Basic Carpenters Tools: The Starter’s Woodworking Tools List

Woodworking is an interesting and really fulfilling hobby – and can be even a very rewarding profession. However, as a beginner in woodworking you may find yourself procrastinating with getting starting – you may not even know exact what woodworking / carpenters tools you should get in the beginning, i.e. you may not be sure what woodworking hand tools exactly to put on your woodworking tools list.

By the way, if you are also looking for great woodworking ideas to get started with, check out these posts here on great woodworking plan-collection and on some of the best woodworking project plans out there.

Thankfully, you won’t need to have an entire shop set up, in order to start with woodworking. In fact, you need only a few, very basic carpenters tools to get started.

A very basic woodworking tools list includes handheld tools that are more affordable than their power-tool counterparts. As your skills improve and you take on more complex work, you will eventually need those tools.

Carpenters Tools – must haves to be accurate with your Woodworking Projects – Measuring Tools

One of the most basic, yet also one of the most important woodworking hand tools are the appropriate measuring tools. These include the following items.

Measuring tools and Markers

  • Steel rule

A 300-mm or 12-inch is definitely enough.

  • Steel retractable tape measure

No woodworking tools list would be complete without mentioning one of the most essentials of your carpenters tools: it functions like a straight ruler when pulled out of its case but rolls into its case when not in use for easy storage. One with a stopper button can come in very handy.

  • Combination square

One of the woodworking hand tools  necessary, when having to mark a line at 90 or 45 degrees.

You can also use a steel square or a framing square instead of a combination square. It works just like a combination square however you can only pencil or knife out a line at exactly 90 degrees.

This is commonly used in laying out stairs, common rafters, and hip rafters.

  •  Protractor

This is very useful in applying the angle in plans onto wood.

Another helpful tool for applying angles is the bevel gauge or sliding T bevel. This tool has a sliding blade that can be rotated and locked to reflect a desired angle.

  • Compass

This is used in creating circles or arcs. One point is used as the center point in the middle of the circle, while the other end can be used to mark the circle or arc.

  • Pencils and Marking Knifes

Pencils are absolute essential carpenters tools. Just get regular ones like HB or number 2 pencils that don’t break very easily.

A marking knife or a scratch awl is an optional on your woodworking tools list, in addition to using pencils. These two woodworking hand tools are also used for marking and can provide a precise starting line for a handsaw or a chisel.

The marking knife is also great in marking joinery locations while the scratch awl can be used in marking precise points, like a pencil can. In general, the scratch awl is used in laying out with the grain while the marking knife is better across the grain.

An essential on every Woodworking Tools list – Cutting and Shaping Tools for your Woodworking Project

Cutting Tools

Handsaws are used to to cut wood to the desired length. There are many types of handsaws but you need not get all of them. Also, remember that children are able to control shorter handsaws than longer ones.

  • Crosscut Saws and Tenon Saws

Typically, a woodworking hand tools – box includes both a crosscut saw and a tenon saw as they are both essential woodworking hand tools.

The crosscut saw is used to cut across the grain. One with 8-10 teeth per inch is the easiest to manage, although one with more teeth per inch is more efficient.

The western crosscut saw cuts when being pushed while the Japanese saws are much smaller and cut when being pulled.

The Japanese woodworking saws generally provide more control than the western type but the western type is easier to find in hardware stores.

A tenon saw is a medium-sized saw that has a reinforced spine, making the blade pretty stiff. Children find this easy to use if it has small teeth of about 10-12 per inch.

The teeth can either be crosscut-design for cutting across the grain and rip-filled for cutting along the grain.

Shaping Tools

  • Chisels

Chisels are used to carve wood such as squaring mortises or cleaning grooves made with fractional drill bits. There are 4 chisels that you should have in your repertoire, which are the ¼-inch, ½-inch, 3/4-inch, and the 1-inch chisels.

A wooden mallet can be used to drive chisels into the wood. A mallet is preferred over a hammer because it will not deform the handle of the chisel.

  • Hand planes

These are used to decrease the thickness of wood or to make the surface of the wood smoother. The smoothing plane is usually used to prepare the wood for polishing.

There are essentially three different useful hand planes: a shoulder plane, a spokeshave, and a card scraper.

The shoulder plane is used to clean up tenons. It is useful because it can be used all the way into a corner unlike a smoothing plane. The spokeshave is used specifically for curved surfaces like in rods and shafts.

Lastly, the card scraper or cabinet scraper is used to remove small amounts of wood specifically in tricky grain areas. This can also be used to polish wood instead of sandpaper.

Putting your Woodworking hand Tools together – Essential Joining Tools

 Basic Joining Tools

  • Hammers

Hammers, essential items on every carpenters tools list,  are used to drive nails into pieces of wood to join one another. A regular claw hammer is a necessity in your basic toolkit like nothing else. It consists of a head which you use to drive nails in and a claw to pull nails out.

However, size and weight can sometimes make it difficult to handle a hammer; hence, you can also use a Warrington hammer instead, which is a lot lighter and better balanced.

It also has a typical hammer head and a smaller head that can be used in tighter places where the regular hammer head would not fit.

  • Set of Nails

There are many different sizes of nails but the flat ended (1/8 inch and 1/16 inches wide at the tip) works best for any general woodworking projects.

Clamps / Clamping System

Clamps are used to clip two or more pieces of wood together or keep wood in place (such as with a bench vise). Clamps can be very useful when it comes to drilling a hole into wood, sawing, polishing, gluing, etc.

Get the proper Woodworking hand Tools – and then also take good Care of them!

By now, you should have a very good idea of what carpenters tools you should have under your hood when starting out with woodworking.

If you need even more ideas on woodworking hand tools or how to complete your woodworking tools list, check out this woodworking tools page here, or this site here with great wood tools and supplies.

In any way, having all of above mentioned tools is great, but you should also know how to take good care of them.

For example, a sharpening stone is an important item in your toolkit to keep your cutting and shaping tools in tiptop shape while oil can be useful in keeping your metallic tools from rusting, especially if you live in a humid place.