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Woodworking Tutorial – Chapter 2


Hand tools are essential to every aspect of carpentry work. A great variety of tools is required because of the many functions and jobs to be accomplished with the skills of the worker. A skilled woodworker or carpenter,
carefully selects the kind of tool that is needed for the job.

Tools become an important part of a carpenters life and he or she will choose the ones that best suit their individual needs to help each perform with speed and accuracy the various tasks of the trade.

Although the basic design of the tools has changed little over the years, modern technology and industry “know-how” have brought numerous improvements. Experienced carpenters appreciate the importance of having
good tools and select the ones that are going to last longer and give him/her good service.

A detailed study of the selection, care, and use of all the hand tools available is not possible. Only a general description of tools most commonly used by the carpenter will be included.


Measuring tools must be handled with care and kept clean.The folding rule is indispensable. Most carpenters carry one all the time. A standard size is 6′ long and sometimes has a metal slide for making inside measuremants.

Tape rules ranging from 10′ to 100′ are available for many uses.


The framing square, also known as the rafter square is especially designed for the carpenter. It uses are many and varied. A description of the rafter square will be found in chapter nine when we get there. It is available in steel, aluminum, or steel with a copper-clad or blue finish..

Try squares are available with blades 6 to 12 inches long. The combination square is used in a similar purpose and is also used to layout miter joints. The adjustable sliding blade allows it to be used as a gauging tool.


The principal types of saws used by the carpenter are these that are available in several different lengths as well as various tooth sizes( given a spoints per inch in length), an example is an 8 point handsaw.
Another saw, occasionally used for cutting curves, is the coping saw, which has about 15 teeth per inch.
Crosscut saws, as named are designed to cut across the grain of the wood.Their teeth are pointed.
Ripsaws , hardly ever used today with the advent of the table saw are saws that are intended to rip a board and their teeth are shaped like a chisel.

Every carpenter needs a good crosscut saw with teeth size ranging from 8 to 11 teeth per inch. A crosscut saw for general use has 8 teeth per inch. A finishing saw has teeth of 10 to 11 teeth per inch for fine cutting.


The most important tools in this group are the planes and chisels. Several other tools that depend on a cutting edge to perform the work are included in the following; sureform plane for drywall, a router plane for dressing up a router groove, a jack plane, a rabbet plane, a block plane as well as a host of different chisels.

Standard surfacing planes include the smooth plane(8-9in. long), jack plane (14 in. long).
The jack plane is commonly used  for general work as well as the block plane. Wood chisels are used to trim and cut away wood or composition materials to form joints or recesses.They are also helpful in paring and smoothing small, interior surfaces that are inaccessible for other edging tools.


Holes larger than 1/4in. are mad with auger bits or adjustable ones called EXPANSIVE bits.
The operation is called boring. Small holes are formed with hand or push drills from years gone by but, todays modern drills and drill bits serve the same purpose but are more functional for hand tools.
The brace and auger bits are still used on occasions where electric can not be furnished.


In carpentry work, much of the work consists of fastening parts together. Nails , screws, bolts  and other types of connectors are used.
Carpenters usually carry a hammer in a holster fastened to their belt or on a nail apron, made from leather.
There are two basic shapes of hammer heads that are in common use;
1. The curved claw
2. The ripping  (straight ) claw, also known as a framing hammer.
The curved claw is the most common and is the best suited for pulling nails. the ripping claw  which may be driven between two fastened pieces and is use like a chisel to pry them apart. The size of a hammer is determined by the weight of its head. It is available in a range from 7  to 30 oz., the 13oz. size is commonly used for finish work.
Carpenters usually use a 16 – 22 ounce hammer for rough framing.

Hand tools are numerous and include the following; The brace and bits, screwdrivers, hand drills of many types and styles, nail sets that come in three sizes of  1/32 to 5/32 in. by increments of 1/32 in. Overall length is about 4 inches. Other hand tools are wrenches of different kinds, pliers, vise grips, clamps and just about any other hand tool you could imagine.


Some types of chests or cabinet is needed to store and transport tools. In addition to being portable, the chest, or cabinet should protect the tools from weather, loss and theft. Any number of cabinets or chests may be need according to the amount of tools needed to be transported. Experienced carpenters take pride in their tools and keep them in good working order.


Carpenters know that even high quality tools will not function properly if they are dull or out of adjustment. Tools should be wiped clean and a light coat of oil on them when you are putting them away will help tremendously toward helping keepin gthem in good working order. Some carpenters use lemon oil furniture polish.
It has a slight cleaning action and also leaves a thin light oil film that protects metal surfaces from rust.

Keep handles on all tools tight. When handles and fittings  are broken they should be replaced. It is a simple matter to keep chisels sharp and smooth, by honing them on an oil stone after each use and before you put it away. For tools with a single beveled edge such as the block or jack plane and chisels place the tool on the flat part of the tool and raise the back edge a little and stroke across the stone with a gentle forward push. Don’t forget to put a few drops of oil on the stone periodicly. then move the blade back and forth untill you can feel a little wire edge on the back of the blade. Turn the chisel or plane blade on its back and draw it across the stone flat on its back to remove the curled edge. Turn the tool over and once again lightly stroke the bevel across the stone a couple more times and wipe clean with a rag and put away.

If not damaged a chisel can be honed several times before grinding is required. When  the bevel becomes blunt from being used or dropped on its point, reshape it with a grinding operation. Caution do not grind in a manner that will allow the blade to get hot or turn blue as this will take the temper out of the blade.

Some tools may be sharpened with a file, for auger bits it is bes to use a special auger bit file or three corner file.
Hand saws require being filed and set to a certain degree of bevel of the teeth and most carpenters send them out to a saw sharpening company.

Since hand tools cover more than is alloted in this chapter this concludes this chapter.