We’ve all been there – start a project and then realise you’re not only shopping for materials, but having to fork out for tools too. Suddenly you’re falling down a confusing and costly rabbit hole.
But don’t despair, once you’ve got a few key pieces together, you’ll find you’re set up to tackle most domestic projects. If you only plan to use a tool once or twice, it’s always worth borrowing from a friend or even renting. And in the early days, it might be worth going down the basic route, with a plan to upgrade later if you find carpentry is an ongoing interest or necessity.
Not only that but, as you get a few jobs under your belt, you’ll start to understand more about what tools are out there, what they do, and which are a ‘must have’ versus ‘nice-to-have’! There are many sheds around the country filled with under-used, dusty tools. Spare yourself the waste and think about ongoing usage before you take the plunge.
Essential hand tools for carpentry
It’s not all about the power when it comes to tooling! Some of the basics that have been in toolboxes for generations are just as necessary today as they ever were.
· Measuring and marking tools
Including a tape measure, level, chalk line, carpenter's pencil and combi square
· Wood chisels
We recommend carbon steel, bevel-edge chisels – ideally a set of ¼, ½ and ¾” sizes.
Essential Power Tools
When it comes to power tools, there are a few core pieces that will make your life infinitely easier. And don’t forget the extension cord, because you won’t get very far without it! The only way to get to know your tools is to use them. And using them well takes time, so our advice is to get practicing.
But where to start? We suggest with these key pieces of kit:
1. Circular saw
If you’re ever working with wood, a circular saw will more than pull its weight. It’s essential for cross-cutting and rip cutting and, when used properly, can be just about as accurate as a table saw when cutting MDF and plywood. And it’s not just for wood – with the right blades, circular saws will cut through concrete, ceramic, plastic and more.
2. Drill and impact driver
Of course you can make do with a drill, but an impact driver is one of those tools that, once tried, you’ll never want to live without. And while Carpenters Mate screws don’t require pre-drilling, and come with the appropriate drive tool for the job, an impact driver will make the process even more of a breeze. Yes, we know this is two tools, and not one, but who’s counting?!
If you need to make a non-linear cut – in other words along a curved or circular pattern - an orbital-action jigsaw should be your go-to. It’ll cut through plywood, timber and sheet metal, allowing for angled cuts and bevels.
4. Random Orbit Sander
If you’ve ever hand sanded, or accidentally marked your wood grain by using another type of sander, you’ll know how important it is to have a smooth finish (without the blisters). Random orbital sanders are used for everything from prepping to fine detail restoration, because the random orbit motion prevents patterned scratches in the wood.
5. Table Saw
Table saws are all about consistency and precision. They’re your reliable best mate! A table saw will allow you to cut perfectly straight edges as well as miters, bevels and more. Mounted on a flat surface, it allows you to adjust the cutting depth and angle.
6. Miter Saw
Mitered, beveled, cross, and combo cuts are where the miter saw delivers. It’s easy to operate and is absolutely invaluable for cutting angles.
A router is an extremely versatile tool used to hollow out an area in a piece of wood, metal, or plastic - like rabbets and dados, duplicates from a pattern, sharp edges, cut joints, decorative surface cuts and more.
Whatever your project, having the right equipment will set you up for success. And that’s why it never does to skimp on materials. The right fixings and screws won’t just make the job easier (although that certainly helps!), they’ll also make sure that your hard work stands the test of time.
To find out how Carpenters Mate products can make carpentry a breeze, check out our range and order a FREE sample!