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  • Pinto Carpentry

Carpenter's Corner: More Hand Tools in a Woodworker's Tool Kit

Welcome to another edition of Carpenter’s Corner! With this column, we hope to help our readers understand the ins-and-outs of carpentry terminology, so that you may be able to better communicate with your contractors and understand the work behind the project. Today’s topic is devoted to defining the different hand tools used by carpenters and their purpose.

Vice Grips are a vital addition to any carpenter’s tool kit. They help support, clamp, and hold wood without damaging the surface. Whether a carpenter is drilling, sawing, measuring, or even gluing, the vice grip helps keep their hands free for those tasks while stabilizing the materials. Different vice grips will be used depending on the task at hand, varying in size and weight and width.

Block Plane is a hand tool made of metal with a blade embedded at a lower angle, used to cut end grains or do touch ups or even finish a piece. It’s small enough to be used by one hand, and the beveled plane faces upwards. A Bench plane is used for cutting with the grain, and is used to prep a piece for finishing.

Chisels are by and large the most common tool in woodworking and carpentry. They feature a steel blade set inside a wooden or plastic handle. This tool allows a carpenter to split, chop, and pare wooden surfaces. It comes in a variety of widths and lengths depending on the task required.

Mallets are used in a variety of ways for carpentry work. A Joiner’s Wood Mallet is used for striking chisels, and will prevent breaking the wooden handle of your chisels when struck. You should not use a metal mallet to hit your chisel. A carver’s wood mallet is used for very delicate, precise work with carving chisels. A rubber mallet can help assemble furniture pieces or pound other interlocking pieces into place without damaging the wood. White rubber mallets are preferable on light wood surfaces as they do not leave marks the same way a dark rubber mallet would. Pein/peen hammers are used for adjusting hand planes and to make lateral adjustments as needed.

Handsaws are used in carpentry for dovetailing, joinery, and cutting wood into different shapes to fit together. Learn more about different types of saws here!

Folding Utility Knives are an indispensable tool for all carpenters. Having a foldable, heavy duty utility knife can serve many purposes from opening packages, cutting rope or twine, cutting into drywall, slicing into fiberglass insulation, and even splitting small wood pieces or kindling. Here’s recommendations for some of the best utility knives and box cutters!

Tin Snips are designed for cutting sheet metal, trim metal, and metal flashing. They’re also great for cutting open the metal bands that secure lumber deliveries.

Nail Pullers are used for removing nails from wood.

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