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Top 10 Hand Tools Every Woodworker Needs

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If need ideas on which hand tools you'll need to get started in woodworking, this page should help. Below are the Top 10 hand tools you'll need for nearly any woodworking project.

1. Claw Hammer (Finish Head)

Claw Hammer (Finish Head)
Everyone has used a hammer at some point in their lives. While there are many types, the most versatile is the claw hammer with a smooth, slightly rounded finish head. Choose one that is not too heavy, but feels good in your hand. I prefer a 20 oz. model.

2. 6" Layout Square

A Layout Square is an invaluable woodworking tool. Not only is it probably the quickest and easiest tool for marking a square line for an end cut, but can be used to quickly mark any angle up to 45-degrees or measure up to six inches. I keep one in my back pocket or nail pouch whenever I'm in the shop.

3. 25' Retractable Tape Measure

A Retractable Tape Measure is another tool that is an absolute must for any woodworker. A quality tape measure should have both Standard and Metric markings, a locking mechanism and a slightly loose hook on the end of the tape. The hook is loose on it's rivets by design so the user will get accurate results whether the tape is used to take internal or external measurements.

4. Utility Knife

A Utility Knife with a locking mechanism that uses disposable razor blades is another requirement for the woodworker. This versatile cutting device can be used for scribing a mark in a piece of stock, cleaning up a hinge mortise or any of a hundred other times when a knife is needed.

5. Chisels

The Chisel is another essential woodworking tool. A finely-sharpened chisel is perfect for cleaning out waste from joints and mortises. I like to keep one each of 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and 1" width bevel-edged chisels within easy reach.

6. Level

When you need to know if a piece of stock is perfectly horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb), you need a level. I like to keep two levels available: one relatively long level (I use a 28" or 36") and a short, 6" Torpedo Level.

7. Screwdrivers

Like the claw hammer, everybody has used a screwdriver at least once or twice in their lives. I keep a few versions in my shop: #1, 2 and 3 sizes of both Phillips and Flathead varieties, as well as a couple of square head, Torx and star drivers.

8. Sliding Bevel

A Sliding Bevel is very similar to a square, except that it can be adjusted to any angle and locked in place using a locking mechanism. This is very handy when an angle needs to be duplicated.

9. Nail Sets

A nail set looks somewhat like a small, round chisel, but is used to sink nail heads flush or just beneath the wood's surface. I keep three different sizes in my pouch.

10. Block Plane

The last absolute necessity every woodworker should have is a small block plane. This device is used for shaving thin amounts of wood away from the stock, and is invaluable for cleaning up edges during assembly.
Related Video
How to Choose and Use a Level
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