Any pro knows that the right woodworking hand tools for a specific project is critical when it comes to creating a quality product in a timely manner. Some of the top small tools can make all the difference when it comes to creating solid, detailed and precise products.
The Best Equipment for Wood Works
The hand tool gets its power from your muscles, but you’ll still need solid tools to get the job done and tools that can stand up to heavy everyday use. Here’s a comprehensive list of the must-have hand tools every cabinet maker or woodworker should have in their woodshop.
The most basic tool in every home is the claw hammer. This tool is most commonly used in construction and leaves a type of waffle mark on the wood. A claw hammer that’s not well-balanced will twist in your hand as you hammer, which makes it more difficult to drive the nails in properly. A woodworker normally grips the claw hammer placing the hand at the back of the grip and allowing the weight of the hammer’s head to do most of the work. The twenty ounce size is the most widely used. Hammers with a fiberglass or steel handle will be stronger than models with a wooden handle.
A solid, quality tape measure is the next important hand tool you’ll use pretty frequently. Purchase a retractable one that’s at least twenty-five feet in length. A tape measure that’s any longer can give you problems when it’s rolling back up. You’ll want a model that has a tab or hook at the end, considering measurements on larger scale projects can be susceptible to even the smallest measurement variations.
Another major asset for the woodworker is the utility knife. There are several different kinds but the kind that takes disposable blades is the most commonly used. The blade neatly retracts into the knife’s grip for much-needed safety. A woodworker needs a utility knife to scribe wood or clean out mortise joints.
A tool that’s vital to the long-term quality of any wood project is the wood moisture meter. The success of any woodworking project depends on the correct moisture content levels of the wood you use. Some of these meters feature pins that penetrate the surface of the wood, which will leave behind a small hole that can mar the surface of the wood and may require filling. Other models are pin-less. A moisture meter features settings that will account for different types of wood. For instance, ebony features a harder wood density than oak. If you’re planning an inlay project that requires both types of wood then you’ll need to know the moisture content level of both in order to ensure that the inlay joints remain intact.
Chisels for working with wood are also an essential part of every workbench. The chisel is not just for the wood carver. Any type of woodworker will need a chisel in order to clean out saw cuts and joints. Search for a chisel that’s made from chromium vanadium alloyed steel or high alloy carbon steel. Look for chisels that are also equipped with metal caps and hardwood grips. Most woodworkers use a varierty of chisel sizes. The smallest chisels are used for mortise work and are ideal for chipping out joints and door hinges.
Chisels, Levels and Screwdrivers
Specialty chisels may only be beveled at the cutting edges while most chisels are beveled on the cutting edge and the two sides. When using a chisel you’ll need to use both hands. This will allow for more control and power. When you sharpen a chisel, you’ll want to use a stone instead of a grinder. You’ll need to purchase a set of stones with varying levels of grit in order to properly hone the blades. Begin using a coarser grade and end with the finest. For best results, you’ll need to moisten the stone. And always remember to hone the blade away from the body.
A woodworker will also need a couple of levels. Most quality levels are made from either metal or brass edged wood. There will be one bubble reading for plumb and another for level. When the bubble rests precisely between the lines you’ll have a plumb or level surface. You can also purchase laser or string levels, but the woodworker rarely uses them.
Another woodworker must-have is screwdrivers. You’ll need torex drivers, star drivers and flathead and Phillips. You’ll also need a long driver with a square blade for heavy-duty jobs. A screwdriver with a thin shank is necessary when working on cabinets or in tight places. A driver with a thin shanks allows the user to reach screws that are located deep inside holes. You’ll also need medium and stubby Phillips head drivers for fitting neatly into tight places.
The Essential Tools for Woodworking
A nail set is also an essential part of the woodworker’s arsenal. In fact, every woodworker will need to keep a good supply of varying sizes. A nail set looks like awls and are used to drive nail heads into wood in order to get them right below the surface or flush with the wood. This will allow the woodworker to prepare for painting or staining by filling holes.
You’ll also need a T bevel or sliding bevel because you’re going to be measuring a bunch of angles. This tool is very handy and adjustable, allowing the user to lock it at the angle they want, which can be a huge timesaver.
A combination square or layout square comes in six inch or twelve inch sizes. Most people prefer the six inch model because it’s easier to carry from job to job. Woodworking Hand Tools can be used to mark square cuts on stock. The user can also measure off angles using this tool. Using the combination square is especially helpful when you’re trying to mark a cut for a miter saw or measure for a bevel on a table saw.