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Best hand tools for woodworking

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If you are looking to start woodworking as a career or a hobby, here are the best hand tools for woodworking that you need to get to achieve your projects.

Claw Hammer (Finish Head)

Being one of the most common hand tools, everyone has probably used a hammer sometimes in their lives. There are many types of hammer for all kinds of jobs, the most polyvalent model for woodworkers is the claw hammer. The claw hammer has a smooth, slightly rounded finish head. Make sure you choose one that is not too heavy, that has a comfortable grip (preferably rubber) that will feel better in your hand. We recommend the 20 oz. models that will last longer.

Our recommendation: Stanley - FatMax 20-Ounce AntiVibe Rip Claw Nailing Hammer - 51-944 - Stanley - AntiVibe Curved Claw Hammer, 20-Ounce - 51-943

Layout Square

Also called combination square or rafter square, a layout square appears to be an essential hand tool in woodworking. Not only it is the quickest and easiest tool to mark a square line for an end cut, but you can also use it to quicly mark any angle up to 45-degrees or measure up to six inches. Whether you are in your shop or on a jobsite, keep one in your tool belt!

Our recommendation: Stanley - Premium Quick Square Layout Tool - 46-071 - Bosch - GTL2 2-Beam Laser Level & Square - GTL2

Retractable Tape Measure

Once again, a retractable tape measure is one of the must-have in your woodworking hand tools, for measuring the length of cuts or for marking where to attach another board. The best tape measure must have both Standard and Metric markings, a locking mechanism and a slightly loose hook on the end of the tape. The hook is loose in its rivets by design, so you will get accurate results whether the tape is used to take internal or external measurments.

Our recommendation: Stabila - 27' Tape Bm 40 - 30327 - Stanley - 25' FatMax Xtreme Tape Rule with BladeArmor Coating - 33-890Y

Utility Knife

Also called a cutter, a utility knife with a locking mechanism that uses disposable razor blades is another crucial tool to have for the woodworker. This polyvalent cutting tool can be used for scribing a mark in a piece of stock, cleaning up a hinge mortise or any of a hundred other uses when your utility knife is needed.

Our recommendation: Bessey - Knife, Folding, locking utility knife, two blades - DBKAH-2B - Tajima - Chrome Auto Lock Utility Knife with Three 3/4" - 8 Point Endura blades - ACM500C


Chisels are ideal to have in a woodworking toolbox. A finely-sharpened chisel is perfect for cleaning out waste from mortises and joints. Make sure you have one of each f 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and 1" width bevel-edged chisels within easy reach.

Our recommendation: Stanley - Chisel Set, 3-Piece - 16-300 - Stanley - Sweetheart 750 Series Socket Chisel, 8-Piece Set - 16-793


Every woodworker wants this piece of stock to be perfectly horizontal or vertical (plumb); this is why you need a level. Be sure to have two levels available; a long one of 28 inches and 36 inches and a short one, of 6 inches.

Our recommendation: Stabila - 32" Level Model 196 - 37432 - Stanley - 11-3/4-Inch FatMax Xtreme Magnetic Torpedo Level - 43-609


As it is for hammers, screwdrivers are common to most homes, not only in woodworking and carpentry toolbox. Even though some woodworkers are purists about using screwdrivers, they come in pretty handy in a variety of jobs. Keep a screwdriver set (flathead, Philips, and so one) at every time in your workshop.

Our recommendation: Bondhus - Screwdriver Set - Square Recess, #0-3, 4 Pc - 11640 - Stanley - Push-N-Pick Screwdriver - 69-193P

Sliding Bevel

A sliding looks like a square, for the exception that it can be adjusted to any angle and locket in place with a locking mechanism. This particular tool comes in handy when an angle needs to be duplicated.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 8-Inch T-Bevel - 46-825

Nail Set

A nail set looks like a small, round chisel, but is used to sink nails’ heads flush or just beneath the wood’s surface. Having a set of three in your toolbelt at all times is essential.

Our recommendation: Stanley - Cushion Grip Nail Set, 3-Piece - 58-930

Block Plane

Another hand tool that is essential to every woodworker is a small block plane. This particular tool is utilized for shaving thin amounts of wood away from the stock, and does not have its match for cleaning up edges during assembly.

Our recommendation: Stanley - Block Plane - 12-247

Look out for sales and specials to buy the best hands tools for a woodworker !

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