Carpentry Tools Used by the Pros

A man measuring a piece of wood in a workshop with wood shavings in the foreground.

Pro carpenters have an advantage over the everyday DIYer with access to the best tools and all the cool gadgets that make their jobs much faster and easier. Get a few of the same carpentry tools used by the pros and make your DIY projects look more professional and polished than ever.

Work Like a Pro

You don't have to be a professional carpenter to learn how to use some of their tools and put them to work on your own projects. Here are seven types of tools that can take your woodworking skills to the next level.

Utility Knife

A dirty utility knife against a wood background.

It's one of the most basic tools, yet so often overlooked by casual DIYers. Keep a sturdy utility knife in your tool collection and you'll use it in a thousand little ways. A sharp utility knife is invaluable for cutting through packaging and handling other lightweight cutting tasks that are too tough for ordinary scissors and kitchen tasks.

Drill and Wood Bits

Get yourself a good, lightweight power drill that you can hold in your hand. A lightweight power drill will potentially cut hours off your project. Get an array of wood bits in different sizes to go with your drill so you can use it for a variety of DIY tasks.

Circular Saw

A circular saw being used on a piece of wood.

The pros use circular saws to quickly slice through wood pieces and make quick work out of carpentry projects. If you have a lot of wood to cut, a circular saw will be a huge time-saver.

Nail Gun

If you’re framing, decking, adding molding or tackling any large DIY carpentry project, you need a nail gun. This will save you hours of manually hammering nails into place, and make quick work out of finishing up that DIY project you've been working on.

Power Sander

A power sander

Wood is an amazing material that’s been used for thousands of years, but it’s not perfect. Wood can be rough and uneven, full of splinters, and absolutely dangerous to handle. Keep a power sander in your tool arsenal, and quickly make any piece of wood feel smooth. This tool is a must-have if you’re going to restain or repaint wood because it can quickly remove that old finish. It’s also a must-have if you plan to work with raw, untreated wood.

Miter Saw

It looks complicated and that's why many amateur builders shy away from it, but a miter saw is a great tool to have on hand for any DIYer. This high-tech piece of machinery is used to create extremely precise cuts to give your projects a decorative finish. Beveled edges on molding, for example, can be easily achieved with a miter saw. Get one with a laser guide to get the best accuracy possible.

Router and Chisel

A man using a router on a wood project.

If you want to create fine details for your projects, you will need either a router or a chisel. Routers are power tools that do what chisels do: cut fine, precise lines in wood. With a router, you can make circular cuts as well. You can do the same thing manually with a chisel, but it's very slow going to cut fine details into wood by hand like this.

Be Safe Like a Pro

If you're going to use the same tools that the pros use, make sure you follow the same safety precautions that the pros take. Professional carpenters know how to handle their equipment safely and you need to be the same way before you take on any DIY project. Familiarize yourself with your tools, practice with them, and get a good feel for them before you decide to go full throttle at your next DIY project. Every time you take on any woodworking or carpentry project or pick up a professional tool, make sure you're following all the right safety standards to protect yourself, your project, and everyone who may be near you.

Safety Glasses

A man breaking apart a wood pallet while wearing work glasses.

Protect your eyes and your eyesight with safety glasses. Wood chips, sawdust, and debris are certainly going to be disturbed by any carpentry DIY project you may be working on, and any one of those items could end up in your eyes. Take no risks and always wear your safety glasses.

Work Gloves

Keep your hands safe with sturdy work gloves. Wood is rough to work with, and may be full of nails, staples, and other sharp objects. Protect yourself with a good pair of gloves that you can work in. Make sure your hands still have flexibility, and look for gloves that give you a good grip on your tools and materials.

Work Shoes

A close-up image of a man's work boots.

Always wear your work shoes, even if you’re just casually working around the house. It’s easy to keep on your sandals or even go barefoot, but it’s dangerous. If a tool or a piece of wood falls on your foot, you’re going to wish you’d worn your shoes. Wear work shoes that completely cover the top of your foot and have protective toe caps to guard against falling objects that may harm your feet. You may wish to invest in shoes that have metatarsal protection to guard the tops of your feet from impact as well.

The Professional Mindset

The most important tool to have in your kit isn’t one you hold in your hand or put on your face. It’s the attitude you wear. You want to work steadily and safely, not necessarily quickly. Always take your time when using power tools. Make sure you have a steady grip and that you’re maintaining control of the tool at all times. Be careful around all cutting tools, and be aware of where your body is at every moment. Pay attention to everything you do and work with precision to avoid injuries.