Essential Woodworking Hand Tools


Woodworking Hand Tools3There’s actually a fairly short list of hand tools you need in your woodworking shop to build most beginning furniture projects.

You will find that a good basic set includes saws, planes, chisels and marking and measuring tools.

If you are exclusively building projects by hand you may find there are few more items that make your particular projects easier.

But the following set of hand tools will give a solid start in woodworking.


You will need a tenon saw and a dovetail saw to start your tool collection. Both of these fall under the backsaw classification.

Backsaws have a rib stiffener opposite the cutting edge which gives tighter control in your cuts. When choosing your saws it’s most important to look for a good fit for your hand.


Bevel edge, or bench, chisels are very versatile and are the first set of chisels you should buy for your shop. The beveled edge lets you get into corners and do closer work.

A firmer chisel has a square edge, making it useful for heavier work, but aren’t strictly necessary. Bevel chisels can be used for most beginning projects.

The most important thing to remember about any chisel is to keep it sharp at all times. First of all, a dull chisel isn’t safe.

Next, you’ll spend double the amount of time doing cuts with an unsharpened chisel and your results won’t be as good. Make it easy for yourself and learn to properly sharpen your chisels.


You need four planes when starting out, a block plane, smooth plane, jack plane and a shoulder plane. The block is used to trim the end grain edge of your boards.

The jack and smooth planes are used together. The jack plane is used to take down rougher areas and the smooth is used behind it to smooth and finished.

The shoulder plane is essential for trimming the shoulders of mortise and tenon work, allowing you to trim to the edge of your workpiece. Like the with the saws, make sure the handles are a good fit.


It’s true what they say, if you measure twice, you’ll cut once. Careful measuring with accurate tools will save you a lot of frustration.

One large and one small combination square, along with an engineer’s square will get you through most projects. A sliding t bevel is essential for measuring and laying out different angles in your work.

A steel tape rule is invaluable in the wood shop. And all that’s left is a marking gauge and a pencil.

Outfitting your first woodworking shop with these hand tools will get off to a great start.



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