31 Different Types Of Carpentry Tools And Their Uses

Discover the essential arsenal for any woodworking enthusiast with this comprehensive guide of must-have carpentry tools.

Whether you’re a seasoned craftsman or just starting your woodworking journey, having the right tools at your disposal is paramount.

From precision cutting to meticulous shaping, each tool on this list plays a pivotal role in the hands of a skilled carpenter. Dive into the world of craftsmanship as we unveil the tools that transform raw materials into finely crafted masterpieces.

Getting yourself familiar with the toolset is the first step toward getting started in the field. 

carpentry tools in a woodworking shop

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Carpenter’s Pencil | Claw Hammer | Screwdrivers | Utility Knife | Mallet | Hand Plane | Chisel | Hand Saw | Power Drill | Circular Saw | Jigsaw | Palm Sander and Orbital Sander | Sawdust Vacuum | Nailer | Tape Measure | Ruler | Level | Sliding Bevel | Wood Moisture Meter | Table Saw | Bench Grinder | Woodturning Machine (Lathe) | Band Saw | Drill Press | Miter Saw | Surface Planer | Safety Glasses | Hearing Protection | Face Masks and Respirators | Face Shield | Proper Clothing

* This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

1. Carpenter’s Pencil


A carpenter’s pencil is a specialized writing instrument designed for the unique needs of woodworking professionals.

Recognizable for its distinctive flat and wide lead, this pencil is specifically crafted to make clear and visible markings on various wood surfaces.

Typically classified as a hand tool, it is manually operated by carpenters and woodworkers.

The flat design prevents the pencil from rolling away, ensuring ease of use in workshop environments.

Durable and suited for rough carpentry, the carpenter’s pencil is indispensable in woodworking industry.

Its wide, flat lead allows for bold and precise lines, making it an essential component of a carpenter’s toolkit.

What is used forIdeal for marking and outlining on various wood surfaces.
Type of toolClassified as a hand tool, operated manually by carpenters.
How it looks likeCharacterized by a flat and wide design, often rectangular.
Popular forWidely favored in woodworking projects for clear markings.
Additional InfoThe flat lead minimizes rolling and provides a broad surface for easy visibility. It’s also known for its durability and suitability for rough carpentry work. Carpenters often prefer it over regular pencils for its sturdiness and reliability in challenging conditions.



2. Claw Hammer

claw hammer

The claw hammer is a fundamental tool in carpentry, primarily employed for driving nails and extracting them with its distinctive curved claw.

Featuring a sturdy handle, usually made of wood or fiberglass, and a metal head with a flat striking face, this hammer is known for its versatility and effectiveness. Its bifunctional design allows for both striking and pulling tasks.

The claw hammer is a staple in various carpentry projects, such as framing, assembling wooden structures, and general construction work.

Its ability to drive nails efficiently and remove them makes it an essential tool for carpenters, ensuring precision and ease in a wide range of woodworking applications.

What is used forEssential for driving and extracting nails in carpentry.
Type of toolClassified as a hand tool, featuring a sturdy handle.
How it looks likeCharacterized by a metal head with a flat striking face.
Popular forVersatile use in carpentry, framing, and construction.
Additional InfoKnown for its efficiency in driving and pulling nails. The sturdy design ensures reliability in various carpentry applications, making it a key tool for professionals in construction and woodworking.

See a claw hammer in action:


3. Screwdrivers

different screwdrivers

The screwdriver is a pivotal tool in carpentry, designed for inserting and extracting screws with precision.

Typically consisting of a handle and a metal shaft with a flat or Phillips head, screwdrivers come in various sizes to accommodate different screw types.

The handle may be made of wood, plastic, or rubber for a comfortable grip.

Carpenters rely on screwdrivers for a multitude of projects, including assembling furniture, fixing wooden structures, and attaching hardware.

Its straightforward yet indispensable function makes it a cornerstone in carpentry, ensuring the secure fastening of screws in a variety of woodworking applications.

What is used forInserting and extracting screws in carpentry.
Type of toolHand tool with a handle and a metal shaft.
How it looks likeTypically has a flat or Phillips head with various sizes.
Popular forEssential in furniture assembly, woodwork, and hardware installation.
Additional InfoThe comfortable grip on the handle enhances control and precision during use. The screwdriver’s versatility makes it an indispensable tool for carpenters, ensuring reliable and secure fastening in woodworking projects.

4. Utility Knife

carpentry utility knife

While a knife isn’t a tool directly used in carpentry as much as others on the list, it’s still an essential piece of the arsenal. The utility knife has plenty of uses – cutting boxes, strings, marking pieces of wood, stripping excess material, opening cans of wood paint, etc. Carpenters always keep it in their pocket.

Your utility knife should be lightweight, easy to grip, and have a replaceable stainless-steel blade, such as the American Stanley blade. Sheathed blades with a retractable design, such as the boxcutter design, are safer and more convenient, with better protection.

See More Details on Amazon: >> Stanley FatMax Utility Knife (With Blade Wiper) <<

See an utility knife in action:


5. Mallet

wooden mallet

Mallets are similar to hammers, but perform better at specific tasks, especially jointing.

The mallet will be your best friend when it comes to pushing planks into place and creating a tight fit, like with tongues and bevels of floorboards or when doing furniture assembly.

When using chisels or other hand tools that require force, it’s a good idea to drive them with a mallet.

Compared to the hammer’s usual metal head, the wood or rubber head of the mallet will not deform or break the chisel handle.

Your mallet should have a comfortable handle that allows you to grip it firmly.

As mallets weigh considerably less than hammers, make sure to purchase one that can apply sufficient force when swung naturally.

See More Details on Amazon: >> TEKTON Rubber Mallet (With Fibreglass Handle) <<

See how carpentry mallets are made:

More resources:

6. Hand Plane

hand plane

Hand planers are one of the oldest tools of the trade, and they can be used both as a basic tool for rough work or as a detailer for finishing steps.

They are composed of metal blades fastened to a long, flat stock with a diagonal handle for pushing.

Dragging them across a flat surface will shave off strings of wood evenly, perfect for trimming sides of planks and 2X4s. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, they can be used to create round edges by shaving at a 45-degree angle, also known as edge planing.

You can find hand planers of various sizes and weights in the market, and a carpenter usually uses a light hand planer for narrow planks, while the heavy-duty models are best for beams and thick bodies of wood.

Hand planers require frequent maintenance, but the planer’s blade is easy to remove and sharpen, and when attaching it, you will need to align it both horizontally and vertically with screws that hold it in its place.

Once set-up, just turn the planer over and check if the bottom is perfectly flat with the blade protruding evenly.

See More Details on Amazon: >> GreatNeck Hand Plane <<

See in the video below how to use a hand plane:

More resources:

7. Chisel

different types of chisels

Chisels are carving tools composed of a sharp metal blade with a variety of shapes and angles, attached to a wooden or metal handle. They are used to either shave away material or outright break parts away when driven by a mallet.

When using a mallet, it’s advisable to have a wooden handle as it’s more elastic than the metal one on the structural level.

If you are in the market for chisels with metal handles, make sure they have rubber coating at the bottom of the handle to absorb mallet and prevent deforming.

Carving is usually done during the working of the wood piece, while finishing touches may involve soft tip chisels or just sanding. Another use for chisels is to shape circular pieces on a woodturning or lathe machine by applying gentle pressure evenly and moving the chisel horizontally to shape the turned wood.

Highly skilled woodworkers can create beautiful works with chisels alone, such as carved paintings, sculptures, and figurines.

Any serious carpenter will possess a whole set of chisels with various blades, usually displayed on his wall with a set holder. It’s important to regularly maintain your chisels, as they are one of the tools most prone to dulling.

See More Details on Amazon: >> GREBSTK Professional Wood Chisel Set (4 PCS) <<

See a chisel in action in the video below:

More resources:

8. Hand Saw

hand saw

The hand saw is your trusty companion in making rough cuts, such as sizing down pieces of wood for further work. It’s a long, straight metal blade with sharp teeth attached to a wooden or metal handle.

Cutting is done by back and forth motion, and the blade has a series of teeth spaced out equally between, and the number of teeth corresponds to the blade’s purpose. Fewer teeth will lead to rough cuts, and having more teeth will make smoother cuts.

Even though the hand saw is not a fixed cutting tool, it’s still possible to create relatively straight cuts with a steady hand. When coupled with a careful sanding technique, the hand saw can accomplish ideal straight and flat cuts.

However, alternative saws are much faster and more practical at the job, while the hand saw is better for outdoor work or cutting on a sawhorse.

See More Details on Amazon: >> DeWalt Hand Saw (with three cutting surfaces) <<

9. Power Drill

cordless drill

The power drill is a very versatile tool used both commercially and on a workshop level. Its uses may seem simple, limited to drilling holes and inserting screws or fasteners, but the drill is backed by a plethora of attachments and drill bits, as well as settings for speed, power, and torque.

Almost all commercial power drills will have two rotation modes and two to three power settings.

A set of drill bits is a staple in the package, and you will usually want to purchase additional drill bits for your specific needs.

See More Details on Amazon: >> DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill (with drill bit set 21PCS) <<

More resources:

Do All Drills Have Reverse? @ ToolsOwner

How Much Torque Do I Need In A Drill? @ToolsOwner

Brad Point Drill Bits – Drill Bits For Wood @ToolsOwner


10. Circular Saw

circular saw

The circular saw is your go-to option for making deep straight cuts. It’s also a relatively simple tool, composed of a round blade attached directly to the motor axis.

Carpenters commonly replace blades to adapt to the type of wood they are working on.

As mentioned, blades with fewer teeth lead to smoother cuts, while having more teeth increases the cutting power at the cost of smoothness. Due to the shape of the saw, it’s pretty easy to keep it straight when cutting with freehand movement, but guiding rails are also commonly employed the ease the process.

See More Details on Amazon: >> Makita Circular Saw Kit (with 2 batteries included) <<

More resources:

Circular Saw Price @ ToolsOwner
Circular Saw VS Miter Saw @ ToolsOwner

11. Jigsaw

green jigsaw

The jigsaw is probably the simplest power saw found in a carpenter’s workshop. It’s far from the simplest to use, though, as its purpose is cutting abstract, irregular cuts, such as curves and stencil drawings by guiding the blade across a marked path.

Jigsaws perform their operation by retracting a metal blade lined with teeth, powered by an electrical engine.

It’s possible to adjust the depth of the blade, as well as the cutting speed, to allow for more control. The retracting blade allows for speedy cutting, but at the disadvantage of not being suitable for thick material.

It’s safe to say it requires experience to use it properly, but by aligning it with a straight object when cutting, it’s relatively easy to make straight cuts.

See More Details on Amazon: >> DeWalt Jig Saw (with 14 blades and hard case) <<

More resources:

12. Palm Sander and Orbital Sander

red palm sander

Hand-held power sanders are used to strip away uneven material and create a perfectly smooth surface. There are two main types – the palm sander and the orbital sander, both used by hand.

The palm sander is square in shape and operates on a belt model. The grit paper is attached to the belt and sands the wood surface with forward motion. Palm sanders are typically used to sand hardwood floors and square areas by applying a back and forth pattern.

Orbital sanders,  are very similar but operate based on a spinning disk. Circular sanding is better for round surfaces and round objects in general.

Read: Wet Sanding With An Orbital Sander

Disk sanders are a special kind of orbital sander that is fixed to the workbench vertically.

green orbital sander

Both types of sanders have their advantages, and you should keep both handy if you work on a variety of different projects.

Remember that 40 to 60 grit paper is for removing significant imperfections and heavy sanding work, while 80 to 120 is for minor imperfections.

360 grit and above are very fine and used for finishing surfaces.

See More Details on Amazon: >> DeWalt Random Orbit Sander (with dust bag) <<

13. Sawdust Vacuum

different sawdust vacuums

With constant cutting and sanding in the workshop, a lot of dust and wood shavings are bound to cover the place. Many power tools and bench tools have special bags or compartments to collect sawdust, though these models tend to be pricier.

A more affordable solution is to purchase a sawdust vacuum. You may be wondering what separates a sawdust vacuum from an ordinary vacuum, and it’s the fact that regular vacuums will quickly get clogged and break down. Sawdust vacuums have special filters to prevent dust from entering fans and the engine compartment.

The vacuum will keep your workshop area clean, the air clear, and your house vacuum safe.

See More Details on Amazon: >> STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum (with accessories) <<

14. Nailer

nail gun

A nail gun or nailer is a power tool used to drive nails into wood under pressure force. Nail guns are commonly pneumatic, powered by gas or air pressure, but there are electric variants, some of which come with batteries for portability.

There are two distinct types you should know about: the framing nailer, used for heavy-duty work, and the finishing nailer, which is suitable for light projects. Nail guns have rails that are adjustable for use in straight and angled modes.

The framing nailer is commonly seen in construction and maintenance work, such as securing carrying beams or 2X4 boards, which require a greater penetration force and bigger nails.

The finishing nailer is a lighter version better suited for smaller projects like cabinets, shelves, and other simple furniture, as well as finishing touches on bigger projects, as its name implies. Generally, finishing nailers fire headless nails which leave a tiny surface mark, and the lower force dramatically reduces the risk of wood splitting.

However, if you are a crafty person who enjoys upholstery or combining materials, it’s good to purchase a staple gun. Staple guns are well suited for attaching fabric to wood, a common practice when building or restoring furniture.

See More Details on Amazon: >> PORTER-CABLE Brad Nailer (cordless with batteries) <<


15. Tape Measure

red tape measure

The tape measure is a long, retractable aluminum meter. Carpenters use the tape measure in every step of the project, from planning to building. It’s not only used to measure parts or wood pieces, but also the area where the final product is supposed to fit.

A special tip to keep in mind when purchasing a tape measure is to get one with a big grapple or tongue at the end of the metal tape. Such tape will save you countless headaches from detaching and ruined measurements. If you require fieldwork, picking up a belt attachable tape measure is a great convenience.

Related: What Do The Markings on A Measurement Tape Mean?

16. Ruler

gray metal ruler

The ruler is your reliable straight measuring tool used for stencils, marks, and sketches. Rulers are primarily for measuring small distances on the wood’s surface and drawing straight lines.

Remember that metal rulers are superior to their plastic counterparts, as they will remain straight and durable for a very long time.

A special kind of ruler used in carpentry is the Layout Square.

metal layout square

It acts in the same way as the cornerstone in construction. It ensures a perfect 90-degree angle on corners.

17. Level

air bubble level

The importance of flat and stable carpentry products can’t be underestimated. Levels have been around since the dawn of time in one form or another, beginning with ropes, pendulums, water bottles, until it was finally perfected into the levels we know today.

The modern level is a flat metal bar marked with inches and meters, with small capsules of liquid at the edges and the very center. When the surface is ideally level, the air bubble inside the capsules will align with the lines on them.

Carpenters typically have two to three levels of different sizes. It’s important to use the level closest to the actual length or width of the measured surface.

18. Sliding Bevel

Carpentry Sliding Bevel
Carpentry Sliding Bevel

A sliding bevel, also known as a bevel gauge or bevel square, is a versatile tool used in carpentry and woodworking. It consists of a handle and a metal blade that can be adjusted and locked at different angles. The blade is typically tapered and has a beveled edge.

The sliding bevel is primarily used to transfer and replicate angles accurately. Carpenters often encounter situations where they need to reproduce an angle from one piece of wood onto another, such as when fitting joints or cutting bevels. With a sliding bevel, they can measure the angle on the original piece and then lock the blade at that angle. This allows them to transfer the angle precisely onto the workpiece by tracing along the edge of the blade.

The tool’s adjustable nature makes it adaptable for various angles, making it useful for tasks like marking and cutting angles for miter joints, roof framing, or any other situation where an accurate angle measurement is required. The sliding bevel is a valuable tool in a carpenter’s arsenal, ensuring precise and efficient woodworking.

19. Wood Moisture Meter

wood moisture meter

The moisture meter is slightly different from the other entries in this section. This meter tracks the humidity level inside of wood. It helps carpenters prepare for every step of the workflow, from initial cuts to finishing touches, especially in areas such as floor carpentry.

Meters can be invasive, with a pin inserted into the wood, or non-invasive, with scanning done without penetration.

Wood must have a specific humidity level before it can be worked on properly, as the end product should contain anywhere from 7% to 19% water content, depending on the project’s purpose.

Freshly cut wood may be as high as 200% in humidity, meaning its moisture contributes to two-thirds of its weight. On the other hand, wood too dry is often brittle and prone to damage, making it unsuitable for most woodworking.

20. Table Saw

yellow table saw

A staple machine in the workshop is the table saw, seen in most woodwork relying on long straight cuts.

Table saws function similarly to circular saws, even having the same RPM values, with the addition that they’re fixed to the underside of the table. They are used for squaring lumber to a size necessary to be workable.

Table saws come installed with a long metal bar for contact with lumber that ensures the wood is pushed through the saw in a straight motion.

The cutting power is dependent on the type of blade used and the corresponding number of teeth on it, as with previous entries in the list. Some advanced table saws have adjustable angles, up to 45 degrees.

21. Bench Grinder

blue bench grinder

The bench grinder is a fixed rotary sanding tool commonly used with angles that can’t be covered adequately by other machines.

They function like a rotating barrel coated in grit paper, power by an electrical motor. They also find common use with metal tools, and carpenters generally use the grinder as their sharpening stone.

Usually, grinders are operated by hand, and remember only to fasten items to a holder if there is no risk of detaching, as the grinder will send the object flying across the room. With lower grit values, it’s entirely possible to grind out significant portions of the wood and create deep angles and arcs, followed by the switch to high grit paper for smoothing.

Compared to other rotary machines like table saws and woodturners, the grinder’s RPM is slightly lower, and it’s important not to cause exceptional friction when using it, as it may cause the material to catch fire from the heat.

22. Woodturning Machine (Lathe)

woodturning machine

The woodturning machine, also known as a lathe, is a machine used for rotating wood pieces to allow for a variety of operations such as shaving, sanding, drilling, and cutting. It’s the woodworker’s version if the ceramic potter’s wheel.

Before the wood is attached, a hole needs to be created on the bottom end to fit the turning point. When the work is finished, the excess ‘holder’ of the crafted piece is cut off, and the bottom sanded. Chisels and sanding paper are applied while the wood object is spinning to maintain an equal level of depth.

Due to the nature of the fast rotation, it’s used to create symmetrical objects such as round boxes, cups, vases, urns, legs and pegs, and even ornaments such as decorations, keychains, or chess figurines.

23. Band Saw

band saw

The band saw is not really considered a staple machine in the workshop, but it offers a ton of versatility that other tools can’t contribute to.

The saws are a pair of wheels holding a rotating blade powered by a motor, and the machine is usually mounted on the bench.

The specialty of this machine is cutting curves and irregular shapes, even in very thick material.

This feature makes the band saw the go-to option for things such as decorative objects and curved furniture elements.

It can also be used to saw lumber into thinner slabs with smooth cuts.

24. Drill Press

drill press

The drill press, also known as pedestal drill,  is a much superior alternative to regular power drills when it comes to creating deep, wide, and completely straight holes.

It’s a fixed rotator with attachable drill bits attached to a pole that can be carefully moved and adjusted with a handle.

The height of the attached drill bit to the base of the machine is known as the drill’s swing. With the typical drill press having a swing of 15 inches and more, it’s possible to drill deep holes even in complete lumber.

It’s paramount to make the drill press completely fixed and stable and prevent wobbling. A drill press that’s out of balance can cause irregular drilling, wood breaking, and even a safety hazard in the work area.

25. Miter Saw

miter saw

The miter saw is a sophisticated cutting tool that allows you to cut wood at various angles. The saw itself is circular, and it’s attached to an adjustable arm that can pivot left and right to produce cuts at any angle.

The machine is outfitted with various metered tracks and marked angles to make exact adjustments easy to locate and fix the saw in place. Some advanced miter saws also come with lasers that mark cuts for additional clarity.

One of the most common uses for the miter saw is framing, as wood pieces cut at 45-degree angles are easy to attach at a 90-degree corner of the frame. Keep in mind that the miter saw is a circular saw intended for short cuts, and cutting lumber by length will require a different type.

More resources:

26. Surface Planer

surface planer

The surface planer is a large sanding machine typically used to smooth large surface areas efficiently and evenly. Also, surface planers are commonly used to reduce the thickness of a wood board through a thorough sanding process. It does so by pulling the board through a set of blades using rollers and belts. It’s like a hand planer, but on a massive scale.

Surface planers excel at creating very fine adjustments, down to even one-sixteenth of an inch. They also offer you flexibility with your timber, as the thickness planer lets you use your materials for different projects with variance in thickness. A common use for this machinery is sanding doors, tables, cutting boards, and other large, flat surfaces.

It is highly recommended to use a jointer before the planer in cases where there are bows and imperfections on the plank’s surface. You may be able to find and purchase a sander combined with a jointer into one machine.

Carpentry Safety Equipment

woodworking safety equipment placed on a table saw

There are a couple of essential safety items used in any carpentry workshop. I will just name them as they are self-explanatory but you can read below some safety tips and guidelines when operating woodworking tools:

27. Safety Glasses
28. Hearing Protection
29. Face Masks and Respirators
30. Face Shield
31. Proper Clothing

Safety in The Workshop

With all of the core tools of carpentry out of the way, I must remind you that safety is the number one priority. Woodworking comes with its own set of potential hazards, and the outcomes of accidents can even be lethal. To stay safe in your workplace, remember to follow safety guidelines, and wear protective equipment when required.

Follow Safety Guidelines

You should make sure your workshop or outdoor work environment is sufficiently supplied with power. Most power tools used in carpentry require plenty of power, so make sure not to blow a fuse or create a fire hazard.

On that note, the machines typically operate at very high sound levels, most over 85 dB, some reaching over 100 dB. Ear protection such as noise-canceling headphones or earbuds will preserve your hearing over the course of your career.

Staying Safe from Physical Injury

Another common hazard present in the work area is physical injury. You should take the following precaution steps to protect yourself:

  • Do not wear long sleeves or gloves around rotating machines; getting any fabric caught in the rotor can be deadly.
  • Wear appropriate eye or face protection when cutting, sanding, or breaking wood. Splinters and small wood specks could fly away into your eyes and cause serious injury.
  • Also, keep your work area clean with a vacuum and proper ventilation to protect your airways. Wood dust particles and fumes from paint and lacquer can be dangerous to breathe in. If you are directly exposed, make sure to wear an appropriate mask or air filter.
  • Finally, wearing steel toe boots will save your toes if something falls on your foot, which happens commonly in this line of work.

Follow all of these safety tips and stay safe. With good health, you can expect a long and enjoyable career in carpentry. I hope my list of essential carpentry tools equipped you with the knowledge to get started.

Good luck, and stay tuned for new articles.

Cheers, tools owners!

Related: Hand Tools List | Types of Construction Tools

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.