Basic Carpentry Tools
Carpentry is defined as a skilled trade comprising the cutting, shaping, and assembly of wooden structures, and today the field has expanded to include other materials and sometimes overlaps with other building skills. Most people who get involved with carpentry find it to be satisfying work, and it's definitely a good skill to at least grasp on a basic level. You'll be able to build things and do repairs, and that's always handy!
Of course, knowing where to start is a bit overwhelming, especially if you're shopping at a huge retailer like Midland Hardware. That's why we've put together this guide, which will explain the tools you'll need to get started. Whether you're looking to put together a carpenter's kit for professional use, for a new hobby, or just to keep around in case you need it, this list will help you get it all together.
A tool belt or apron: You need this to keep your tools within arm's reach as you move around your work area. This 11-pocket suede carpenter's apron is a solid choice.
A toolbox: For keeping all your tools organized while not in use. Tool boxes and cabinets are available in several sizes for different-sized tool collections and portability. You may need to upgrade to a larger one as your toolset grows.
A claw hammer and nails: This one is pretty obvious. While not all projects will involve nails, many of them will. In case you didn't know, the claw on the back of the hammer is helpful for prying and pulling nails out of wood. Find the best hammers here, but maybe hold off on buying nails until you choose a project.
A set of screwdrivers: You always need more than one screwdriver, since screws vary so much in size and configuration. You'll find that screws are better than nails for some uses, and just plain required in other projects. Start with a screwdriver set and add to it from there.
Saws: You'll need a variety of hand saws and power saws to get the job done right — trying to complete a carpentry project with the wrong saw makes things needlessly difficult if you can manage it at all. With the right collection of saws, you'll be able to cut different-sized materials at all sorts of angles.
Utility knives: These are excellent for smaller or more precise cutting jobs, as well as for opening the packaging on your other supplies. You can never really have too many utility knives. For safety's sake, always cut away from your body.
A tape measure: You will need at least one tape measure to size your pieces properly, but it never hurts to have more than one for different uses. They also tend to get borrowed and left in various places (it's surprising how often you'll need to measure something once you get into the habit), so keep a backup. Remember the old adage goes "measure twice, cut once."
Marking tools: For writing and drawing on your surfaces and materials, whether to note the top and bottom of a piece, to sketch out a shape to cut, or for other reasons. You really can't get by without marking tools for different surfaces like pencils, chalk, and more specialized tools.
Carpenter squares: To help you get those all-important right angles. Carpenter squares are a necessity, and they're useful for every step of the process from planning to assembly.
Levels: These will ensure your flat surfaces are truly flat, and that your installations are not crooked. There are many different types of levels these days, from the classic air bubble to modern lasers. It's really up to you (and your project) which is best.
Last but not least, you'll need instructions or blueprints to really get a good start on your carpentry. We recommend beginning with simpler projects that don't really need to look perfect or serve an important purpose. Get used to cutting and joining your pieces before you move up to more complex projects. Once you've gotten involved and have a better idea of the types of projects you like, you may want to add more tool sets or other accessories to your arsenal. Eventually, you'll be able to complete advanced carpentry projects with ease.