Carpentry Tools: 10 Bare Necessities

While you could stuff 700 different tools in your tool pouch, there are some essential carpentry tools that will help you get started.  These are the ten bare necessities to help you get started.

1. Hammer

The first tool a person usually thinks of when they think of carpentry, hammers may be the most essential.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from small 8 oz tack hammers to 24 oz Californian Framing hammer For a good general use, try a 16 oz claw hammer.  When selecting a hammer, try a couple of practice swings to find the one that feels the most balanced to you.

2. Tape Measure

A 25 foot by one inch tape measure will serve most of your purposes from big framing projects to small craft projects

3. Utility knife

Good for trimming small pieces of wood, or for clean up of saw chips, a utility knife is also know as a razor knife. They’ve come a long way since the early models.  With this tool, spend a little more to buy a model with easy blade removal.  With a push of a button, the old blade will come out.

4. Measuring Square

Not just for drawing straight lines and connecting dots, a square can help you layout rafters or stairs. Try to get one that comes with a quick reference guide to show you the different things you can do.  They’re nice because they can handle the bigger framing projects, but are small enough to fit in your tool pouch.

5. Level 

While this tool is also helpful for drawing straight lines it is absolutely invaluable for making sure that your work is level. A four foot level is good for most purposes.

6. Chalk Box

This is for connecting dots and making straight lines. Whether on plywood that needs to be ripped, or across walls for a straight line, nothing can quite replace it when it's needed. It also doubles as a plumb bob.

7.  Chisel

Don’t spend lots of money on a set, a fairly descent 1 inch wood chisel will do the job.  It comes in handy making notches chipping way excess wood. If there is a small nail, you can bend it or cut through it if necessary.

8. Screwdrivers

Get one Flathead 1/4 inch screwdriver and one Phillip’s head (#2 size) because, although you may not need them often, when you do need them they are irreplaceable.

9. Circular Saw

One of two power tools that mandatory in your tool repertoire is a circular saw.  You can spend as little as $30(USD) to well over $150(USD) on a circular saw.  This one tool can do so much, from cutting, to ripping, to notching and dados. 

10.  Power Drill/Driver

Power drills have several uses and save time compared to drilling by hand.  If you do get a battery powered one try and get an 18 V battery for the extra power.