Best Carpenters Tools
Welcome to the Wonkee Donkee guide for the best carpenters tools.
We know that there are hundreds and thousands of different tools out there for carpenters, so we have made a list of the ones we think are most important.
A good-quality hand saw is worth every penny you spend and should not be overlooked. They are simple and easy to use – the fundamental carpenter’s tool.
You don’t have to use power tools for every cutting job and in many cases, you won’t want to. Being able to feel the response of the wood beneath the saw blade is what carpentry is all about. For many carpenters, having a selection of hand saws at their disposal is the backbone of their craft.
The hack saw is a staple of the carpenter’s toolbox. It is robust and durable and will cut through nearly anything. It is particularly useful for carpenters who need to remove existing bolts and frames. Buying a high quality hack saw is important for carpenters as it will be one of your most used tools.
Key Hole Saw
A keyhole saw’s long narrow blade is used to cut small, often awkward shapes and holes in a variety of building materials. The keyhole saw can be a carpenters best friend, especially when completing projects where holes for pipes or wires need to be made regularly. The design of keyhole saws make them easy to make intricate cuts of all types of different shapes in the middle of materials.
A tape measure is a handy gadget that typically extends up to 5 metres, though there are longer models. Accuracy is key with any kind of measurement, so making sure the “hook” on the end is securely attached is important.
The tape will extend stiff and straight for ease of use and will coil up into a pocket-sized box. Easily clips to a carpenters tool belt.
It is not always practical to whip out the power tools, so having the option for manual driving is a great asset. A set of high-quality screwdrivers will provide you with years of service.
Cheap screwdrivers tend to be made from softer metals and the points will strip out after just a few uses. When you need to pry something open, use your pry bar NOT your screwdrivers!
Spirit Levels (Large, Medium and Small)
These tools give you accurate measurements of the flatness of a surface. Having a selection of spirit levels will stand you in good stead for jobs of varying levels of accessibility.
These days, we love the digital spirit levels because they give us another level of precision that only a practiced hand can give with a traditional spirit level. We have created a guide to the best spirit levels, something to match everyone’s needs and budget.
Wood chisels have long been the favourite tools of many carpenters. They have multiple applications and uses. A good quality chisel set will outlast even the most tenacious worker, and they can always be sharpened if necessary.
They range from small chisels for intricate detailing, to wide chisels for removing large areas of wood. They are simple to use and an absolutely indispensable tool.
Cordless Combi Drill
This power-tool will allow you to drive screws as well as drill holes. It has the advantage of being cordless so it can be used anywhere making it great for using out and about. It is interchangeable, rechargeable and easy to use. The opportunity to easily change the drill bits allows you to remove or install all different types of screws. A good quality combi drill is a must have for any carpenter.
Clamps are extremely useful tools and are used in many carpentry tasks. They can be used to hold, secure and grip anything that will fit between their jaws and will allow you to keep both hands free while working. They come in a wide range of designs and models so make sure you get the ones that fit your work style the best.
This simple looking tool makes fitting doors a breeze. The tapered front end of the door lift slips neatly under boards and doors and holds them securely in place.
Door lifts can be a carpenters best friend as it can hold the door in place whilst you fix the hinges. This allows you to get on with attaching doors on hinges alone with ease.
A bradawl is a simple tool incorporating a sharp, pointed metal shaft that is used to mark an indentation in wood for a nail or screw to go in.
This is one of the most commonly used tools by carpenters. The ability to make small marks in wood when measuring distances makes it easier for accurately inserting screws or nails.
The oscillating multi-tool is one of the best power tools on the market today. It has a wide variety of applications and attachments that make it one of the most versatile tools you will ever own.
One of its many functions is the plunge cutter attachment, which can cut through a piece of solid oak in seconds. Because of its design, the plunge cutter can start cutting at any given point on your workpiece, allowing the user to quickly, cleanly and accurately cut without wasting time drilling starter holes. This machine can cut, sand, buff, polish, grind, saw, rasp and even scrape. No carpenter should be without one.
The marking gauge is used to mark parallel lines on a workpiece prior to cutting. It is used in many carpentry tasks. Using a marking gauge can speed up the process of marking perfect lines on the material you are working with. This can make carpenters more efficient as well as ensure a professional finish.
If you need to set an angle and mark off a lot of timbers then there is no better tool than this simple sliding bevel. The sliding bevel is similar to a combination square in that it allows you to achieve high quality work when making joints. This is a must have tool when building furniture, shelving and much more.
The long tape is essentially a tape measure with extra reach. They are very handy to have around, especially when working on large projects like setting out timber-framed buildings. It is important when buying a long tape to buy a durable model as they are typically laid out on floors of construction sites whilst work goes on.
An assortment of wood chisels should be part of every carpenter’s collection. They have multiple applications and are not just used by woodcarvers. Chisels are used to clean out joints and neaten up saw cuts.
Investing in some high-quality chrome vanadium steel chisels is well advised, as these will give you great longevity and sharpness from your tools. Molybdenum chisels are even more effective but will also be more expensive.
Hardwood handles are best especially if they are capped with metal, as this will help keep the handles becoming damaged by frequent hammering.
If you don’t own a bench vice then you’re at least one tool short of a full complement. Having one of these at your disposal is like having an extra pair of strong hands. Great for holding workpieces securely so that you are free to work with both hands. Bench vices can make life easier when working alone as many carpenters do.
If you don’t own a bench grinder yet then get one, you will be stunned how often you use it. It will keep your chisels sharp, as well as remove burrs from those screwdrivers you used to pry open paint tins. The bench grinder is fairly cheap and will pay for itself in no time when you’re flying from job to job because your tools are so sharp.
Retractable Trimming Knife
These sanders are brilliant for sanding in those tight corners and small spaces. Buy rolls of sandpaper and cut to length this will save a lot of money rather than buying proprietary sandpaper. An electric pad sander is a must-have tool for any woodworker, saving both time and energy in the process or sanding down surfaces.
The small (115mm / 4.5″) hand-held angle grinder is an extremely useful power tool and should be in every carpenter’s collection. It is used for cutting, grinding and polishing. Various attachments and applications include diamond blades, wire brushes, sanding discs, polishing pads and grinding wheels. It can also be used to remove excess material from an object, or simply for cutting through a workpiece and is incredibly versatile and powerful. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without one.
Nail Punch Set
All carpenters should have a set of nail punches. In fact, they should have a range of different sizes. They are used to drive nails flush with or just below the surface of a workpiece so that the resulting cavity can be filled with wood-filler and smoothed off, leaving the nail heads undetectable and the wood ready for painting or staining.
Ball Pein Hammer
The ball pein hammer is traditionally a metal-working hammer but is often used by carpenters to strike punches, chisels and nails.
Ball Pein hammers are tough and durable allowing you to do a range of jobs with the same simple tool. It is advised to get one that’s comfortable to hold with a rubber handle to absorb the impact.
This handy little tool is used to mark out right-angles and square lines. A carpenter’s square has various applications in carpentry, such as laying out rafters and staircases.
To ensure that your work is of the highest quality a carpenter’s square can provide you with quick measurements of size and angles to ensure you get that perfect finish.
The circular saw is one of the most versatile power tools you can own, and buying a good quality one is important.
They have various applications, and with the correct clamps in place can be just as accurate as a table saw.
Circular saws can be used for a variety of tasks, and keeping a range of different blades will provide you with the versatility for many jobs.
The nail gun has almost completely replaced the humble hammer as a means of driving nails into timber and other materials. The first nail guns were introduced in the 1950s and have quickly taken over as the tool of choice amongst builders, especially when fixing architrave.
There are various models available powered by compressed air, electromagnetism, gas, or even small explosive charges. The nail gun is a powerful tool and can increase your work rate tenfold by dispensing up to 200 nails per minute.
The jig saw will allow you to cut curves and patterns in your chosen material. Electric ones are more powerful than battery-operated models.
Try and find one that fits your hand comfortably, otherwise, you may lose control of your jig saw. This is a great tool for carpenters to make clean and controlled cuts easily.
The table plane is used to produce a flat surface along a board’s length and turns rough hewn timber into neatly planed planks. You can feed a piece of bowed timber into this machine and it will come out the other side with a perfectly flat surface. Quicker than using an electric planer and ideal for use on longer workpieces.
Workbench or Trestle
These useful objects are so familiar to any workshop that they are easily overlooked. Many workbenches are tools in their own right.
They have adjustable surfaces and clamps, standard square edges for measuring and many other attributes. They have multiple applications, from providing somewhere to saw your timber to a place to rest your mug of tea.
Investing in a good quality mitre saw will be the best decision you make this year. They are used to make quick, accurate crosscuts in a workpiece at a chosen angle and although they may seem bulky, mitre saws are relatively compact and lightweight, making them easily portable from job to job.
So, whether you are a professional carpenter or an avid DIYer, these cool tools are a must. Some models even have a laser to guide your cuts.
Electric Wood Router
The router is considered by some woodworkers to be the single most versatile power tool going. It is used to rout out (hollow out) an area in the face of any timber. Often used in all areas of carpentry, especially cabinetry.
The electric router’s motor-driven spindle allows cutting, trimming and shaping wood to very specific depths and designs. Get one with no regrets.