is commonly used to remove fine amounts of material from wood. There are many different types of files varying in size, shapes, cuts and tooth configurations. The cross-section of a file can be square, triangular, flat, round, half round or a specialised shape. Files are normally made of steel.
Hammers are one of the most commonly used tools in many trades. They can be used to tap parts together, drive nails in as well as smash object apart. They can be used in conjunction with other tools such as chisels. Hammers can vary in shape and size as well as structure dependant on their purpose. The common features of a hammer are the head which is commonly made of steel and the handle which can be made from various materials.
A level is used to establish whether a surface is horizontally or vertically straight. They normally consist of a small glass tube filled with liquid and an air bubble. The tube is sealed and fixed parallel to the wooden or metal bar with a smooth lower surface. Levels do vary in size and shape depends on your needs.
A plane is a tool used for shaping wood that requires muscle power in order to force the plane’s blade over the wood surface. Different planes are used in the shaping process to either reduce the thickness of wood or to help create smooth surfaces. Some of the planes commonly used in the woodworking process are:
- Scrub Planes – used for fast removal of wood.
- Bench Planes – there are 4 types of bench planes: Jack, Fore, Jointer and Smoothing.
- Block Planes – commonly used with one hand.
- Specialised Planes – these are unique and can vary quite a lot depending on the needs of the woodworker
- Japanese Planes – these planes cut the wood on the pull stroke instead of the push required by western made planes
A ruler is often referred to as a rule or line gauge. It is used to measure distances and rule straight lines. The ruler typically is a straightedge which contains lines spaced along the top to measure distances.
A saw is a strong blade with hardened teeth on one edge. It is used by placing the toothed edge against the surface of the wood and moving backwards and forwards continually with force. There are various different types of saws for different purposes.
- Bead Saw
- Blitz Saw
- Carcass Saw
- Dovetail Saw
- Electricians Saw
- Mitre-box Saw
- Sash Saw
- Bow Saw
- Coping Saw
- Fellow Saw
- Grider Saw
- Pit Saw
A screwdriver is a manual tool used for turning screws. Typically a simple screwdriver has a shaft and a handle. The tip of the shaft has either a flat end (flathead) or forms a cross (Phillips’ head). This determines whether the screwdriver is for flathead screws or Phillips head screws. To use the screwdriver you simply put the tip of the shaft into the head of the screw and twist in a clockwise direction until the screw is seated on the surface.
Vices and Clamps
A vice can be attached to a woodworking bench and typically sits flush with the work surface. The jaws of the vice are made from wood and face the wood when clamped. Vices are used to hold the wood in place whilst you work on it. Much like adding another pair of hands. There is also another type of vice which is known as a clamp. These can be used to hold the wood together whilst waiting for glue to dry or hold a piece of wood to the bench top.
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