Woodworking Hand Tools
So you want to build things out of wood.
Are you are a former High School woodshop student or a home maintenance do it
yourself enthusiast or just a person wanting to try your hand at woodworking. It doesn't matter.
You will need a few basic woodworking hand tools to start out with.
Having the right tools will not only save you time and help insure the quality of
your work, but will also help you do so safely. Guys, you can use that line on your wives if she thinks you are
spending too much money on your tool collection.
Handtools That are a Must to Get Started
- Screwdriver Set of Different Sizes
- Wrench Set - different sizes
- Chisel Set - different sizes
- Hand Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Work Bench
- Tool Box
When many people think of do it yourself wood working, the first thing they
picture is some guy hammering nails haphazardly into a lopsided bird house or some useless box of dubious design.
This is true only as far as using a hammer- unless you like birdhouses a lot. You will need more woodworking hand
tools than just a hammer to start out. Don’t be worried, help is right here.
The All Important Hammer
The cornerstone of your woodworking hand tools arsenal is the hammer. The right hammer is a good idea. Hammers
come in various sizes and shapes based on their intended use.
For your woodworking shop, the all purpose claw hammer will do nicely to start out with. Be sure have the proper
weight and heft of the hammer to suit you. A hammer that is too light will leave you tap-tap-tapping all day. A
hammer that is too heavy for you will take away from your accuracy as well as wear you out before you even get
Measure - Don't Guess
Unless you are an ancient Egyptian, you will need a measuring tape, combination square and possibly a
The measuring tape will enable you to measure wood before cutting as well as check the overall dimensions of
your finished project.
A good combination square will take a lot of the guess work out of any angles in your project; this is important
when you consider eyeballing a 45 degree angle will most likely result in a less than desirable product. Even 90
degree angles are not that easy.
A protractor will definitely come in handy if you plan on rounding corners evenly. Again, eyeballing when you
don’t have to will produce an inferior piece and leave your project looking more like a Picasso original than a
labor of love. A small torpedo level and a 4’ level are also recommended.
Screw Drivers & Wrenches
Screw drivers and wrenches are a great idea for driving screws and wrenching bolts - weird how that works, huh?
To take it a step further, a nice socket set is a good addition to your woodworking hand tools set as well - for
both additional leverage and getting to those hard to reach spots.
You might have the greatest rechargeable cordless drill in the neighborhood, but when working with soft wood it
is always best to “finish off” your screws and bolts with a few twists of the wrist. This will keep the wood from
cracking and ruining all of your hard work.
Using a flathead screwdriver in place of a chisel is not only a bad idea but it could get you hurt, and will
result in a bad piece of work. Chisels are designed for shaping and cutting wood and to be hit by a hammer, screw
drivers are not. So pony up the cash for a good chisel set and keep them sharp.
Planes, Clamps & Vises
A good plane is important for “shaving down” rough piece of wood or timber and producing a flatter, smoother and
thinner piece of wood. Using a plane will help you fit pieces of wood together more tightly and accurately.
Sandpaper is also advised for further smoothing the wood and adding that “fine touch.”
Having a good array of clamps and vises is paramount to your success as well. You might have the latest and
greatest woodworking hand tools on the planet, but unless you have, literally, a vice-like grip and a third and
fourth arm, you will need clamps and vices to hold your wood into place from time to time while you work on it or
wait for glue to dry.
Though not necessarily a member of the woodworking hand tools family; a good workbench is a must. Look for
something solid that will not rock easily and is thick enough to use clamps on to hold down any pieces of wood you
might need held in place. Typically you can find wood working benches with a vice already installed; yeah, they are
better. Better yet - build your own work bench.
Woodworking Hand Tools
Quality Woodworking hand tools will make all the difference in the world. Here we touched on the non-powered
variety, but obviously, there are plenty of powered options. While powered hand tools might save you time, they
cannot take the place of good non-powered hand tools.
Like so many other things in life though, success comes from having a solid base to work from. Having these
basic woodworking hand tools already on hand will save you time and money in ruined wood. Now, go build something,