The Essential Carpentry Tools List: 25 Different Types & Their Uses

carpenter tools

There are a lot of tools that are used when doing woodwork. We have assembled a list of the top 25 different tools and their uses.

1. Pencil

A pencil is the most important tool for a carpenter. You will be marking almost every cut that you want to make. There is a rule that says, “Measure twice, cut once.” You want a pencil to make your markings in case you need to erase the first one and make an adjustment.

pencil

2. Tape Measure

No carpenter can go without a tape measure. It is used to measure everything. Since precise measurements are important, make sure that the tab at the end is firmly attached to the tape before hooking it over the edge of your wood. 25 feet is a good size for a tape measure. This is long enough to measure most things and short enough to recoil easily.

tape measure

3. Utility Knife

Utility knives are always handy for cutting and cleaning joints. The most common utility knives have disposable blades that slide inside the tool for storage.

utility knife

4. Screwdriver

Screwdrivers and wood go hand in hand. Many different sizes and styles of screws can be used in any project. A good carpenter should have a good assortment of sizes for both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers.

screwdriver

5. Carpenter Square

A carpenter square is used to help lay your project out properly before you begin to cut or assemble it. It allows you to measure, draw straight lines, and get perfect 90º angles.

carpenters square

6. Sturdy Workbench

Carpenters use workbenches a lot and for many different things. This means that they need to be big and very sturdy. Some people try to work with just the table saw, but it often isn’t big enough and the saw gets in the way. There is no rule to what a workbench should be. You can make one to fit your needs.

sturdy workbench

7. Clamps

Clamps are used to hold your project in place while you are working on it. They are also used to hold your project together while the glue dries.

clamps

8. Jig

A jig is a tool that allows you to make accurate cuts repeatedly without having to measure every time. For example, if you tend to cut the same size of hole for many projects, making a jig will allow you to mark it up to be cut without having to remeasure it every time.

jig

9. Sawhorse

Sawhorses allow you to lay things over them to extend your work surface for extra-large projects.

sawhorse

10. Chisel

Chisels are used to chip wood out of areas that need to be open. They are also used   to clean out joints and saw cuts.

chisel

11. Block Plane

Block planes are used to smooth out projects that have been dovetailed together. They can also flatten, square, or add curve to your project.

block plane

12. Shop Vac

It is impossible to do woodwork without making a large amount of sawdust. You will also have little chunks of wood left behind when cutting or shaping your project. A shop vac is a must to clean up the mess. It has a large diameter hose that comes with a couple of different attachments, and a bucket large enough to hold larger quantities than a normal vacuum. You can also connect your shop vac to your table saw and have it running while you cut, so that it sucks the sawdust up before it ever hits the floor.

shop vac

13. Sliding Bevel

The sliding bevel is like a square, but the two legs are joined together by a screw that allows you to adjust the angles you want. If you use a lot of different angles in your work, a sliding bevel is a must for you.

sliding bevel

14. Hand Saw

Hand saws are used when you need to feel how the wood responds to the cutting blade, and that can’t happen with power saws. They are also much more portable than power saws are.

hand saw

15. Power Drill

Power drills are more powerful and less expensive than cordless drills. You may need this extra power for drilling into large projects.

power drill

16. Palm Sander

Palm sanders are small finishing sanders that fit nicely in the palm of your hand. They are small enough to get into almost any space that you have. Of course, there are going to be places where no sander of any kind can be used and only plain sandpaper will suffice, but for the most part, sanders get the job done. Another plus is that they only use ¼ of a sheet of sandpaper.

palm sander

17. Table Saw

Table saws are used to rip, miter, shape, square, groove, and join your projects. You will use this table a lot, so make sure to get a good one that can handle the work.

table saw

18. Feather Board

A feather board is like a carpenter’s third hand when using stationary power tools. It is a piece of wood, or plastic, with slits at one end making little fingers. You don’t want to accidentally get cut by getting your fingers too close to the cutting blade, so you use the fingers of the feather board to push your wood tight to the rip fences while cutting.

feather board

19. Rip Fence

Rip fences attach to your table saw and run parallel to the blade. They are used to guide your wood perfectly straight while you are cutting. They ensure that you will have a straight, even cut. We recommend getting one that has fine-tuning adjustments for better accuracy.

rip fence

20. Router

Routers are used to shape the edges of your work. They will also let you drop the bit into the middle of a flat surface, cut out your desired design, and lift it back up when done.

router

21. Calipers

Calipers are used to make precise measurements to fine-tune your woodworking projects. They look like a double “F.” One side has a big “F” to measure the outsides of items. The other has a small “f” to measure the insides of items. The measurement markings on the central mast let you measure the right-sized openings for your project.

calipers

22. Drill Press

The drill press does more precise drilling and can drill large-diameter holes much more efficiently than a hand-held drill.

drill press

23. Miter Gauge

Miter gauges are used to hold the piece that you are working on at different angles while you are cutting or sanding it.

miter gauge

24. Level

The level is used to make sure that your projects are level. You use it by placing the level on top of your project and making adjustments until the bubble is in the center of the leveling vial.

level

25. Moisture Meter

A moisture meter shows the amount of moisture that is in a piece of wood. It should have settings on it for different species of wood, since different woods require different amounts of moisture in different areas of the world.

We hope that we have given you a good feel for the kinds of tools that you will need in order to do carpentry work well.

moisture meter

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!