Basic Woodworking Tools – Getting Started With Hand Tools

Every single manual task requires the help of certain tools and it is no different with woodworks. It is very important that you are aware of the various options of tools that you could use in order to easily decide which one best suits your needs. How long you take working on a certain project or how well you affect it largely depends on the tools you use. Below is a list of basic woodworking tools;


Drills are an everyday type of tool. Be it for putting up shelves or even for putting together a broken table, they are very essential. When picking a drill, you need to put into consideration its size and weight. If the drill is too bulky, it might weigh you down thus affecting both the time you spend and the quality of your work. For basic woodwork, there are specific type of drills such as;

Hand drills

Which include gimlet, brace, and a bit, push drill, bow drill among others. These type of drills are not only the oldest but are also hand powered. They are very time consuming and require a lot of manpower, therefore, are not highly recommended.

Cordless drills

This is an electric type of drill and uses rechargeable batteries. They are the most common type of drill and come in different types of configuration which eases their convenience in use. They are available in right angle drills which makes it easy to drive screws into a tight space. Also available in the hammer drill configuration.

Drill press

This is a fixed style of drill that ensures the object is bolted to the floor or mounted on a stand. Unlike the handheld drill, the drill press requires less effort. Holes are also drilled accurately with regard to the mounted object.

For drills to be effective, they need to be paired with the perfect set of drill bits. In choosing drill bits, you need to consider the material and also the type. The most important thing to remember though is, the larger the bit, the more torque it carries when spinning.


When picking a saw, there are certain things that need to be put into consideration such as; grip, the weight of the saw, thickness of the material and type of blade. There are different types of saws:

“Basic” hand saw

This is the most common type of saw. They require a lot of manpower and are most effective on thin wood.


Its use is not so common on wood but it will do just fine with regard to its fine-toothed blade.

Table saw

It is not very portable therefore most suitable for use in a shop.

Japanese saw

This type of saw has rip teeth on one side then crosscut teeth on the other. Perfect for creating a guide path with the crosscut edge then finishing the job with the rip teeth edge.


When picking wood chisels, you need to make sure that they are comfortable in hand, easy to sharpen and have a very good edge. There are various types of wood chisels:

Beveled edged bench chisels

They are the most common type of chisels. These chisels are beveled on the side in order to allow maximum access to dovetails. They are also neither too long nor too short making it easy and comfortable for hand use.

Japanese bench chisels

They are a very high-quality type of chisels with a dovetail that has a triangular section with very narrow but hard edges. Its edges are very keen for cutting softwoods without them crumbling.

Heavy duty beveled edge chisels

Not used very often in furniture making but are perfect for any big and complicated joinery application such as boat building.

Paring chisels

These chisels are never malleted. They are long, thin, light and almost flexible. They are mainly used for shaving off the thin amount of wood. One hand on the handle pushes the chisel forward(acting like the mallet) while the other hand which is on the blade guides the process of cutting.

Bench planes

A bench plane serves the following purposes; to straighten the wood, to remove it and to make it smooth. The hand grip is a very important aspect in bench planes. The planes are categorized according to their functions:

Jointer planes

Have a sole ranging from 22″ to 30″. Its primary task is to straighten the wood. This is made highly efficient by its long sole. The longer the sole, the straighter the wood.

Smoothing planes

Have a sole that ranges from 5″ to 10″. Its primary job is to prepare the wood for finishing by smoothing it.

Fore planes

They have a sole that ranges from 14″ up to 20″ The most common use of this plane is to remove the material quickly. To some degree, it also straightens the wood.
Traditionally, it is the fore plane that is used first to get the wood into a rough size, followed by the jointer plane and given the finishing touches by the smoothing plane.


Like most basic woodworking tools, the best mallets are also chosen by their comfort provision to the hand together with the amount of precision required. There are different types of mallets and all better in different sectors:

The carver’s mallet

It is round in shape and always from a single piece of wood. This round shape gives the user great control in directing it. Carver mallets also vary in size where smaller mallets are used for detailed work that needs precision while larger mallets are used to do the heavy lifting.

Dead-blow mallet

It is a hollow body filled with metal or sand filings. These heavy filings provide the mass necessary to persuade joinery together. It definitely stands out when it comes to driving pieces of furniture together.

Rubber mallet

Unlike the dead-blow mallet, this mallet does not have the mass that can help it excel in heavy joinery tasks. Instead, it is used in finishes because the soft rubber head will not mar delicate woods.

The joiner’s mallet

These mallets normally vary in size but are usually quite large. They are characterized by two slightly angled faces which provide accuracy. Both the handle and the head can be replaced for they are fitted together through a wedged mortise in the mallet’s head. They are used in heavy chisel work that requires power and precision.

Journeyman’s mallet

They are small in size but come in many shapes. This size allows you to get into tight spaces. Its short handle and heavy head also help in its precision. It is mostly used for fine joinery.

All tools need maintenance and therefore it is important to learn and understand each tool’s maintenance technique be it sharpening, cleaning or any other method. This ensures that your tools are in tip-top shape for when the time to put them into use comes. The above basic woodworking tools are sure to help you whether in your house or at your workshop. They most certainly will be of great assistance and maximum result if used correctly.

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